Dalyan to Selcuk, Visit to Sirince

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
Trip End Feb 03, 2008

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

We had allowed for today to be a fairly long drive heading north up the Aegean coast, but in fact the road goes inland (there is a much slower coastal road) and for a large part is a six lane superhighway. In the end we took only 3 hours to cover the distance, including a stop to buy Maggie some new pants at a factory outlet for Benneton in Aydin.
When we reached Selcuk we drove around the streets looking for the recommended Homeros Pension but couldn't find it. What we did find was a road leading out of town to the mountain village of Sirince. I had read that this is a nice place to visit, so up we went. It's only 8km out of town, but the road ascends very quickly.
Sirince is a very pretty mountain village, full of white houses terraced into the hillside. Before 1924 this town was full of ethnically Greek Turkish people, but following the population exchanges the Greeks were all repatriated (even though they had lived in Turkey for generations), and the town was re-populated by ethnically Turkish Greeks who had been living in Thessaloniki. Now the town has a very touristy feel to it, with about 2000 wine houses to choose from (well, 30 or 40 at least) and the touts for the wine houses are very keen to get you into their store. Very similar to the carpet sellers in other parts of Turkey really, but quite OK if you simply say 'no thank you' and walk on. The other thing it has in abundance is women selling embroidered tablecloths, napkins and other manchester. Again, they are very keen to get you to look and buy their wares.
Our first action in town was to get some lunch. We were all hungry and busting for the toilet so probably not in the best position to make a wise decision about where to eat. We chose the Artemis, which is right at the beginning of town, and is the largest, most impressive building in town. Normally this would be a place to avoid for all those reasons and we did have a mixed experience. On the whole the meal was good, but Jess chose 'local greens with lamb' which sounded very nice, but turned out to be a tiny plate of steamed weeds with some flakes of lamb barely visible. She put on a brave face and ate it up. The rest of the meals came about 30 minutes later. Despite being late they were nice.
As we were getting ready to leave the waiter brought me a form to fill in together with a pen. Unfortunately it was all in Turkish! Jess said 'no problem' and went ahead and filled it in - we guessed it was a satisfaction survey - with what she thought the answers should be. I think she probably answered a question like 'did you like our garden' with a response 'we enjoyed eating the chicken'.
Unfortunately at the end of the meal there was some creative addition with the bill. The total of our order was 46 lira but they presented a bill for 57 lira. When I questioned it they pointed to some very small print on the menu saying there was a 10% service charge. Whatever. I wasn't in the mood to give them a maths lesson so we paid and left.
We wandered the sloping cobbled streets of Sirince for a couple of hours, and decided that we would try and stay in one of the pensions. Unfortunately they are more than double what we have paid for better accommodation elsewhere in Turkey so we gave them a miss and headed back to Selcuk. I decided that the best action would be to park the car and wander around town until we found Homeros pension. We asked a man in a pide shop for some directions and he was very helpful, walking with us a couple of blocks asking people if they knew where it was. Eventually we were pointed in sort-of the right direction, but we ended up walking about 10 minutes out of the way. After 15 minutes we found the right street - there were signs to the mythical Homeros Pension. Success! We followed the signs around corners, up side streets, down other streets and as we turned a corner we saw this gorgeous stone house. Jess and I both said 'you beauty' but as we neared it... it wasn't the place. Homeros Pension was around another corner and turned out to be not only a very plain uninspiring building, but also closed! This was despite the fact that I had emailed them asking them if they were open at this time of year and the answer had been an emphatic yes. So back to town we trudged. We ended up staying in the Lonely-Planet-recommended Jimmy's Place, which is more than adequate and quite a reasonable price.
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