We arrived in Selcuk early in the morning and after a bit of difficulty, we managed to get in contact with our host Veysel who brought along his roommate and business partner Reco. They are opening a hostel and so we stayed in the building that they are transforming into a guest house – it was beautiful, large and filled with antiques. It also had a beautiful view of the town and valley, but this meant is was up a hill and a pain to walk to from town. But no one can really complain about free accommodation! The first night we gathered stuff for barbeque and headed up the mountain in an ancient Jeep to one of the guy’s summer places where we met up with his uncle and a couple of their friends. It was quite the ride on some of the worst roads I’ve ever been on, but we somehow made it up. I was a little more concerned about how we were going to make it down again (again we somehow managed). We had a fantastic evening with lots of food, playing with their dogs and watching a sheep give birth – yay? Late that night we drove down to the beach and hung out for a while before crashing back at the guest house.
The next day Janice and I decided we wanted to explore the town, so we headed down to the old Aquaduct and the Church of John the Baptist, which if it was still standing, would have been one of the largest churches in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately it is in ruins now, but it is apparently the burial site of John the Baptist and thus a big pilgrimage. We were lucky enough to have it pretty much to ourselves, and the sky was full of threatening clouds making for some interesting photos.
After the church, we wandered up the road to the Temple of Artemis – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world but now to do earthquakes and the pillaging of stones for the John the Baptist Church, is reduced to just a column and a half with a few scattered stones. Sad really but something about it still feels like an impressive site. On the way out, we ran into the Australian doctor we`d met in Goreme and had a nice chat with him – it’s fun running into people you know in new places! We decided to walk down the road to the Ephesus site, but we underestimated the time it would take to get there and by the time we arrived, we would have only had an hour to explore the site. We decided to come back the next day and were advised to wait for a minibus that would run us back into town for 2 lira. While we were waiting for that, a white minibus pulled up (which we thought was the minibus) and offered us a ride. I realised once we had hopped in, it definitely wasn’t the minibus and was full of broken furniture and five large tattooed Turkish men, who turned out to be very nice. One was in the process of getting his visa to move to the USA and had lots of questions for us! They dropped us off right downtown in Selcuk and we realised that we had accidentally hitchhiked again!
We stumbled upon the big market in Selcuk and wandered through for a while before picking up stuff to make a treat for our hosts (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles) and a couple bottles of wine. After a gruelling hike up the hill, we made it back and had a lovely evening with our hosts! The next day we got up and decided to go back to Ephesus just in time for the sky to open up and a huge storm to roll in off the sea. The house slightly flooded and so we spent the next few hours running around with towels and mops. By the time it cleared it was quite late so we just hung around the house, cooked with our hosts and had an easy day.
The next day however, we managed to find a clear day and off we headed to Ephesus. It was pricy to get in, but so worth it. It’s an incredible site with another big ruined church, an amazing amphitheatre, a bath complex, a couple temples and the amazing and iconic Library of Celsus. It’s all been so well preserved that it’s not hard to imagine what it would have looked like when the city was occupied. Again photos can never do it justice, but I’ll try. We played on the stage, sat in the city council seats (we would have made great councillors!) and walked along the old processional road. The only unfortunate incident was two Turkish guys we kept passing as we wandered around. As we were walking back towards the entrance to leave, we passed the one last time and I smiled, thinking that it was friendly as we’d been running into each other all afternoon. Unfortunately that was perceived as an invitation and they proceeded to grab my ass before running away giggling like 12 year olds… I can’t say I’m a fan of Turkish men.