Optimism and egotism at Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut, Turkey | Art by Todd Berman

Todd and I barely made it onto the tour to Mount Nemrut in central Turkey. As it was, we decided too late to leave with the van of other tourists, and so played high-speed catch up in a car with another traveler, Marilyn.

Lucky for us, Marilyn is an ideal road trip companion. She’s fascinating – about our parents’ age, she spent several profitable years working as a nurse in Dubai, then moved back to Canada where she bought a house that she rents out part of each year to fund her travels abroad. She also has a lot of stories to share. She’s embraced a life of adventure and optimism that Todd and I are ourselves in search of.

By the time the driver drops us off at the night’s hotel, Todd, Marilyn, and I have passively covered hundreds of miles, seeing very little besides what passes for landscape in central Turkey: dust clouds, parched hillsides, smoke from field burns, and organized rows of olive and pistachio groves.

The next morning, we leave the hotel at the pitch dark hour of 3:30 a.m. so we can hike to the top of Mount Nemrut for sunrise. Dawn is gorgeous and cold, and the monumental, egotistical statues atop the mountain are intriguing. None the less, Todd and I decide to avoid dawn activities for a while.