I rang Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ McClane (As he’s known by the locals in the village)  this morning, to ask him if he wanted to visit Patara, the birth place of Father Christmas. (St. Nicolas) It’s unbearably hot here in summer so most people tend to stay indoors, but then after a few weeks  ”Cabin fever”  takes over, and you need to go out.

We arranged to meet up at the Patara amphitheatre,  both John and I have been to Patara many times, but like to look at the new discoveries the archaeologists un-Earth ever year.




I stopped at my usual place for a ciggie break, it takes about two hours to reach Patara from where I live.


After an hour on the road I badly needed to drink some water, so I stopped at a water fountain that serves up chilled water.



With a bloated belly full of water, plus a spare bottle, I carried on to meet John in Patara. Under normal circumstances, and temperatures, a two-hour ride is nothing, but when it’s as hot here as the Devils BBQ, two hours  in the saddle feels like ten, its  so draining !!


We both arrived at Patara at the same time, precision planning !



The entrance arch to the ruined city of Patara, about 2,000 years old, then we rode a little way up a dirt track to the remains of an early Christian Church.





After exploring the Church, we stood in the shade for a while where both of us finished the last of our water, bad planning.


We rode to the amphitheatre and was greeted with a dreadful sight, they have started to dismantle and re-assemble Patara. Now in Egypt and Italy they take care over their antiquities and renovation is done sympathetically, not here, cheap and slap dash is how most restoration work is carried out, only the few UNESCO sites in Turkey are  re-constructed  properly, such a shame.




The height of the amphitheatre and forum walls have been reduced, you could not slip a piece of paper between the stone blocks laid over 2,000 years ago. Below is an example of the joint quality of a newly re-constructed wall.


Just dreadful !!

Anyway, moan over, we first walked over to what used to be the main street thousands of years ago.



On the photo below, of a discarded piece of stone, I noticed the Crusaders emblem, John said it was the mark of  The Knights Templar, looks like they passed this way on their way to/from the Holy Lands.


Next we walked over to the amphitheatre, which is now in poor condition after renovation.




The view from the top.




In the photo below you can just make out John, climbing over fallen stone blocks.


And yours truly.


We decided to ride along the dirt track to last years discovery of the Worlds oldest light house, built by Emperor Nero.



Most of the photos I took of John and I riding the few Kilometers along the sandy dirt track did not turn out because I could not keep the camera steady enough, its bloody hard riding on dirt tracks, one-handed trying to take photos lol.





The sea used to be right here Milleniea ago, but is now about two Kilometers further away over the sand dunes, neither of us fancied either walking or riding over sand dunes, too hot.





Riding back, we stopped at the columns for some last photos.





Heading back to town now, to find bottles of water, my throat is so dry I can hardly talk in a normal voice.



We stood in the shade, smoked two fags each and I consumed all of the 1.5 litre bottle of water, have I mentioned it’s hot!!



We said our good byes at the road junction, me turning left and John right.



Whilst heading home I caught sight of the road sign for Xanthos, so I had a little detour to have a look.



Xanthos is a very ancient city, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, I’ve been here a few times before, but though I would have a quick look.




The sight is still in poor condition, I rode on to the bridge and river that I had seen from up on the hill.


Heading back I came across this entrance arch, neglected on a hill side.



Heading home.





A nice day out, that will keep the Cabin Fever at bay for another week or two.

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN was written by Noel Coward, a small section below for those who are not familiar with the song.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit
Can never understand it.
In Rangoon the heat of noon
Is just what the natives shun.
They put their Scotch or Rye down
And lie down.
In a jungle town
Where the sun beats down
To the rage of man and beast
The English garb
Of the English sahib
Merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok
At twelve o’clock
They foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.



~ by travelswithmymotorbike on August 1, 2009.


  1. What you need is a nice pint of London Pride to relax with tonight as the temperature cools to 38C!

    London Pride has been handed down to us.
    London Pride is a flower that’s free.
    London Pride means our own dear town to us,
    And our pride it for ever will be.

  2. Dave & John:

    I didn’t know that John was known as “mad dog”.

    About that cool water by the side of the road, do you have to pay for it ? is it just free for anyone to fill up their containers and bottles ?

    Looks like you both had a very good outing. Thank goodness we can’t feel the heat by just looking at your photos. It’s hot enough where we are right now, we don’t need any more of your Turkish heat.

    It’s also too bad about the bad workmanship on the restorations. One day I hope to be able to see it and will certainly remember your words

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

    • Hi Bob,

      The water fountains are free, there are tens of thousands of them all over Turkey, by the roadsides and in some towns near the market squares or outside of some Mosques. They are a charitable thing paid for by either a welthy person, a mosque, a Mayor or a local authority.

      They really are life savers here in the long hot summers, that one I used on the road to Patara is an electric one that chills the water, very rare, I use the chilled one because the bottle of water takes longer to warm up before it becomes undrinkable.

      A bottle of water wrapped in a towel will last barely an hour before its too warm to drink, a bottle of chilled water wrapped in a towel is good for about an hour and a half max.

      The government here are missing a tourism trick, people mostly travel to Egypt and Rome for example to see history, World history, Turkey has so many ancient sites from all the great civilisations, Greeks,Romans, Crusaders, Persians, Alexandre the Great, Roman Emperors, Anthony and Cleopatra etc. etc, and there are probably more early Christian sites from the apostals and Saints here than in Isreal.

      UNESCO has managed to preserve a very small amount and a few American charities have preserved Mary’s house (Jesus’s Mother) but the over whelming majority of ancient sites are left overgrown or restored so badly it defies description.



  3. Dave…you sure are putting that good camera to good use…excellent pics and story..looks like you and Mad Dog had an excellent day out day…
    Isn’t this the place where Santa Claus was born? I understand they also have an excellent beach resort…so much history and stuff to look at…goes back to Bliblical times…you guys are lucky to be there.


    • Hi Baron,

      Yep it was a good day out, ı like riding along dirt tracks, John did a great job getting his scooter through the sandy parts and over some bumps etc.

      You have given me an idea, in a few weeks when its not so hot I was planning a ride to SIDE (pronounced sid-ee) I am sure that St. Nicolas is either on the way or not far from Side. There are 2 places here relating to Santa, his birth place and I think a church he built later on, not sure if its on an island close to the coast though, have to reaserch it nearer the time.



  4. Dave, an excellent post! I appreciate the time you took to take the pictures, what with it being the “devils bbq” (great way to describe it Dave!). Nice picture of you in repose with ciggie, and I finally got to see what Mad Dog McClane looks like.

    • Hi Lance,

      Glad you like it, I still have to learn how to work the timers on the camera better….it took 2 cameras and several attempts to get one pic of John and I together LOL…



  5. Dave:

    “MAD Dog McCLANE”, it has a nice ring to it .

    As for my videos, are you able to view Youtube videos ? You could go directly to my channel

    http://www.youtube.com/user/bobskoot (I think, something like that)

    Thank goodness we are cooling down. Too bad we couldn’t save the extra heat and get it back during the winter

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

    • Hi Bob,

      You tube, and over a thousand other internet sites are banned here and can’t be seen/accessed.

      Yes, if only the World could be kept at a constant 28c, I saw in a Star Trek film that they managed it in the future lol..



  6. Mad Dog McClane! A new internet persona!

    Just a couple of a issues… I have no problems with ruins being left to decay naturally. What do you want, a Patara theme park? Nero Country? The Hadrian Experience? We used to have abbey ruins in Whitby. Now we’ve got a visitors’ centre, Caedmon Country, Heartbeat Country.

    In Cairo a lot of the old mosques and parts of the Citadel are in a state of collapse. They’re now getting EU money to restore some of them, as they are in Damascus and Gaziantep. And the Turkish government is paying to restore buildings with a specifically Turkish heritage.

    Better photos and narrative than my post. Damn!

    • Hi John,

      I believe History and the structures pertaining, should be preserved for future generations. Homer described the 7 wonders of the ancient World, plus others, in his book Iliad, most are gone now, we are deprived of seeing such marvels of Human creativity because they were not preserved for us.

      By preservation I mean kept structualy sound and as close to the origanal as possible, I do not agree with the plastic Las Vegas theme park version of History and architecture, I’m with you on that one…..so tacky!!

      Preserving Turkish heritage should not take too long.

      Pleased you’ve sold your scooter, but now, what it next ????…lol..



  7. There’s an interesting debate about the restoration or preservation of ancient monuments!

    Have you been to Knossos? Sir Arthur Evans reconstructed various sections of a palace in concrete…Most of it was his imagination.

    I was dragged around most of the ruins of Greece and the Aegean coast of Turkey as a boy and I wanted to know what the buildings were like rather than clambering over piles of stone and rubble. But I’m an Engineer and lack imagination! The reconstructed Stoa in ancient Athens is pretty amazing!

    So Dave what do you count as Turkish heritage that shouldn’t take too long to preserve?…ROFL

    • Hi Nikos,

      I am an engineer also, nothing grand just railways, but when I see ruins I do wonder to myself ‘How did they do that’ and I also appreciate craftmanship of the artisans as well as the vision of the ancient architects, I think most normal people have a curiosity of these things.

      It takes very little effort to make safe stone structures, they are after all just blocks placed on top of one another, given all the hydraulic lifting equiptment we have today, it could not be any easier !!



      • Ah John, how do you make stone blocks slotted together earthquake proof? The answer seems to have been found by the Greek engineers who built Aghia Sofia – maybe a tad more difficult for more classical structures!
        When I saw the photo of the botched up “renovation” I was going to make a cheap remark about Albanian builders, but Mrs Nikos has informed me that the idiot who has just messed up the plastering and decoration of my Athens place did quite a good job of making her a stone wall….(and he is Albanian).

        • Hi Nikos,

          I would think UNESCO would be the poeple to ask, since they tend to do all the difficult and expensive jobs that many governments dont have the inclination or wit to achieve.

          when I was a boy I watched them over a period of two years move a windmill about 200 yards because of a new road being built, every single hand made brick and piece timber was numbered, carefully removed from the mortar and reassembled perfectly. Two years later you could not tell the windmill had been moved, you would think it had stood there in its new place for Centuaries, up-righting columns and laying a few huge stone blocks on top of one another is easy by comparison.



      • OOpps – Sorry that should have been “Dave” not John – terribly confusing all this blogging during my short lunch hour!

  8. Great pictures of the ruined city, thanks for sharing them with us who can not see them for ourselves.

    Of cousre history should be preserved and passed on to future generations, it’s how we as a race learn about ourselves, does your friend like to burn books also !

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment and welcome aboard, next time I see Mr.McClane I will ask him if he likes to burn books also LOL..



  9. Great pics and write up Dave, thanks for taking us along on the trip with you.

    I read all the comments before writing mine, perhaps your friends name should should be changed to John ‘The Philistine’ McClane.

    • Hi james,

      Thanks for the kind words, its a pleasure writing a post and choosing photos when your interested in the subject.



  10. What happened to Montie and Me on this trip……….

    • Hi Bev,

      Montie and Me could not peal themselves off the settee lol…

      Glad your enjoying your trip, Linda tells me you are at Venice now, thats about one third of the way here, so shall see you in a couple of weeks time.

      Take care,


  11. (Montie and Me could not peal themselves off the settee lol…)

    Errrr..beloved..I had Wobbly Tummy… thats why I didn’t go and it was far too hot…

    Somebody has to stay behind and wash..cook and clean!!! (sympathy folks)

  12. What a lovely place, and how you must love living there with all these ancient wonders on your doorstep. came upon your blog by accident, but glad I did!!

    • Hi Donna,

      Thanks for the kind words…Yes, I love walking around the ancient sites here in Turkey.



  13. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian,Diet Guide!

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