So the day finally arrived. My birthday. A special day that I try to mark each year with a trip. I love to travel (obviously) and I love to see new things. But..I especially love to see old things. Like really old things. So when I heard about an ancient, mysterious city in Micronesia built mostly of basalt, I had to see it. Our intrepid taxi driver, Wilson, led the charge.
We're on the right track. After paying "Trespassing Fees" to some local landowners we were on our way.
Sturdy and toddler friendly bridges lined the way.
The foliage was stunning.
Air plants and super-jungliness made for a great ambiance.
Next came the mangroves...
Then there is was. Out of the jungle sprung Nan Madol. Wilson tells us without batting an eye that back when Nan Madol was built Pohnpeians were giants (or at least some of them were), so that's how they could move all the rocks. The jury is still out with archaeologists on how it was made or even where the rocks came from. There is evidence that the site was inhabited as early as 200 BC, and construction probably began about 900 years ago. The site was abandoned in the 1800s. It is made up of many artificial islets and a lot of it is submerged or overcome by jungle. It is a National Historical Landmark, but it has no other designations for preservation.
The builders neatly stacked the basalt using no mortar.
The jungle is eating up the city.
A ruined basalt wall.
A jungle path around the complex we visited.
It took hundreds of years to build Nan Madol.
Some new and some old.
The city was part religious center, part home to elites, and part administrative center for the ruling class that inhabited it.
A small window thoughtfully placed in the center of the wall.
Oh hi! Just enjoying some ruins!!
More buildings out toward the beach.
Another look at the central complex.
Enjoying another adventure (and using my new selfie stick, see, not a total waste, right?).
Little K hitches a ride back to the car with Wilson.
The garden path back to reality.
We were originally supposed to visit Nan Madol by boat to see more of the city and some of the artificial islets. Unfortunately the tide wasn't right, someone had a funeral to go to, or no one could find a boat. The truth was probably a mixture of those things. It was still an incredible place, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity. Another great birthday on the books!