1473-1474: Ephesus and Loos

1473:  Efes or Ephesus

Sunday 15th March 

Only a 5 minute drive to the parking.  We could have cycled, but didn’t fancy leaving Jez unattended on the beach … we are still feeling our way with regards security in Turkey.  And the garage is pretty jam packed, so it would have been a lot of unpacking to retrieve the bikes.  At Ephesus we paid our car rate parking fee of £1.90.  Conscious that I’m quoting the prices, but still in a delighted state about how cheap (inexpensive is a better word) most things are.  Sultan the shuttle bus supervisor popped over with chat and a map.  He sold us the idea of the ‘free’ bus (car, actually as insufficient tourists) to take us to the top of the ancient site.  What we failed to comprehend was that a) there is nothing free about it … a £3.80 tip exchanged hands and b) the taxi took us on a selling detour to a carpet and jewellery shop!  To be fair, the staff stopped the hard sell when we said we lived in a camping car and had no room nor money.  Interesting to see modern and traditional designs.  And the shop had very clean loos!!!

I had visited Ephesus about 3 years ago with ex Mark, Stuart – his then 17 year old brother, Gill and Bron.  On our return, Mark was in trouble for ‘letting’ Stuart stay behind to learn how to become a croupier!  To save money on our tour from Istanbul to the south coast and back up, we bussed and stayed in cheap hostels.  As there were 5 of us, we were sought after and locals bartered themselves to get our bus and accommodation business.  I do remember it was an amazingly cheap trip.  I don’t remember much of the trip detail, but I did recognise the iconic gate at Ephesus.

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No purchase made … I did ask how long they take to hand knot … at least 5 months.  I did NOT ask how much … if you have to ask, you can’t afford it!!!

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Sunny, so the hat made it out of the closet since last year.  After more than 150 years of excavation, they reckon 80% of the city is still to be unearthed, but it was still a 3km walk from the upper to lower gate.  It was significant for being the capitol of Roman Asia Minor, with over 250,000 core inhabitants … traders, sailors and pilgrims increased the population.

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The Odean, used for municipal debates. 

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 The Great Theatre AD41-117, under restoration.  It is thought that St Paul preached here.  Wonder if he had a full house of 25,000.

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Curetes Way, the grandest street, once lined with shops and statues.

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Marble Street and there was a long wide road out to what was the harbour … all giving the sense of sheer size of the place.

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Lots of temples along the route.

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Library of Celsus AD2 … the really impressive iconic image.  It was designed to protect 12,000 scrolls from extremes of moisture and temperature.

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Our combined ticket included the Terraced Houses.  Sadly, the impact of it was sadly lost due to the orange dust over it.  These tables ‘apparently’ had pieces of wall marble … some jigsaw.

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A number of impressive wall paintings.  The 7 Terraced Houses are all under a massive roof.  These houses were extremely luxurious.

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We were back at our beach parking overnight and whilst walking CO2, the mystery of flares going off on the beach was solved.  I asked the organiser, who spoke some English.  It was a wedding proposal.  The friends gathered, the groom arrived at the appointed time and pops the question.  We’d seen a few proposals from a distance, but not know what we were looking at.  In this case, she said yes!

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1474:  Ephesus Museum

Monday 16th March 

We really cannot tell if it that the season is too early or if people are not here due to the virus.  The Museum was very quiet; just us and 2 other couples.  It was also pretty small  and we were through quite quickly … wonder if we’ve seen too much of similar artefacts.  We’ve used all the components of our combined ticket.

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Terracotta. AD1

After soup in Jez we drove a couple of hours to Pirene, another ancient site.  We parked up in the car park, arriving at about 5.00 p.m.  The toilet block was still open … I’d a bag full of laundry and having been told launderettes are few and far between … this was too good an opportunity.  The twin tub was deployed.  I sheltered from the wind, placing its waste pipe over the standy up loo and ran the power cable from Jez.  I was getting well into it, when a member of staff came to lock the toilet block.  Bugger .. caught!  But he was a sweetie and walked me up to the ticket office and showed me a tap.  Jez and twin tub were moved.  A washing line was strung up in a gazebo, and given the wind, the first items through were dry by the time I finished.  The wind didn’t abate and I can clearly state that who ever penned Rock a bye baby was an idiot.  I hardly slept.

And finally … here’s link all about Turkey Toilet customs!

http://www.thisisturkey.net/toilet.php

1471-72: First Turkish Delights

1471:  No Bad Luck in Cesme

Friday 13th March 

We both ran – the first time for quite a while that we both had the urge.  Well, we urged each other on … slowly.  After breakfast in our very quiet parking; only one car where a chap came to admire the sea for all of 5 minutes before disappearing.  We made friends with the local wild dogs, and fed the skinny girl dog, who had obviously recently had puppies.  She then joined us on our run.  

We parked just outside Cesme and walked in … the main purpose was to pay for use of motorways and toll bridges. We don’t particularly intend to use them, but you can so easily end up sucked onto one before you know it … and there are a few we may end up having to use around Istanbul.  In the PTT I presented the V5 and J’s passport , 3 people translating the V5 … a form duly filled in and TL65 (just over £8) was paid.  I am not sure how long the credit on this will last. Being 2 axles, we are Class B.  When we have free wifi from somewhere, I will see if there is a web site so we can track the credit.  

We are being VERY cautious with our data. Both my phone and the mifi are with Three, which does not cover Turkey in its free roaming destinations.  I’ve cancelled the mifi contract.  With the ability to hotspot abroad, it is no longer needed.  This is 40gb we now don’t have to use.  James’ Vodafone contract is 60GB for £20 … their T&Cs state that this is capped at 25GB … so this is what we are using.

Business done, we wandered the streets, socking up the flavour of a new continent and country.  Before we knew it, it was time for lunch.  So we had a meatballs, salad and chicken kebab … served with tomato rice, a few chips, tomato and a grilled green pepper.  Tasty and the total bill was £12.55 – we think that this was tourist prices too!

I was delighted to be back in a country where ice cream seems to be available all year (Greece does not facilitate my ice cream addiction).  So pudding … nut and coffee flavours was ordered … 2 big scoops in a cone for £1.10.  I dived straight in … weird texture … slightly chewy.  Salep, the powder of a common orchid bulb gives it an elastic texture and it doesn’t melt as quickly.  I found I had to bite into it.  When J and had an ice cream the next day, we ordered it in a cup, but found it hard to use the spoon to cut into it … I managed better than J, who gave up … no prizes for guessing who finished his!  Flavours good though, but easier to eat in a cone.

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Near the marina in Cesme.

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Overnight in the bus turning circle with a sign that we risked being towed away!

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Oscar slightly suspicious of the girlie.

1472:  Selcuk

Saturday 14th March 

We had an easy day … we parked up just outside the town by the Basilica of St John … free we were told by someone trying to sell us a guide book.  I wandered around the massive Saturday market; household, tools, carpets, head scarves and rows of super fresh food.  Honey from an elderly leathered man, who carefully wrapped the large jar in newspaper … this is one fo the best I’ve ever tasted.  Someone else told me we should always buy from old people as it is the genuine article from villages.  An abortive search for a laundrette … apparently these are pretty rare so we also bought a large tub with a lid … looks like I’ll be back to hand washing and using the twin tub more sparingly as it uses a fair amount of water.  Though we did fill up at the petrol station – diesel and water.

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The wide sandy beach where we will have spent 3 nights.  Busy with locals picnics and BBQs.  We’d read that rubbish is a problem and recycling a VERY new initiative (still to find a recycling bin) and in the mornings, all to picnic rubbish was neatly left in piles or tied up in bags on the sand … and yes that is a bin you can see.  And the bins are emptied daily.

After lunch in the van, we (and CO2) explored St John’s Basilica and the Aysuluk Fortress.  A combined ticket includes these, the Ephesus Museum, Ephasus itself and its Terraced Houses … £46.40 for both of us. 

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We had to wait for this fellow to cross the path … CO2 fascinated by its progress.  A chap trying to sell us Roman coins, laughed that the Turks like to eat them as a kebab … LOL

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The fortress by the Roman site.

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Basilica of St John: c.527 was destroyed by earthquakes and attackers.  The Apostle John is believed to have visited twice, once with the Virgin Mary, as Jesus had entrusted his mother to John’s care.  It is also said that he wrote his gospel whilst on this hill.  This tomb C4th supposedly contains some of his relics and is why the basilica was built here.

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Full immersion?

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Lots of signs that the work was undergoing restoration, but wonder if they know where these and lots of other piles fit?  But a certain charm as a site as it had not been over restored!

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This Church was given money to become a small museum of artefacts on 2007 …. think the money might have run dry – still no entry.

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Looking down onto Isa Bey Camii.

We had our first proper Turkish coffee and got chatting to a Frenchman.  He was on a sabbatical for a year and coming to the end of his pilgrimage to walk, yes – walk, to lots of religious sites.  He only started using transport when he was in Greece.  We bumped into him again in Ephesus and he plans to visit the museum, when we are too.

A knock as the door when we were back at our sandy over night spot.  Lisa and Danny are several months into their year off to travel to Mongolia in their Landy with a roof top tent.  Coffee led to wine, and then some more … both J and I felt a touch poisoned next morning, but we drank more than they did!  When will we learn?