From Pamukkale the four of us were on a bus heading to Selçuk, which is a smaller town on the western edge of Turkey. There wouldn’t be a whole lot of reasons to come here were it not next door to best preserved remains of Roman civilization. I had booked a separate hostel, so we said goodbye and then I phoned for my complimentary lift.
I checked into the Nur Pension, which was a nice place. When I made my booking, the confirmation letter camr from Ramazan and Ayako, the latter stuck out to me as a Japanese name immediately. My arrival confirmed it, and we spent the evening reminiscing about Japan. She had done some extensive travels that took her here, where she fell in love with the town, and a Turkish guy, apparently. They were both really nice, but it was a bit of a quiet night. I spent a decent amount of time taking to a bright professor type from London about a few things. The next morning I eased into the day with my complimentary breakfast and then walked to the minibus depot.
It took about ten minutes to get me over to the ancient city of Ephesus where I would then take my time exploring the ruins. I downloaded a podcast that explained all about the different things, saving me the cost of the audio guide that I wouldn’t have bought anyway.
The first thing that I saw was the Great Theater, which was much like the one at Pamukkale but about three times larger. The acoustics here were incredible as well. Even while sitting in the nosebleeds, the people down on the stage were perfectly audible. Anytime someone sang or recited a piece, everyone would applaud the effort. I didn’t have a piano with me, so I didn’t have anything to bring to the table. It was here that Peter denounced the worship of Artemis and also pagan gods. Fun fact, the Temple of Artemis once located near here is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, though only a single pillar remains.
The next place that I came across was the Great Agora, which was where the goods were all sold. This large square was surrounded by stone rooms where the shops traded daily good and sold whatever was coming into the port. A number of slabs had been uncovered that advertised the wares of the different shops. For example, pottery and olive oil.
Adjacent to the agora is the most photographed facade of ancient times, the incredibly Library of Celcus. This was the third largest library in its day, though the inside of it really wasn’t all that spacious.
Working my was up a long hilly road, there were a number of noteworthy spots. First were the terrace houses, which cost me extra to go see, but were indeed a portal into the loves of Ephesus’ wealthy. Once I stepped in, the first thing I saw were thousands and thousands of marble pieces that they were trying to reassemble. I like puzzles, but this would have to drive someone to insanity. Still, they had made some significant headway on it. This is not nearly half of what they had going…
Further along in the exhibit were some various examples of ancient home decor and design. These homes all belonged to the city’s elite, and therefore had the finest indulgences of the day: frescoes, mosaics and indoor plumbing. I don’t think I uttered a ‘wow’ at any point but it it was really interesting and worth the extra 15 lira.
From here I climbed a hill and looked at a few more things, but none of them as impressive as what I had seen thus far. When I got closer to the other entrance, lo and behold who should it be but the same Japanese guys from twice before. We walked around a bit, got some photos together, and I also tried to relay to them some the info from my podcast.. They were also kind enough to humor me as I posed as Sampson.
After that, they were going to be going into the Terraced Houses, so we said goodbye again and then I went back to Selcuk. I unwound just a bit at the hostel before walking around town and getting ready for another overnight bus, this time back to Istanbul. The people who owned this place were really great and I genuinely hope that this hostel goes well for them. On my way out, Ayako gave me a Japanese snack to eat on the bus. I hadn’t eaten anything Japanese in what felt like ages, so this was much appreciated.
Also, I’d like to add a short bit of commentary on the quality of Turkish buses: best ever. Not only is an overnight bus 30 dollars, but free WiFi comes standard and refreshments are served as well.