Selcuk and more Istanbul and our last days in Europe :)
18.12.2012 - 06.01.2013 15 °C
Hi everyone! I wanted to get this last post done before we left for Asia, before we start to get behind on posts One of my New Years resolutions is to try to post more often so I don't have to put so many pictures on one post!
Anyways I don't remember exactly where Jordan left off but after about 10 days in Istanbul we headed to a small town about 500 kms south called Selcuk. There is a famous ruins site there called Ephesus that we wanted to see and a few other things to check out in that area. We thought about heading across the country to see a few other places, but ended up spending almost all of the remainder of our time in Turkey in this wonderful little town. It was really nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and our hotel was so great we just didn't want to leave! So we relaxed there, went for daily walks and took in the more laid back lifestyle of the Turks.
Here are a few pictures of where we called home for 2 weeks.
We relaxed for a few days and got our bearings on this town and then decided to head to Ephesus, it was only about 3 kms away and it was a really nice walk there.
Ephesus was once an Ancient Greek city, and with a population of about 250,000 in the 1st Century BC it was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world. The city was famous for the Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world ) and was also home to one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelations, and it is believed that the Gospel of John was written here. We noticed quickly that there is alot of Christian history around this area. For example there is a temple just outside of Selcuk called St. Marys house where its believed that St. John brought Mary to rest for the last few days of her life, and there was also the ruins of St. John's Bascillica literally right beside our hotel where he was buried himself. Theres a large ampitheatre in Ephesus that is still mostly in tact and also part of a massive library, the ruins site itself is massive and it was amazing walking through it and trying to imagine what a grand empire this really was over 2000 years ago! Most of the city, about 80-90% was detroyed in 614 AD from a massive earthquake. We took tons of photos again here are just a few (the first few pitures are of the ampitheatre)
The Public Latrines haha can you imagine that today?? Everyone just hanging out in the bathroom doin their business together, visiting.. weird, and this was just one corner it was an entire room full of cans!
Here are some photos of the Terrace houses which are also in the process of being recontructed, still to this day they are excavating pieces and putting together giant puzzles with their findings. (you can see them laid out on the tables) This was basically like an apartment for the rich. The rooms all belonged to different families and the paintings you see on the walls and the tiles on the floors are all original. Pretty amazing.
Heres Jordan and the stone carving of the Goddess Nike
and heres a few pictures of the Library of Celcus I mentioned earlier
We were there for at least 4 hours and could have easily stayed for another 4 and not seen it all this place was massive! Too bad even at this time its full of tourists but hey were one of 'em I guess, and besides imagine how bad it would be in the summertime!
At this point it was almost Christmas (which it didn't feel like at all here) and we spent the next little while getting to know the staff of our hotel, Gurcel or "Boss" as we called him, Ramazan the chef Duri and Wolfboy haha and the wonderful cleaning lady whos name we never did get. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful these people treated us! We spent many nights sharing meals, drinks and stories together and many mornings together over cups of coffee and tea. This is one of the best things about staying in one place longer than 3 or 4 days, because you actually get a chance to really get to know people and to experience more of the non touristy lifestyle. They instantly treated us like family and we will NEVER forget our stay here Boss even got us christmas presents and cooked us a chicken dinner :
Me and Boss
We also spent New Year's Eve at the hotel with a few other guests and a friend of Boss's named Dervis whos sense of humour and hospitality we will also never forget! Generally in Turkey and I guess Greece too, drinking and snacking go hand in hand. The spreads that they put out for us were fantastic! Local fruit and olives, nuts bread and all kinds of other things! Here's a few pics of NYE
Got a great shot of the last 2012 moon rising over the hills from our balcony
The other thing we really wanted to do while we were in Turkey was check out Pamukkale (pronounced pah-moo-call-ee) . A few of you have probably already seen pics on facebook, but it is a huge hill of Calcium Terrace formations. Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish and is a natural site in southwestern Turkey, about a 3 hour bus ride from Selcuk. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. The hill is about 9000m long and 600 ft high it can be seen from about 20 kms away. It was spectacular! Its truly amazing how much natural beauty exisits in this world!
After a few more days we were packing our bags and heading back to Istanbul. This time we decided to stay on the Asia side (Turkey is the only country in the world divided over two continents Europe and Asia) as we had spent our first 10 days here on the Europe side in the Old City. This side is definitely different from the other, the streets are lined with big brand name stores like many other cities in Europe and you can hear music blasting from clubs everywhere you turn, it has a much less authentic Turkish feel to it. I didn't really get many pics of this side besides some of our walk across the bridge back to the other side haha ( we decided to walk all the way back to the other side one day because we liked it that much more ) Not very often one can say they walked from Europe to Asia and back again in the same day Heres a great shot of another Mosque on the coast and the craziness that the underground walkways provide!
Also this is what the whole bridge both sides consist of: hundreds of fishermen, rods bait and all theirs catches!
Well all in all Turkey has got to be up there again with one of our favorite countries. I know I know, I say that about every country but your bound to be a little partial to anywhere you spend this amount of time! In total we've been in Turkey for 4 weeks, by far the longest we've spent anywhere and we truly enjoyed every day here! Tomorrow is the beginning of a whole new adventure! We have a 10 1/2 hour flight into Kuala Lumpur, Malaysias capital city! First thing on our list, Dim Sum for breakfast!! Im drooling just thinking about it!!
Talk to you all soon!!