Some snaps of Ephesus and Selcuk:
Well, compared to our time in Bodrum, Selcuk has been extraordinarily lovely. We arrived in Selcuk yesterday around 7:00 pm. It’s a small town, and mainly exists to cater to tourists going to nearby Ephesus. Our hotel, the Urkmez Hotel, was small, but clean and with a very friendly staff who carried our very heavy bags up the multiple flights of stairs to our room. We dropped our bags, turned the AC on, then left to go get dinner (Eski Ev, a nice little spot). When we returned from dinner, we found our room as hot as before, with the AC off. We thought it strange, of course, but maybe someone from the hotel had come in an turned it off? We shrugged and turned it back on, only to have no cool air whatsoever come out, as well as the entire thing turning off 15 minutes later. Confused, we turned it back on to see if it would happen again, which it did, on top of the fact that there wasn’t actually any cool air coming out. So, after several attempts at explaining the problem to the 15 year old working reception, the owner came in, couldn’t fix it, and promised to move us to his “boutique” hotel across town the next night at the same rate.
Needless to say, our night was hot and stuffy, but we got up the next morning excited to go to Ephesus. I was a bit worried that my enthusiasm for ancient sites had been totally burned away by the American School, but I was delighted to feel that old excitement as soon as we stepped on site (just fyi: you have to get either a taxi or a bus to the site – we took a taxi to the upper gate). We wandered around the site for a good three and a half hours, and were blown away by the state of preservation of the Terrace Houses, Roman houses of the elite with elaborate mosaics and wall paintings, many of which can still be seen. It was an extra 15 lira, but absolutely hands-down worth it. I’ve never seen Roman houses like this, even in Pompeii. You get a real sense of what living in the space would have been like, since you can see the paintings on the walls and the mosaics on the floors, instead of behind glass at a museum. The rest of the site was equally impressive, especially the very famous Library of Celsus. Since we had gotten there at 9:00 am, by the time we were ready to leave around 12:30, the site was packed with tourists and the heat was sweltering.
After we returned to Selcuk, we decided to move to the “boutique” hotel, Ephesus Suites, which is really beautiful and definitely something we could not afford on our own (also, the AC works!). The owner of both hotels was incredible accommodating, so if you’re even in Selcuk, I definitely recommend either one of there establishments.
After a nice lunch, we discovered that the Ephesus museum was closed for renovation, which was disappointing, so instead we walked over to the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Not much is left there now, just a single column cobbled together from various column drums, some foundations, and a lot of turtles in pools of standing water. After that, we hiked up the hill to the Byzantine/Ottoman fortress, through the Basilica of St. John. Despite the heat, it was a fun, beautiful walk and we got to see the church inside the fortress where apparently St. John wrote his Gospel. Pretty cool stuff!
I’m about to get into bed now, but I promise I’ll post some pictures tomorrow. We won’t be doing much tomorrow, just traveling to Pammukale, where more ruins await! Good night!