We all love the sun, sea and sand and it’s great to spend time relaxing on the beach or by the pool, but do you sometimes get the urge to do something different? Some time ago I bought a new scooter and decided to do a bit of exploring. I’d heard there was an old monastery near Davutlar and so it seemed, at the time, like a worthy first trip for me and my trusty transport.
If you decide to make this trip, I think I should warn you that finding the monastery road in the first place can be something of a challenge! Take the main Soke road out of Davutlar and as one the locals told me, “It’s the turning on the right”………
I passed it three times before asking an elderly lady (with no English!) where the monastery was and after much arm waving and gesticulations I turned right onto a small road – and then noticed the sign to the monastery! Well, you wouldn’t say it was a major highway but it was serviceable and having assured my shiny new scooter that it couldn’t be far from the main road we set off and up…..and up……….and up!
Leaving civilisation way behind us we advanced up the mountain track with my shiny new scooter now looking decidedly less shiny. The views, however, were magnificent. I even stopped to give the scooter a breather. It was at this point that I saw my first snake in Turkey……we pressed on!
Believing I was probably the first human to take this track for centuries (and always being prone to exaggeration!) I was somewhat surprised to turn a bend and find an old shepherd doing what old shepherds half way up a mountain do. He explained that it would have taken me about another 45 minutes to get to the monastery but as the road was now so good it should only take me about half an hour. I know it’s not possible but I’m sure I heard my muddy, dusty and somewhat shabby scooter groan! We pressed on, again!
Ah the joys of fresh Turkish mountain air, the open road (well ok, track), the song of the birds and the peculiar coughing noise coming from my scooter. This was going to be an afternoon to remember…..
It was almost exactly 30 minutes later that we arrived at the monastery. Was it worth the long haul up the mountains? I would say absolutely yes (my scooter on the other hand may not agree!). The monastery is set in a glade surrounded by trees and is probably one of the most magical settings I have ever seen. Although the buildings are showing signs of decay you can still see the chapel, refectory, kitchen, cellar and monks bedroom/cells. It probably dates back as far as the 8th or 9th century with some later additions but some believe it was built on the site of an even older structure which could go back as far as the 1st century. The information board suggests that it is possible that the Virgin Mary herself may have visited here (though probably not on a shiny new scooter!).
If you’d like to see the monastery for yourself I really would recommend it. If you have a four wheel drive you will do the journey easily, if you have a car you will do the journey carefully and if you have a shiny new scooter you should just about make it (but the scooter will probably never speak to you again!!!).
An easier way to see this fascinating place is to go to one of the many tour operators and book a jeep safari making sure that the monastery is on their particular itinerary.
Source: Ege Eye