Aydin, Of All Places. Skip if You Want.
Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
154Trip End Sep 11, 2009
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For visiting historical/archaeological sites in the area, I decided to base myself in Aydin, thinking it a convenient location from which to visit daily reachable sites I wanted to see. Aydin is "off the beaten path," for as far as I could tell it itself holds little of interest. On the other hand it is on the beaten path, being a transit point between more well visited locations. Therefore, my "accommodation" guide, Loney Planet, had no listings.
But, on the bus on the way in I was fortunate (sort of) to see the Tourist Information office, which was just a couple of blocks from the otogar (bus station), which itself was uncharacteristically located in the center of town. Already you see Aydin is different.
So I put my luggage in the emaneci, the left luggage room. (You just sort of walk into the storage room and wait. By and by a guy shows up and tags your gear). Then, over at the tourist office I walked into a family affair. Son was noodling away on a computer, mom and dad sitting by. I was offered tea by dad as mom went about filling a stout paper bag (with nice graphics and a cord handle) with touristic brochures. There was, however, no street map of Aydin to be had--my real need.
I was told there were no pensions in Aydin. I was given a choice of two hotels. I walked up the main commercial street and looked at the outside of both, settling on the one closest to the bus station. Its rate was two to three times my average pension rate. I mean, all I need is a clean bed and a shower (and wireless--or wi-fi is nice); I don't need the shower to be in a little glass enclosed booth instead of splashing water on the toilet seat. Nor do I need a room with three beds.
This time, however, I did request a room not on the main street and under a street light. I was given a room on the central light well . . . . roofed, so not much of a source of fresh air. As I tell myself, "You can't have everything all the time."
Once in the room I looked through the tourist information I had been given. I noted two or three pensions listed. But, without a street map . . . .
And, while on the subject of streets I would like to say that Aydin had about the nicest main street I can remember having seen in Turkey. This was especially noticeable to me just after having come from an extended period in Ankara. For its being the national capitol, Ankara has horrible pedestrian sidewalks and ferociously rude auto traffic, giving it more the character of a "wild west" town than that of a national capitol.
Aydin's main street was palm tree lined, the sidewalks were well maintained, flat tiles from one end to the other along a lively commercial strip. Auto traffic proceeded at a moderate rate, giving ample opportunity to a pedestrian to cross. It was reasonably free of litter as well. That part of it was a nice experience.
As for the rest of Aydin, I can't say. What I saw from the terraced breakfast restaurant of the hotel didn't look like worth the time to explore--just a mass of the usual concrete apartment blocks. But, the main street was really nice.
Nice, too, was the hotel's apparent manager. He took my laundry home and his wife washed things over the first night. No charge.
I ended up staying in Aydin three nights while venturing out to visit first Nysa and Aphrodisias.