Usually our breakfasts that are included in our accommodation take the form of a “Village Breakfast”….a smorgasboard of offerings such as bread, bagels, fresh fruits, cheese, the whitest shelled hard boiled eggs you’ve ever seen, various meats, olives, tomatoes, various spreads etc and you just help yourself…..along with Turkish Tea or Coffee of course! But today at Homeros Pension and Guesthouse in Selcuk, our hostess served us an individual platter each with such offerings…..the pressure was on to eat as much as we could so as not to offend. We gave Dervis’ sister our washing (25TL) including our riding gear….so nice to get it all clean…although I did have to return to her three pieces of washing that were not ours!
After breakfast, a friend of the owner, who also runs a carpet shop (they all do here!) came and kindly took us in his car to the top of Ephesus and dropped us off….free of charge! We were able to use the Museum Passes that Vince had purchased for 75TL (Turkish Lira) each at the Acropoli in Bergama, and enter free….but we did need to pay 15TL for special entry into the Austrian supported restoration project for the Terrace Houses….and we were glad we did….it was awesome and well worth the money! Anyone who doesn’t do this is really missing out on the whole Ephesus experience.
Vince and I were in awe at every turn….so much history …..unbelievable. Our Audio guides (20TL each) were well coordinated this time (unlike the problems we had encountered at the Acropoli previously where signs were missing and the map didn’t match anything). The commentaries were very informative…and we had read some books in the roof top bar at our hotel the night before and I was thrilled to see the real live versions of history… Including the place where the statue of Artemis was found…..(that is now is the Ephesus Museum)….the Library of Celsus…the magnificent Temple of Hadrian (with replica friezes)…..and we even found the marble stone path that lead from the port up to the brothels….a little to the left (left footprint) ….to the girls (female head) ….who despite their broken hearts will show you love (dotted heart). We even saw the work being done on the restoration by the Americans on the Church of Mary….the first Christian Church in the world – their dig is in full sun, where as the Austrians are under a special covered-in roof with aircon!
We were so inspired by the sense of history that we went to the Ephesus Museum in the afternoon and it was even more exciting to see all the artefacts that had been uncovered from the site….including the statues of Artemis and the real friezes from the Temple of Hadrian….I was so excited and kept urging Vince to “you have to come and see this!!!!!”. The past few days really have been a case of BIG (Troy), BIGGER (Acropoli) and BIGGEST (Ephesus).
The day overall was fantastic……but it was a little soured when we finished at Ephesus….as it was stinking hot and we had spent around 3 hours in the blistering Turkish heat….we had drunk our water….and even though we had sunscreen and I had a hat and sunglasses…..we were roasting! So at the cafe at the end we bought 2 ice creams and 2 small bottles of water….I went to pay with 20TL and she told me it was 32TL ….I begrudgingly paid the extortionate amount (7.50 TL for each water and 8.50 TL for each ice-cream….criminal!) …Vince was shocked and stunned!
On the flip-side – we didn’t get fleeced by the taxi-driver who returned us from the lower gate at Ephesus back to our pension even though he wanted to charge a 50% premium for taking us a few hundred metres beyond the bus-stop. Before he even started driving we’d jumped out of the taxi and had started walking, and that was enough to bring him back to earth. With that said he drove like a bat out of hell all the way back to town, like he was intent on killing us in a car crash just because we hadn’t caved into his demands.
Turkey is a place of total contrast….those kind giving souls who will do anything for your and are generous to a fault and those ready and willing to screw you over….no problem!
We looked briefly in a local artist’s hand painted pottery shop (she was there the day before and asked us to come in but we were rushed for time then)….we considered buying a few bowls to send home….they were only 35TL each but the postage costs were going to be more than the bowls…so we left it.
We also called by a local Tour Agency to check out if we needed to book our ballon flight for Cappadocia….and lucky we did….we got some good intelligence from Albi, the Manager, and we came back later that evening to make some bookings….so we are going to stay in a Cave and go up at 4.20am in a balloon to see the sunrise……how exciting!
Our lunch was back in Selcuk, and we had pizza….and it was reasonably priced at 30TL…and they gave us free bread, free salad and a plate of fried tomatoes for free also. At dinner time we thought we would “share the tourist love” and try another business [Vince’s note – this is something I’ve learnt from Rob – my good riding buddy in Perth – as he’s always keen to spread his money around different businesses when he’s out touring] ….. but Alibaba charged 65TL for 4 drinks and two main meals (mine was only 6TL according to the menu) was a bit more than what we expected ..NO itemised bill was given and no receipt….I guess you live and learn and in future we’ll be more astute. Like I said ….Turkey is a place of complete contrast!