Anamur is a tiny town directly north of Cyprus. It has nothing to offer in terms of sight seeing. However, just a few kilometers away are some beautiful sites that don't seem to get many visitors; Mamure Castle and the ancient city of Anamurium.
There was a rooster outside of my hotel that started crowing at 4:00 am. I kept waking up and going back to sleep until finally getting up at 5:30. The sun was just rising as I started biking to the nearby Mamure Castle.
The castle was originally Roman, but has been reconstructed over the centuries; used by Byzantines and the Crusaders. I got there before the ticket booth opened. There is no gate so I walked around taking photos and had the whole place to myself. It was quite peaceful, right on the coast. I climbed up to the highest point of the castle, sat down and listened to the waves crashing below.
Following the castle visit, I made my way to Anamurium. It was a long bike ride and I wasn't quite sure if I was headed in the right direction so a few times I stopped and asked the locals. They seemed to find me funny. All the same, they helped me find my way.
Anamurium is a huge site. An ancient city dating back to 4th century B.C. It's also right on the coast and many of its houses are still in good condition. I went into a few and was surprised to see that many still had frescos decorating the walls, though most were barely visible. I saw other tourists at the sight, but they seemed take off quickly and again I had the place to myself. I spent most of the day here, exploring just about structure that still had a doorway (and there were many). I also saw a lot of wild life at this sight. Giant lizards, a giant snake and ton of tortoises. The tortoises were everywhere!
I also saw some wild life I really didn't want to see; mosquitos. This is the first time I've seen them on my trip and I really didn't expect to considering it's winter season here. I got bitten pretty badly.
On the way back to town, the Turkish road workers decided to redo two sections of the road, and there were no ways around it. I had to ride my bike through whatever kind of oil they use to prime the roads before they lay the pavement. My bike, shoes, pants and pack got covered in oil. I don't think there's any way to take it out. I tried soap and detergent, but it seems I'll have some permanent stains as remainders of my trip in Turkey.
I've decided to change my plans a little. Tonight I will catch an overnight bus to Gaziantep instead of Antioch. Gaziantep has an airport and if I can't get into Syria, as I originally intended, I can fly to Istanbul and fly somewhere else in the area. I really want to get down to Jordan to see Petra.