Thursday, 31 May 2012

Selçuk and Exploring Ephesus

Getting to Selçuk from Bergama required two minibuses with a change over in Izmir.  When we arrived around 1.30pm we went straight to the hostel that Göbi had recommended, the Nazar Hotel. The cleaner (who didn’t speak any English) greeted us with a post-it note with a set price on it, which was higher than our budget.  We decided to check out the room anyway, and then tried unsuccessfully to discuss lowering the price with the very nice owner when he arrived.  Disappointed to be heading back out into the cold we set off with our packs to find some other options.  Unfortunately, the other hostels were at the other end of town, and it turned out that due to the freezing temperatures everyone’s prices were increased to cover the cost of heating.  We were learning our lesson that travelling in low season isn’t always cheaper and with our tails between our legs, we found ourselves back at the Nazar Hotel an hour later accepting the room we’d previously turned down… we ate humble pie that day, but at least the owner was extremely friendly!

A crypt frozen solid in the cold
The town is fairly small and it only took the afternoon to explore the St John’s Basilica, the old Isabey mosque, and the Ephesus Museum which is full of artifacts and statues removed when Ephesus was excavated.  The cold drove us inside early but it didn’t matter as we wanted to get an early start to explore Ephesus the next day as we had a 3.30pm bus to Pamukkale to catch.

Even though we made it to the ruins early, it was a Saturday which meant there were quite a few tour groups going through, however, since we’d walked to the ‘back’ entrance we went against the flow most of the way so we were still able to get some good photos with not too many tourists in the way.  
Under the columns of the Library of Celsus
The morning was really cold, so much so that a sarcophagus filled with water had formed a layer of ice over the top that couldn’t be cracked (we may have looked like vandals trying to smash a 2000 year old sarcophagus!!! Luckily, no-one was around). The whole site is immense with an enormous amphitheatre, the famous library (which has a fabulous façade, mostly reconstructed) and it took a good couple of hours to explore properly and read all the info that was quite detailed. 

The Library of Celsus 
Back in town the Saturday markets were in full swing and we enjoyed wandering around sampling the nuts, sweets and fruits on offer (while deftly dodging the crazy old ladies determinedly driving their carts into our shins).   A couple of cheap kebaps later and we headed to the bus station for our next trip, Denizli, which ended up taking 4 hours instead of 3, and then we had to take a minibus to Pamukkale so we arrived well and truly after dark and went straight to the Dört Pansiyon hoping they still had a room available.  One of the benefits of traveling in the off season is that even when you arrive at 9pm places still usually have vacancies…. We had dinner by the fireplace in the common area soaking up the warmth before heading to bed.

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