Ephesus, Teos and an Excess of Sex and Drink

Trip Start May 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 05, 2014

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Monday, March 31, 2008

On returning from Istanbul on Thursday we had booked a car to take us to the Ancient city of Ephesus on  Saturday.
Ephesus has existed since 1000BC but itīs main claim to fame was as the Roman capital, and principal commercial city of Asia This is a bit cheeky of them when you consider that the Chinese  were, at that time, way ahead of the game in the civilisation stakes and had a population about ten times that of the entire Roman Empire.
However, I digress. It was also one of the earliest places which took up Christianity. St Paul visited there in AD53 and, after the Ephesians had spent a millennium worshipping every other god and their dogīs uncles, Christianity was established here despite a some of nit-picking correspondence from Paul to the Ephesians after he left.
The site at Ephesus is really quite impressive. It has the ubiquitous amphitheatre, Odeon (council chamber), various meeting places, well preserved agora (ancient shopping mall), one of the earliest Christian churches, gymnasium etc etc. The real glories of Ephesus are:  the  well preserved Roman houses with remarkable mosaics, wall paintings and courtyards; the ancient library of Celsus; the well preserved avenues and the overall size and scope of the place; oh yes - and the brothel with remarkable wee statuettes of tiny dwarf like figures (now kept in the museum but on postcards everywhere) with immense willies!
It was quite busy when we got there. The coaches drop off their hordes at the top of the site and they all, dutifully, walk down the main avenues to be picked up at the bottom of the site. Thus all their walking is downhill. We did the opposite by walking up against the flow and then walked down taking in all of the less visited areas.
Whilst the main areas of the site are seriously impressive, the peripheral areas are delightfully quiet, covered in wild flowers and have a generally very restful and tranquil atmosphere. We found ourselves in splendid isolation ,on a 500 metre avenue, in amongst ruins that arenīt even in the guide book. Well worth the visit.
Kusadasi Again
 On Sunday  we suffered very strong southerly winds. We checked the 5 day forecast to find that the weather was likely to be a tad iffy until Thursday so settled into some serious reading, got bored with this and explored the town some more. Found a couple of large supermarkets and a B&Q DIY place (how bored can you get!) out by the coach station. On Tuesday we got some very strong winds which buggered our wind sensor, rattled the boat around all day and then sent a horrible swell (waves that is - not an unpleasant fat guy in a top hat and tails) into the harbour.
We noticed that a couple of cruise liners had arrived (they generally come here for a day, see the bazaar and Ephesus then go away. However, one of them had parked itself almost across the marina entrance and sat there, at anchor, side on to the strong winds. She was still there when we left on Thursday with a couple of tugs fussing around her. Clearly she had been driven aground. We wondered how the crew managed to keep the passengers occupied for 3 days. Did they tell them that the boat had actually sailed when they were asleep and arrived at another port where there was another bazaar and ancient city to see each day so sent them back to Ephesus twice more!!
As we were about to leave, at 6.30 on Thursday morning, a marinero in a RIB appeared to escort us out of the  harbour. The standard of service in Kusadisi marina really is superb. We would thoroughly recommend it.
We headed off in light winds. Squeezing past the stranded liner, to travel the 33 miles to the port of Sigacik (pronounced Sarjick) where Tarbert neighbours, Ian and Ann had wintered with their boat in the 1980s. On arrival, in strongish winds and rain, we were greeted by the harbourmaster as if we were long lost family. We are the first visitors in 2008!
This is an attractive harbour incorporated in a small ancient walled village. The port itself is surprisingly large and actually has new marina pontoons but, as yet, with very few fittings to tie a boat to. Nonetheless the harbourmaster, using bits of string and chain, seems to find berths for everyone who appears here.
For yotties travelling this coast Sigacik is not to be missed. It is the perfect antidote to the brash, in yer face, rather soulless,Kusadasi. The locals are very friendly and helpful. The harbour and village are picturesque. It is like leaving modern day Southend and arriving in 19th century Cornwall, all in the space of 30 miles.
Also not to be missed is the Friday bazaar at Seferihisar 6kms away. We needed supplies for the boat and were told by the harbourmaster to head for there. We caught a dolmus. This is a mini bus with about 12 seats but seems to carry about twice that number. We boarded and noticed that passengers passed their money up the bus while it was on the move, where the driver sorted out their change and then passéd it back while travelling at speed.
The bazaar was a local food and clothing market with traders selling everything from live goats to dead socks. The range of fruit and vegetables was incredible. The traders each tried to outdo each other with the quality and presentation of their produce and everything was very cheap. Of particular note was the range of cheeses. The cheese merchant offered us a taste of a cheese which looked like a Greek feta. It was delicious but he wouldnīt let us buy it until we had sampled others, each impossibly more tasty than itīs predecessor. When we were eventually allowed to buy some it cost just a few pennies for a very large slab.
After loading up with supplies we headed back to Sigacik but, as the dolmus had just left, decided to get a taxi. When we got out at the harbour Rob went to pay the driver the amount on the meter, 12 liras (Ģ5), but the driver said 10 liras was plenty. Another first for us, a taxi driver who deliberately undercharges!
Ancient Teos.
One of the reasons for coming to Sigacik is that it is close to the ancient city of Teos. Teos was built in the 2nd century BC (this blog is starting to sound like a history lesson - bear with me, this one has plenty of sex ,drinking and dying) and was the home of the Temple of Dionysus, the god of wine, the arts and the "generative forces of nature" (bonking). Naturally there was Guild of Dionysus formed in Teos which consisted of poets, artists, actors and other nīer do wells whose behaviour became so outrageous that the locals banished them to the backwaters (Kusadasi maybe?). One local poet, Anacreon, who, after living a long and full life of wine, women and song eventually died, after an excessive evening, by choking on a grape pip - poetic justice or what!!
After Friday the wind strengthened from the North and it has got quite cold. On Sunday it was still chilly, but the sun was shining so we trotted over to Teos along an ancient track past women in traditional costumes working in the lettuce fields, goatherds and their flocks ambling along. A wonderful rural setting. Teos is about 2km out of the village in an idyllic setting among the fields and hedgerows. When we arrived Gina was wowed  -  it was alive with wild flowers, poppies, anemones, periwinkles and many others. There was no-one else there. It was divine, we could see why the Guild of Dionysus had rather taken to the place (well, there was also the sex and drinking). There are bits of the temple lying around all over the place among the long grass and wild flowers. Undoubtedly the memory of this peaceful place will remain with us for a long time.
After walking out of Teos we came to the coast which is littered with estates of expensive modern housing, all with marvellous views of the Anatolian coastline. Each estate is fenced in with barbed wire and security gates. It made a stark contrast to the simple and beautiful Teos.
Today, Monday, Rob went to pay the harbourmaster for our mooring (about 4 quid a night) as we expect to go tomorrow. The harbourmaster thanked him for the money and said "if you want to stay tomorrow night please do so as our guest"! What an incredible place - a marina that charges very little and then gives you a free night and taxi drivers who refuse to take the full fare - Essex this ainīt.
Tomorrow, our 36th wedding anniversary, we head for the port/resort of Cesme (pronounced Cheshmee), about 30 miles away, from where we hope to backpack up to Gallipoli to tour the 1st world war battlegrounds.
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