Saturday, 13 August 2011

Ruins ruins and more ruins: off to Ephesus

Friday 12th August: Fethiye to Selcuk
The Search for the One Lira Icecream Cone. Travellers assess the joys of a town or village using different measures - the food, the wine, the views, the ruins, the shopping and so on. Ewan has one clear measure and this is it: Can you purchase one scoop of ice cream/gelati in a waffle cone for the princely sum of one Lira or not?! Ewan's final judgement about Fethiye was that he had had enough of it as 3 Lira was outrageous!
So today we ventured forth to experience the bus network for which Turkey is famous. Everyone we've met raves about the buses and we have seen very flash versions everywhere we've been.

So to get from Fethiye to Selcuk we started on one of the big new buses.Erin was pleased to see that every seat had its own TV screen, but her joy was rather short-lived when she realised that every channel was in Turkish of course. I discovered the Music Videos section and spent some time updating my musical knowledge watching Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. Eventualy I became rather tired of half-naked women gyrating around, so I reverted to reading my book - sometimes I sound just like my mother!
The buses have a 'busboy' with a very smart bowtie who checks tickets and wheels a trolley of FREE drinks and snacks up and down the aisle at regular intervals. We had no idea what the snacks actually were but ended up with cake, wholemeal biscuits and pretzels, so all good. The bus travelled inland form the coast but eevery now and then we caught a glimpse of blue water. We called in at a number of towns to collect and deliver people but just before stopping at one there was a whole lot of instructions from the driver in fast Turkish of course. As we understood only one word: 'besh' which is 5 we figured it meant that there was a 5 minute stop so Erin and I went to the loo. When we returned everyone was waiting for us and the door closed the minute we leapt aboard. Ewan did comment that the man who had been sitting next to him had left, and just as the bus pulled out he came running towards the bus waving his arms. It's the quick and the dead here! He leapt aboard and away we went After 4 hours we arrrived at Aydin and transferred into a minibus, which fortunately stuck to the highway and delivered us to Selcuk in 45 minutes.
Selcuk's major claim to fame is that it is where Ephesus is: one of the best preserved Roman cities in Turkey, so we're preparing for that tomorrow. Fortunately, the Homeros Pension and Guesthouse wasn't far from the bus station in the old part of town. It's very quaint with a rooftop terrace and laden with every turkish rug and ornament possible: slightly kitsch but cute.
After a day of sitting in buses we set off to get our bearings, starting with the Basilica of St John, which was built around the tomb of John the Apostle in the 4th Century AD and then expanded in the 6th Century. Apparently he lived here with the Virgin Mary for some years, although there seems to be some variations about the accuracy of information. Apparently this is on the Holy Sites tours, but we didn't see any busloads of tourists today. It was supposed to be enormous in its day and there is a lot of it left, with some reconstruction, so we spent a while wandering around.
When we paid the entry fee we noticed a sign saying that the Castle was closed. Erin and I were devastated as the Castle was a Citadel on a hill behind the Basilica. However we found ourselves wandering in that direction after checking out an ancient mosque and an aqueduct. A young french girl and a local man were discussing the possibility of doing an illegal tour through a hole in the fence so of course Ewan joined them.
Not to be thwarted by officialdom he ignored the signs and the locked gate and followed them up the hill to inspect the Castle. Meanwhile Erin and I rested and watched a menagerie of people and animals - horses, roosters, chickens - going about their daily business. When Ewan returned he confirmed all of our expectations about how fabulous it was and showed us lots of photos he'd taken on his phone so we didn't miss anything - how thoughtful he is!
Dinner at the Pension after a drink on the rooftop terrace completed the day. .

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