We woke up at 6am this morning. Not by choice. By a screeching prayer blaring through a megaphone. I think it's funny that in America they've taken prayer out of almost everywhere, but here in Turkey they're forcefully injecting prayer into everywhere.
We tried to fall back asleep, Isa was much better at it than me. I've been having trouble sleeping. I'm thinking it may have something to do with the time change - I was in Alaska last week. And then Florida, New York, and now here. I'm afraid to admit it, but I may be getting older. My body isn't quite as resilient as it used to be. :(
Ali Baba served breakfast at 8 and then he drove us and a few others from the house to Ephesus at 9. It only opened 30 minutes before, but it was packed when we got there.
Two cruise ships were in town today, an MSC and a Royal Caribbean. Apparently this is the only tour when you're docked in Kusadasi because it seemed like all the passengers were here.
Fortunately, they had to move quickly and we had all day. So we moseyed along and found places away from the crowds and then eventually they all left.
But let's go back to the beginning. You start Ephesus on the south east corner, in the government/administration section with the Odeon concert hall and a few other ruins (1 and 2 in this map, which you can click on to view a larger version if you'd like).
I didn't take many pictures here, but you can see this part at the beginning of the video:
After the government part, you go through Hercules' Gate and enter the Street of Curetes. That's the really crowded street above (#4 on the map). That leads down into town where all the normal citizens lived. This street was decorated on both sides with some pretty impressive landmarks, like the Fountain of Trajan...
...and the Temple of Hadrian.
And other random coolness.
It was also the location of the Terrace Houses. Think Beverly Hills of Ephesus. These were 6 apartments owned by the wealthiest citizens of Ephesus. They were two stories, featured courtyards and fancy decorations, indoor heating and plumbing, even hot and cold water. All built from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD.
There's a fancy roof overhead that protects the frescoes (basically, their wallpaper) from fading, and it also gave us a little reprieve from the sun. There are signs throughout to tell you where you are (which apartment) and what you're seeing. There are tons of stairs, but it's well worth the 15 Lira ($5USD) extra entry fee and the climb.
At the base of the Street of Curetes is the centerpiece of Ephesus: the Library of Celsus.
The library facade is magnificent. We took a LOT of pictures of it from every angle because it just looks so cool.
And this is where our brand new Canon G7X decided to stop working. :( I was taking Isa's picture in front of Knowledge:
And then the lens wouldn't retract and it kept giving me an error. We are not happy about this to say the least. :(
Luckily, I had my Olympus point and shoot with me as well, so I used that the rest of the day.
We walked through the market and into the Theatre, which is MASSIVE. It can hold 25,000 people! That's more than Madison Square Garden!!
And then we walked out the Harbour Road a little bit so we could kind of experience what it would have been like to enter Efes in all of its glory.
This wide road was lined on both sides with columns and led all the way to the waterfront. As you can see, most of the columns aren't there any more. Maybe someday they will be, along with the theatre facade and all the other structures around, as all the pieces are just sitting off to the side right now probably being mapped and indexed.
A side trail leads past the gymnasium to Mary's church. Remember at Jesus' crucifixion, the Savior told John to take care of Mary? Well, John came to Ephesus and he brought Mary with her. Mary's house is about 4 miles south of here, we visited St. John's basilica/burial site yesterday (supposedly he lived there too), and now this church is dedicated to Mary (although unlike John, Mary wasn't buried here - or anywhere - she was just taken up to heaven).
When you exit Ephesus, gift shops line both sides of the road to the parking lot. And as tempting as an oxymoronic sign like this is, we passed.
Minibuses ("Dolmus" in Turkish) come every 15 minutes or so and cost 2.5 Lira each for the 10-minute ride back to Selcuk. We still had time to kill before our train, so we wanted to visit the Temple of Artemis. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, so we were very excited to find it. The only problem was we weren't sure how to get there. We saw the location on a map, but no roads to get there.
So we found a trail with a gate that was left open and we went for it. We found goats.
But we soon ran into fences and barbed wire.
That is not the Temple of Artemis, so we went another direction and eventually ran into another fence and more goats and lots of pomegranates. At this point (4:52 in the video) we could see the temple, and figured out that we had to take the main road around and down, which we did, only to be sorely disappointed that the temple no longer stood. :(
Which probably explains why it wasn't higher on the list of things to do in Selcuk.
The path to the Temple is lined on both sides by exercise equipment, which we couldn't pass up. Not for health's sake, but for fun.
We tried them all out.
From here, we picked up our bags, bought some pastries, and walked over to the train where we successfully (and very simply) bought tickets to go to Denizli (15.75 Lira each, about $5.25 USD). The train ride was scenic, as this area is mostly farmland with mountains in the distance.
And then sunset was nice, although it set behind us since we're heading straight west, so we only saw it when the train turned.
Now we're in Denizli, which is the jumping off point for Pamukkale, and we are SO EXCITED to see Pamukkale in real life tomorrow.