Turkey - Selcuk to Egirdir PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 19:33
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Day 14: Selcuk to Egirdir via Ephesus and Pamakkali Saturday 6th October


I was awoken by Noreen shuffling things in her rucksack. Outside another fine warm day emerging but not one for photographs. Although the weather has been a great improvement since entering Turkey it has been very hazy. It's almost two weeks now since we set out and yesterday was the first time I heard anyone commenting about feeling discomfort. I have to say, that so far, I have had no problems with the long journeys and if the tall ones on the bus have, then they have kept it secret. I know it's still early days but those of my friends who said we would be bored out of our minds couldn't have been more wrong. The scenery is constantly changing and although it is a bit difficult writing these notes on the move it is possible although very time consuming and when all else fails there's always someone new to talk to.

I should say something about the roads which have varied as expected. It was not until we entered Romania that things deteriorated although we did loose the congestion. Bulgaria started out poor but improved as we got further south and then got even better once we entered Turkey. The road leading into the city was very good but once again very congested and manic which may have had something to do with it being teatime and Ramadan. The road from Istanbul, down The Straits of Marmara to Gallipoli was quite scary, dropping all time and narrow for a main road but also in a picturesque way interesting. It stretched out in front like a long winding country road passing through gentle sloped fields and had the feel and texture of an impressionist watercolour. The roads around the battle sites and cemeteries were well kept although narrow.

Strangely the roads improved when we entered Asia Minor and even broke in to a dual carriageway and later a motorway as we got nearer to and skirted round Izmir once the home of Homer. Once we left Selcuk, near to Izmir which is the third largest city in Turkey, the roads quickly declined and once again we were being buffeted about like a cowboy on a bucking bronco. If you want to get some idea of how frustrating it is inputting text into a blackberry type device then imagine a cowboy, both hands on device typing text style, while being thrown about on the back of some mad steer. Just one severe bounce and whole paragraphs disappear never to be seen again. The paragraph about the Grand Bazzar was my second attempt having lost the first as the bus bounced back to the road on our way down to Gallipoli.

Today's' journey is quite short but it will take all day because of the stops we're making. Our first stop was only ten minutes away from last night's stop.

I have heard many comments about Ephesus but they didn't prepare me for the reality. This is an amazing archaeological site and the two hours we spent there was not really sufficient to do it justice. It was the largest city and once the commercial centre of Asia Minor with a population of Two hundred thousand people, not much smaller than modern day Rotherham.  It consists of latrines, temples, Library of Celsus and an enormous amphitheatre seating over twenty thousand. The city was dedicated to Artemis and the temple was thought to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately the whole site was swarming with tourists from all corners of the globe. This holidying army  made their way down the site, leaders hand held high with stick, pole or umbrella to aid recognition, men clad in baseball hats and Japanese women in white gloves and all camera clicking and probably doing as much damage as the Mongols who brought the empire to its knees.

Our second stop was the magical and beautiful natural site at Pamukkali. I have wanted to see the thermal spring waters cascading down the limestone cataracts and basins since seeing it in geography books at school. I didn't realize it was on the itinerary until I talked to Andrew in Istanbul and so it came as a very pleasant surprise. Unfortunately it doesn't quite look like it does in the brochures thanks to all the tourists who have visited it over the years and done great damage in the process. Much of the site is now cordoned off to allow it to recover. Just like Ephesus, before it, the place was congested with human movement and I have to say it spoilt it for me. I know it is selfish but it would be nice if all other tourists stayed at home. However, we will start to loose the tourists as we go further east and get closer to Iran.

We got to Egirdir, late in the dark, after perhaps the most tiring journey so far. We were met by one of the Hostel' managers whose name sounded like Muslim. I was too tired to check my hearing and each time I called him he responded promptly with good English. We followed him from the bus up a dust track to a building with the outside walls painted and then we were separated into two groups, our names called first, and led down to an annex with very sparse facilities: one toilet to twenty two people and two showers but at least we did have a double room although it was more like a kitchen with a bed.

We quickly made our way back to the main hostel to check emails, drink beer in the rooftop bar and eat. The bottle beer was appreciated (Efus) and the freshly caught trout and salad was delicious. As we came down out of the mountains we could see a large freshwater lake with the lights of the town twinkling in the edges of the water. I sat with Barry and Leighton and listened to Paul Brady singing Arthur McBride and talked about Irish music and the singing of Christy Moore before making our way back to the annex and tomorrow's long journey to Goreme.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2012 16:49