After ten days of mosques and cousins and balloons and caves… Karen had simply had enough of all this beauty and fun! OK, actually, Karen headed home before me to get back to work and to our dog, Cosmo.
Knowing our pooch was well taken care of, I hopped a quick flight to İzmir, on the Mediterranean coast. At the airport’s poorly-labeled train platform, a Turkish woman saw my bewildered look and helpfully asked the staff which train I needed. She got me on the right one, and I soon found myself in Selçuk. It’s a city with a bit of history. As in, Saint John wrote his gospel up the hill from my hostel.
Selçuk is the jumping off point for Efes, or as the previous residents would have called it, Ephesus. This sprawling complex passed through Greek and Roman hands on its way to becoming a Turkish tourist magnet. And the name of the country’s favorite beer.
It’s probably best to arrive first thing in the morning, to beat the heat. I wouldn’t know- I got off to a slow start and headed to the shadeless site mid-morning. Oh well, I’ve slathered on sunscreen in Cambodia and Costa Rica. Why not here?
Mercifully, Ephesus has an ice cream stand. In my heat-induced delirium, I texted Karen a photo of the wrapper (as proof that I was still alive).
The city itself is amazing. According to the guidebook, this was the capital of Roman Asia Minor, so it’s no wonder that the gigantic theater leads to an expansive plaza leads to a towering library. Some were more complete than others, and to be honest, I like seeing at least some of the artifacts in their unrestored condition. It makes the ravages of time and history more palpable.
Oh yeah, this area (supposedly) had another celebrity resident: the Virgin Mary. Her house is 7 km from Efes and I was pooped, so I didn’t bike over to see it. No matter: I got the general idea from this map… brought you by McDonald’s.