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Trip to Turkey September 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004

We didn't bother to stay in Cesme.  It is a large tourist seaport.  We weren't in the mood to be mistaken for part of a cruise ship spew overrunning the town.  We got an early start on the road towards Ephesus. 

About a mile or so outside of Ephesus an old man mistook our vehicle for a dolmoosh and when we explained we weren't a dolmoosh (dolmoosh yoke); he persisted in wanting to board, so we gave him a lift to the Ephesus parking lot.  We figured we could use the good karma at that point.

Ephesus has Christian significance and well maintained ruins, possibly the later because of the former.  No tour originating from any Christian country (that includes the USA, as so well demonstrated by our latest election) would be complete without a trip to Ephesus.

Ephesus has a better understanding of what souvenirs are about.  In the parking lot we were able to purchase a book which was a guide to the ruins at Ephesus, complete with a map so we could find our way around.  There were lots of tourist shops selling amply priced handicrafts, some of which fell apart during the journey home (the clay ones - too bad).

About here I should mention that neither Tom nor I are Christian-identified and we had about zero interest in taking the conventional tour.  Our interests were the House of Mary, the Brothel, and the House of Adrian.  We started with the House of Mary, a Church building that we believe predates its accepted founding during the 4th Century and council of Nicea.  There I found what I hoped was a "baptismal" well (minus the water) and took a blessing.  The place was empty. The House of Mary is a little off the main road of Ephesus and most tourists don't come here.  The guided tours ignore it completely.

We climbed out the back of the ruins of the House of Mary and found the back road of Ephesus.  We decided to walk up (uphill) the back road and then down (downhill) on the main road. 

baptismal well House of Mary

The back road was a dirt road that we figure was used by the maintenance crew.  We saw additional ruins on the back road that were totally unmarked and not part of the display.  At one point we sat and rested and had a magnificent view down onto the whole paved way of Ephesus.  We thought we would walk about half way and then cut through, but we found ourselves at the end and then walked down.

House of Mary at Efes - Ephesus

Ephesus was amazing.  There were enormous buildings, most of them marble and the road was paved with marble, and steep.  In spite of the drainage holes and the skid ridges I wouldn't have liked to be there in a rain storm.  Fortunately there aren't many of those.

The Brothel had many small rooms.  It had phallic-shaped doorways, which had been filled in to obscure their beautiful shape.  It had walls of murals which had been defaced so that the art was no longer visible to the human eye (there is a sign that indicated that restorations will be forthcoming - I hope so).  There were water basins built into the wall or floor in every room.  It must have been an inspiring place.  It had the feeling of a place that was ravaged to death.

There was the usual assortment of cats climbing throughout the ruins and looking for handouts from tourists.

The House of Adrian had the feeling of a refuge, as if it would have been possible for outcasts to find shelter there in secret.  Strangely enough, the House of Adrian was not defaced and torn as the Brothel was.

The road was long.  The upper part was exposed to the sun and brimmed hats were definitely in order.  The lower part of the road was tree-lined.  We exited through the turnstiles.

We were grateful here that Ephesus is in Turkey and not the USA or Great Britain where I'm sure we would not have been allowed to walk the back road unharrassed or climbed freely on the stone ruins.

Before we left Ephesus one of the vendors gave us a brochure of a place where we could camp.  It turned out to be one of the nicest camping spots we had during our trip.  First, we stopped off in town to find a store to buy supplies, and a cash machine.  We were half successful.  The grocery/variety store had piped-in music, most of it in Turkish, but shortly after we walked in we heard "God Rest, Ye Merry Gentle Men" in English, mind you, it was September; and as I mentioned earlier, neither Tom nor I is Christian-identified.  But no matter, the store owners were doing their best to make their foreign visitors (who they assumed would be Christian) feel welcome.

By then we needed a rest so we were off to find the campsite, Dereli Campground on Pamucak Beach.  I have the feeling I shouldn't even be writing about this place because I don't want to spoil it.  My guess is that the vendor who gave us the brochure is related to the owner of the hotel/campground and is picky about who he sends there.  The best word I can think of to describe it is "sincere".  It had all the amenities:  a palace of washrooms including large sinks for washing cloths, western and nonwestern toilets, showers, and a large tree growing through the middle of the washroom ceiling, a beautiful sandy beach with a sandbar, a restaurant with good food overlooking the beach including outdoor seating, a small necessities shop, eucalyptus trees and lots of space in the parking campground area.

There we swam, showered, and had dinner (we got lots of praise for our little Turkish), and we washed clothes in the sink and hung them on a line between eucalyptus trees to dry. 

A "laundry" in Turkey is a large sink where you can wash your own clothes by hand.  We found no laundromats in all of Turkey, which surprised me.  After hand-washing the clothes, hang them on a line to dry.

We hadn't found a cash machine in town and we knew we were starting to run low on Turkish cash so we walked along the beach to the Fancy hotel we saw just a mile away (thinking certainly they would have an ATM).  The fancy hotel had a beautiful pool area and an impressive entrance hall, but it smelled vaguely like sewage and (anywhere else in the world, it would be hard to believe) had no Cash Machine.

Created:  November 15, 2004
Updated:  June 7, 2006
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