Friday 22nd June
Jimmy’s Place – Ataturk Mah., 1016 Sok., No. 19, Selcuk, Turkey
We left Bodrum for Selcuk on the 11am bus after having a leisurely morning including a walk through the Old Town and harbour area and a swim. Our trip was not without incident though. We were the only people on the large bus apart from one other Turkish boy which in itself felt quite strange. Our driver had trouble concentrating on the road and we nearly had two car accidents. Also, it was the first time we had ever been through a McDonalds drive through in such a large vehicle and, I think it was the first time the Mc Donald’s staff had seen one drive through, judging by the looks on their faces. We eventually arrived safely at around 3pm after driving through some beautiful country and were able to walk from the bus station to our hotel. The hotel, Jimmy’s Place, is best described as Turkish/Eccentric/Eclectic; it caters for 4,3,2,1 and no star tourists and fronts as a tourist office, taxi service and carpet wholesaler. Thankfully, we are in very nicely appointed 4 star rooms with wireless. The place is run by two brothers, Adam and Jimmy. Adam is married to a NZ girl who was keen to chat with us given that we hail from a similar part of the planet. We settled into our rooms and wondered what we could do given that it was 40 degrees outside (it was 45 degrees in Bodrum though!). Mark and I ended up going to the Archeological Museum which was air conditioned whilst the kids had a swim. That was not the only reason we sought out the museum, it houses many of the finds from the local area, Ephesus, which contains the best preserved ancient ruins from all of the Roman Empire. The thing about the heat here though, compared to home, is that it is relentless; even at 8 ~ 9pm it is still stifling. This poses problems for maximizing use of our time here. There is so much to see but you risk heat exposure by getting out and about to see everything. We eventually braved the heat and ventured out for dinner and a stroll at around 7.30pm and dined at a quirky café under an ancient Roman aqueduct, complete with nesting storks as seems to be the go around Europe. We noticed that Selcuk is more traditionally Turkish than the ritzy south-west coast peninsula where we had just hailed from and also much smaller. We decided that we would take a shorter tour of Ephesus the next day, waiting until the late afternoon due to the heat and visit the weekly markets in the morning before checking out Jimmy’s carpet supply.
Saturday 23rd June.
We were woken by the call to prayers at firstly 3.21am and then 4 something am. Tomorrow we are lucky…it will be a whole 2 minutes later. It is calculated on the basis of sunrise in relation to Mecca…I was too tired to comprehend the full detailed explanation! So, up early we headed out to the markets which came recommended. Unfortunately they were not too exciting and a bit repetitive but, at least we can say we have seen it. Mark and I then headed to the Church of St John whilst the kids went to the pool. St John was Jesus’ favourite apostle and came to Ephesus, bringing Mary with him. He began his Gospel writing from the actual church site and his tomb is located within the church ruins.
The heat was again oppressive so we rested up in our rooms for a couple of hours before Mark and I viewed some carpets downstairs in Jimmy’s shop. Well, 7 carpets, two hours and many Turkish lira later we emerged making Jimmy a very happy man. His lot improved even further later in the day when his team won the end of season major soccer league comp in Istanbul.
By this stage it was time to head out to see some more of the sights that drew us to the Ephesus area. Our driver was Ahmed who we had seen hanging around ‘Jimmy’s Place’. It turns out though that he is another partner of Jimmy’s, as of the last four years. Prior to that he was a first grade, professional soccer player for some Turkish team hat we could not decipher the name for. This place is full of surprises! Our first stop was to the ‘House of St Mary’. This house is believed to be the site of a church dedicated to Mary who resided here after leaving Jerusalem with St John in the years following the crucifixion of Jesus. It is also believed to be the site of Mary’s ascension to heaven. The location of these ruins was revealed by a Bavarian mystic in 1822 who was able to describe this area in detail after a vision during one of her dreams. A simple building in a humble site but, no matter what your faith, this is powerful historical fact heh? From there we went on to Ephesus with our guide, Harry, who described this area to us in full. These ruins lived up to their reputation as the best preserved in the whole of Europe. Annabelle and Tom were suitably impressed with the interpretations of ancient life that could be made on the basis of these in-tact ruins.
We then returned to the hotel to freshen up a bit before meeting up again with Jimmy so that he could tell us the ‘story’ of each carpet we bought. No doubt we can bore you with these stories at a later date. After this ritual was completed we ventured out to the front café area to soak up a few drinks before heading to bed. We have had a full and exhausting but most enjoyable couple of days here.
We leave tomorrow to head to Canakkale.