Busing It

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Anz Guesthouse Selcuk
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Turkey  , Izmir,
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As if the six hour bus ride departing at 2:30AM wasn't going to be uncomfortable enough, I entered the bus to find a very robust women sitting in my seat asleep and overflowing into me the entire ride. It didn’t help that there were two women with two children sitting in two seats across from us, talking the whole night. I arrived to Cannakale at 8:30AM a complete wreck but still on the go.

I stored my bag at the bus office and headed directly for the monument of Troy. On the dolmus to Troy, I met a few backpackers including an American name Justin. Justin told me about a bus he was taking to Selcuk close to Efes leaving at 12:30PM which meant we had less than an hour to walk through the ruins and return to town. This was actually not a hard feat since there isn’t much left of Troy and we didn’t bother with a guide.

When I couldn’t find a bus to Kusadasi leaving in the next hour or so, I went ahead and joined Justin on his "private bus." This private bus booked through a company called “Hassle Free” turned out to be anything but “hassle free.” There were eight of us, a few Kiwis, a couple of Aussies, Justin and I and as part of the tour was scheduled to stop at Bergama, a famous Roman ruin along the way for an hour and half. Meanwhile, everything that could go wrong did. For starters, the bus came equipped with a guide who escorted some of the folks on the bus from Istanbul to Cannakale. However; this was her first time on this particular route and was completely worthless. She was as knowledgeable as any one of us on where we were going, how long things would take or anything for that matter. It became a complete comedy of errors when after only two hours in, the driver pulled over and announced that the car was dead. We sat for two hours on the side of the road in a beachside town called Ciftlik Koyu sitting under a straw awning with a local woman trying to sell straw baskets.

Finally a back-up driver and bus appeared and then it became a “hurry up” mentality from the useless guide. Par for the course, the a/c was broken in this vehicle and since this wasn’t the regular driver, he too was lost half the time. The delay continued with my need for a pharmacy to get some antibiotics and then the driver parking the car, while paying for the toll since this car wasn’t registered to this route. By the time we arrived at the ruins, the poor tourists who had pre-paid for the visit were given 10 minutes to peak inside and turn around because the site closed at 6:30PM.

We drove on for another couple of hours, still miserable without air or much cross breeze. Seriously I had to keep asking the driver to roll down his window. Still a couple of hours away from our destination, we stopped for dinner, prolonging our arrival by another hour. We finally arrived to Selcuk at midnight, and although I thought I wanted to stay in Kusadasi, I checked into the same hotel as the Aussies and crashed. The AnZ hotel is run by Harry and was the perfect reprieve after the 24 hour journey.

I got lucky and landed in a deluxe room for under $30USD, where I made friends with Regina Celi, a UN international negotiator and consummate traveler. We quickly became friends and it was refreshing to have someone to talk to, and a companion for a visit to Kusadasi the next day.
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