We arrive in Selcuk at 8am. We were two of five to get off the bus. We went and checked into our hostel. There was only two other people there. It took time to check in because hostelbookers.com lost or did not send our reservation. We had to track down the receipt in email. It was not time to check in yet so we left our bags and went to explore the town. The very sleepy town. There were chai shops and food shops open. The grocers were still closed and so were the shops.
We found a place making philo roles with meat, cheese, spinach or egg inside. Fresh ones were coming out so we stopped and had something for breakfast. After we wandered a bit more. All along the streets were trees with oranges in them. The oranges were bitter, more like lemons, but they were free from the tree. And there were hundreds of them.
After we went to check in. I took the time to upload my photo’s to photobucket. We had a bit of a nap before we were off. The man at the hostel gave us a ride to the north gate of Ephesus for ten Lira. Then we were able to spend the day wandering around the sight. Ephesus was great. It is sad to see once great cities in ruin. It is hard to describe Ephesus in scale and in meaning. This site is huge and there are remains of buildings everywhere. So much was destroyed.
One thing that angered me was inside the sight they had a section cut off that you had to pay (again) to get into. This area was in the hillside and was house sites. I paid once to get in. It is stupid to have to pay again. We decided not to go into the section, though it would have been interesting. We continued on to see the Library that has been reconstructed and to see the amphitheatre. Both we awe inspiring and beyond description. There was just a presence there. I loved it. We wandered to the end of the sight where there is a destroyed church. Then from the church we crossed to more ruins. But the ruins (that were not fenced off) were out of bounds. They must have been unstable or something, but we were chased off by a soldier with an automatic gun. There was no arguing with him. He followed us until we were back in bounds. That was the end of the sight and we left.
We decided to walk back to town, it was only 3km. We went to walk by the seven sleepers caves. This is where the sarcophagi of seven children were found. The walk was interesting. We passed field of orange trees. All the trees are ripe and ready to pick. There were women in a few of the fields. The oranges are then taken in to the village and sold at market.
We found a few places we thought could be the sleeper caves, but they were all just goat paths. At the top of one path was a nice view. There were also random bags tided in the trees. We did not look in but they could have been anything. Maybe even a meth lab.
It was easy to tell when we found the real caves around a corner. There were shops and restaurants at the bottom of the hill. We walked up the hill and came to the seven sleepers, all gated off. It was very obvious that people has been in, one section of fence was completely down. There was also no security so we did what other before us had done and went over the fence.
The place was interesting but the tombs had been raided and the sarcophagi were in the museum, then was little left to see. There was a small section of mosaic and a burn fresco. There were also holes in the ground and unstable walkways.
The restaurants at the bottom of the hill were expensive. We were quick to leave and go back to the hostel. But we had an adventure getting back to the hostel. The main road wound round and up a hill, not something we wanted to do. The other option was to cut across some fields and get to the high way. We started across on orange field, then it was broccoli, there was a field of thorny trees, and a ditch to cross. There was also a man watching us as we crossed the fields. He was making sure we did not take anything. What we did take was a broccoli stem. The broccoli had been harvested but the stalks, which are very good, had been left. We cut off a stalk to take with us.
We made it to the road and went back to the hostel. There is was time for a shower and a nap. There had been little to no sleep on the bus and if we wanted to be awake to ring in the new year there had to been some sleep.
When we awoke it was time to leave the hostel and find somewhere to buy mix for some New Years Drinks. There was almost no where open. We found a corner store and got some coke and juice. We went back to the hostel and had a drink before heading out and looking for an open restaurant. There were only two open that we found. We had dinner, then back tracked to a bar where there was some other people celebrating New Years in a tiny town. While waiting for the New Years we played a few games of backgammon. It was shortly after midnight when we returned to the hostel to sleep.
At 9am I woke up. Adam had already been up and out. He left a note that he was at a Chai bar across the road. In Turkey there are two bars, ones that serve alcohol and ones that serve only tea. The tea bars are more common and important. People go to the chai places to socialize. It was easy to find Adam, then we talked about what our plans should be. There were a few things we wanted to see before we left. Adam had found a temple in the Rough Guide that was not in Lonely Planet. The Temple of Aphrodisis is just as large as Ephesus and better well preserved in many ways. It is also more out of the way and much quieter.
This sounded really good so we made the decision to travel there. Then we went back to the hostel to pack our bags and check out. We were able to leave our bags at the hostel as we spent the day around town seeing sights.
We went to the Basilica of St. John, this is literally in someone’s back yard. The site is in the center of town and I wish I had one in my backyard. The complex is huge and is three increasingly large churches built around the tomb of St. John. St. John was the youngest of Christ’s disciples and fled with the Virgin Mary to Selcuk. From the Basilica we could see the Temple of Artemis.
The temple is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and like many of the other wonders it has been decimated by time, people and museums. There was almost nothing left of the structure at all. It was very sad to see, not that there was much to see. We quickly went to the Archaeological Museum. There were many things from Ephesus there. The museum is small but had many wonderful pieces. We spent all our time in the museum until we had to head to the hostel to pick up our bags and go to the bus station.