Trip Start Aug 10, 2006
Trip End Dec 11, 2006

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

The ancient Roman city of Ephesus was our next destination and managed to find a fantastic place to stay in Selcuk. As we have become accustomed to in Turkey, all good meetings start with a cup of tea and so we sat down with the Turkish owner of the hostel to discuss her family in Australia. This lady was an interesting one as she kept breaking into tears every time she mentioned her sister - made for a rather uncomfortable exchange.

Ephesus is probably the best preserved classical city on the eastern Mediterranean (thanks lonely planet). As with everyday on our trip, the sun was belting down in the high 30s which made for a sweat pot of a tour of the site. I thought that I had already seen enough old rocks to last a life time, but these rocks are the pick. The marble streets, preserved columns and recreated agora and library were well worth the $5 entry!!
What I found amazing about the site was, unlike the strict rules and regulations of sites in Europe, they don't seem to care if you just wander around the columns, jump from 2000 year old stones, sift through the rubble - it is just a free for all. I thought I did a pretty good job of appearing all knowledgeable about all things ancient and after losing half my body weight in sweat (down to the weight of a bag of sugar), we decided to walk the 2 - 5 km back to town (was supposed to be 2 but got lost and ended up further from town then when we left.

More minibuses and coaches got us to Marmaris - a seaside resort town very popular with British, Dutch and German tourists. Our host Ali was kind enough to meet us at the bus station and take us back to his lovely apartment a block from the promenade.

Once again the Turks turned it on. We could not get money out of our pockets as Ali treated us to drinks at seaside cafes and dinner. He tried to explain that based on an eastern anatolian philosophy, if a guest arrives at your door they are a gift from god and therefore must be treated to the highest of hospitality. I don't know whether I would consider my arrival a gift from god (more a gift from hospitalityclub.org) but I was not going to argue with his theory.

Ali has lived in Marmaris all his life and his grandfather owns a big house in the historical old city. The town itself is not the sort of town that Julie and I would normally go for - being full of neon lights, restaurants advertising full English breakfasts, roast beef and sky tv football, but Ali did his best to put a shine on it. He drove us the following day all around the Marmaris peninsular to more secluded beaches and villages allowing us to avoid the glitz of the main town. It further gave me the opportunity to work on joining these freckles up to form a killer tan!!

That evening we worked the strip of wall to wall bars and clubs, trying our best to maintain a level of sanity when every hawker was calling out "where you from, where you from, come in, come in, we do full English breakfast". We opted out of taking up the offers and retired to Ali's sauna of a flat (the temp would have had to be 40 degrees with no fan or air con) to watch a Turkish film. The film (distance) was brilliant however as I was sitting in a thick long sleeve shirt (it was washing day), sweating the life out of me, it made for some difficult viewing.

Ali pleaded with us to stay longer but as we were booked on to a boat cruise, we had to decline and move on.

We later found out the Marmaris was bombed right near where we were staying about a week after our departure. Such an incident is so devastating to hear because the town survives off tourism and is struggling as it is. This bombing I am sure will cause many people to be without work (and for those caught in the bomb, very sore).
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