Published: October 10th 2011October 4th 2011
Got up, packed up, had brekky, checked out and were dropped off up the road at the Pamukkale bus company's office. The man here was very friendly and chatty with us. Quite a few people waiting for the bus. Also chatted with an Australian Turkish couple who were here for holidays. He did his military service in Pamukkale about 30 years ago.
At 9:30 the bus arrived and we all loaded up and away we went. This bus went all the way to Selcuk without having to change bur did still stop in Denizli and various other places along the way to pick up and drop off passengers.
When we got to Selcuk otogar we disembarked and grabbed our luggage. A guy from the bus company asked us where we were staying. We said Hotel Bella and he first explained where it was (not far away) and then told us someone could ring them and they'd come and puck us up for free. So we took up that offer and within a few minutes a car drove up to collect us. The hotel was quite close but up a bit of a hill so it was nice not to have to lug our heavy packs.
It's a lovely old ottoman house covered in vines. Our room, on the first floor was very "compact" and the window opened onto a narrow space between us and the next room but at least let in light. And the room had lovely dark timber furniture. Up on the roof was a lovely terrace with views over to St John's Basilica and the citadel on top of the roof, and a stork's nest on top of a light pole (but no stork - they are there til September). The manager sat down with us to give all the info about the hotel, things to see/do in Selcuk, etc. We decided to do the sights around town this afternoon and Efesus in the morning.
First task was to get some cash and then lunch. We found a nice-looking cafe and ordered our meal. First they brought us a yoghurt & garlic dip with flat bread just out of the oven - so fresh and delicious! The main was also delicious, and the whole meal very cheap! After lunch we followed the route recommended to us, across the main road, past a school and along to the Selcuk Museum, which is an absolute treasure trove of things mainly from Efesus - lots of statues and reliefs of all sorts of famous historical and mythical figures, plus coins, pottery, bronze, stone etc etc. There are a couple of very beautiful statues of Artemis, thongs off temples, houses, baths etc.
After the museum we continued along the road that leads to Efesus, out past the Jandarma (military police), then turn to the right and there (past the carpark) in a field, and a rather large depression in the ground, is the remains of the Temple of Artemis. It was once a large and grand structure with many columns, very tall, but basically what's left is a motley collection of foundation stones and one and a bit reconstructed columns. It all looks pretty forlorn, but you can get a sense of the size of it by walking around amongst the weeds and great big stones.
We returned to the edges of town, turned left along the first street and walked to the Isa Bey Mosque. This was built by/for a famous guy in the Ottoman style - lots of marble and some nice stone work but pretty plain and simple (but beautiful).
Next stop, just up the hill, is St John's Basilica. Apparently John came to Efesus after the death of Jesus and spent quite a bit of time here including writing his bits of the bible. He was also buried on this hillside. Some time later a church was built over his tomb. And later still (it may have been destroyed first) a second, grander basilica was constructed. The entry to the site is through a huge stone gate and there are great stone walls. Right at the top of the hill is a big citadel/fortress that has been closed for renovations for many years. It seems no-one has the funds to complete the work so it just stays closed. We bumped into one of the couples who went to Afrodisias with us so I had a bit of a chat with them, including hearing how incredibly crowded Efesus was this morning. Then spent a good while exploring the basilica ruins before we returned to our hotel.
Our room felt very small so we went upstairs for a beer and a read (Jeff) and a blogging (me) on their hotel computer. There was also a very nice sunset to be seen. We decided to dine in, as apparently did quite a few others. All the tables were taken so we were going to eat at one of the low coffee tables until an American couple offered for us to join their table, which we did. They were from Santa Barbara. They told us they'd decided to cut their holiday short as they'd not been having a great time in Turkey (not "catching the vibe"). Anyway we had a good chat and of course told them what a wonderful time we've been having. I don't think we were able to change their minds though.