24-Mar-2006 -- Nearly seven years ago, on 11 August 1999, I had the chance to observe the one and only total solar eclipse visible from within Germany for the next couple of centuries. The path of totality passed close to my hometown, and although it took several hours to get there because of a traffic collapse as total as the eclipse itself, I could observe this stunning event whose majesty makes every try to describe it by words a fruitless effort. Still baffled by the event, immediately after returning home I started to look for the next possibility to observe another total solar eclipse from a convenient location, not too far from Germany and easily reachable, if possible.
I found that I would have to wait for nearly seven years until another solar eclipse would meet these demands. This one would happen on 29 March 2006 in Turkey, fortunately the path of totality would even pass only a short distance east of Antalya, in other words, across one of the main tourist regions of Turkey, and at this time of year not the worst location to successfully observe the eclipse with respect to the meteorological conditions (the 1999 eclipse I could only observe through a thin layer of clouds).
All the years I kept this plan in mind, and as the event eventually drew nearer, I booked a one-week stay in one of the tourist resorts on Turkey's south coast. Of course, I had no intention to waste this week at the hotel pool; instead I booked a rental car for the entire week, too, and started gathering information about reachable Confluences in the vicinity. What a luck: There was the chance to get to six Confluences, one of them even still unvisited!
On 24 March, I took a plane to Antalya where I arrived around noon. After some formalities at the car rental's counter, I was handed over a brand new Renault Clio, with only 250 km on its odometer. This would be my companion during the next week's adventures; hopefully it would prove handy at every situation to come. Leaving the airport, I drove towards the city of Antalya because I had to change some money first, then I filled up the car's tank and left Antalya in eastern direction on the coastal road towards Side, where I had to find my hotel.
This transfer offered already the first occasion to get into "confluencing fever" again, oh dear, how I had missed this! 37N 31E was lying only a couple of kilometres beside the coastal road, but the first problem was to find the right turnoff to get there. I was cautious while driving and at the same time observing the GPS receiver and looking out for traffic signs indicating place names, as I didn't yet know the car thoroughly, and what is even more important, I wasn't accustomed yet to the style of driving of the others around me on the road, this is always something to watch out for at first when driving in foreign countries. Thus at a certain moment, I noticed that I had passed the moment of closest approach without finding a turnoff that seemed the right one, also the coastal road didn't permit easy stopping or lane crossing, as it is in most parts a four-lane road with a separator in the middle. So I drove a little further along the road until I reached the next city Serik, where I could turn safely.
Already during the first passing I had noticed two strange solitary hills in the wide coastal plain, obviously in the direction of the Confluence. On the second approach, with still 8 km to go to the Confluence, I eventually found a convenient turnoff, marked with the indication of an antique site named Silyon, and I continued driving on smaller roads towards one of these solitary hills, passing fields and small villages, while trying to follow the pointer arrow of the GPS receiver in the desired direction.
After a while I found that I indeed approached one of the hills, and moreover it proved to be the location of the ancient city of Silyon. In former times, cities were often founded on top of hills, where they could be fortified and defended against enemies – and this was also the case here. Many remnants of walls and stone buildings could be seen on the flank and on top of the hill which rises an impressive 200 m above the surrounding plain. The Confluence, however, seemed to be directly on the opposite side of the hill, so I had to find a way around. But this was no problem, as enough smaller roads were crisscrossing the area, and soon I got around the hill and approached another village, this finally had to be Yanköy as I was only a couple of hundred metres from the point now.
I slowly followed a motorcycle with a man and a woman seated on it, they drove on a small road out of the village to a glasshouse, stopped there, and entered the glasshouse, while I stopped there also nearby on the road, because my GPS receiver now indicated that I was only 30 m from the Confluence. In front of me, I could see the steep flanks of the hill on whose opposite side Silyon was lying. Now there was no stopping any more, it was time to stand on both longitude and latitude lines again!
The point was on a harvested field beside the road, obviously spinach had been planted here before. To the North the Western Taurus Mountains (Batı Toroslar) could be seen in the mist. The glasshouse was just beyond a small creek lined with trees and reeds, where the quacking of frogs could be heard. The Silyon hill however was nearly completely hidden behind the glasshouse. It was now nearly 2 p.m.; the GPS receiver indicated an EPE of 4 m and an altitude of 25 m. After having savoured the "confluence feeling" for a moment, I returned to the car to fetch all the equipment to document the location, compass, camera, and so on. I took the photos of the cardinal directions, the GPS receiver, and myself (by using a tripod which proved very handy during the whole trip), then I shot a whole series to compose a 360° panorama from later. All the time I expected the people in the glasshouse to come over to inquire about the strange activities that I was performing there – but nothing happened.
After collecting all my items, I went over to the glasshouse. I changed some polite words with the people, asked about the names of the village (Yanköy, indeed) and the creek (they were perplexed at this question but laughed and accepted when I proposed Yanköy Çayı), but still they did not ask any questions about me. Instead they offered a handful of tomatoes to me and would have given me even more if I hadn't left. I returned to the coastal road via the same way that I came before (although there are for sure other ways to get to it), and continued on my way to Side, where I soon found my hotel.
In the evening I laid out all my maps on the bed and started to make plans for the following days. Already tomorrow I would leave early and without taking breakfast at the hotel, because I would be going to 38N 30E, nearly 300 km to go from Side.