Fun in the sun

Trip Start Feb 22, 2005
Trip End Feb 11, 2006

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

It's been a while now since my last entry and this time I can't use the excuse that I've been to busy. Getting back to my where I left off though, Jamie and I went our separate ways a week ago as I headed south to Selçuk. I arrived in Selçuk at about 6:00 in the morning after a pretty much sleepless night on the bus but couldn't even get into a bed for a snooze as I had to wait for others to check out so I was forced to actually do something with my morning which wasn't as bad as it sounds. Selçuk is best known for it's proximity to Ephesus which is supposed to be the second largest ancient city still in existance, I'm yet to find out what the largest one is. Regardless of it's place in order of size it certainly well outdid Troy as soon as I walked through the gate. The whole place is maybe 2km long but it is amazingly well preserved with a marble paved street heading through the ruins with the remains of a few houses and temples either side and even what would have to rank as one of the first public toilets and by the description given on the commentary the Chinese could learn something from this place. The two main highlights of the city though are it's library and it's theatre which supposedly sat over 25000 people. After a couple of hours wandering through there and basking in the beautiful sunlight it was time to head back to the hostel and finally get some kip. That night worked out quite well for me, despite the overpriced BBQ promoted by the hostel, I met a group of Aussies and Kiwis that had been on a tour together and organised with them to get together the next day and rent some scooters. The next morning the seven of us rocked up to the rental shop which like every place of business in Selçuk is connected with a carpet shop, and took their four scooter and rode off. It was an interesting start as four out of the seven of us (me included) had never ridden a scooter before. I got lucky and got to ride solo for the first half of the day which was mad fun. It didn't take long to get the hang of it and before I knew I was rolling along the highway with the wind in my hair like an adolescent Peter Fonda (Easyrider joke if anyone didn't get it). We went and checked out the nearby beach called Pamucek which was listed as one of the best beaches in turkey by my lonely planet guide although when I got there it had nothing on the south coast but I was nonetheless finally at the beach and this one at least had sand unlike the others I've come across so far. We checked out nearby Kuşadasi, a touristy port town just starting to awaken from it's slumber in time for the onslaught of British tourists. I mentioned earlier about the staff in Istanbul having slight Aus accents, well the touts in Kuşadasi are the same except with a British twang. Our last stop for the day came after a nice windy ride through the hills just outside of Selçuk to a small town called Sirince which is best known apparently for it's wine. I had a look in one of the bottle shops and had to look hard to find a bottle of actual grape wine, they seem to turn just about any fruit into wine up there. I tasted the blackcurrant wine and the peach wine which were both quite pleasant although with the nonexistance of space in my backpacker buying one wasn't really an option. Apart from the wine though it was a really nice little town with white washed houses nestled among the hills and valleys. The story apparently goes that when the first settlers came they named the town "ugly" ŭn Turkish in an attempt to deter others from comings so that they could keep it to themselves, in the end though it was discovered by others and the name was changed to Sirince which means beautiful (or something to that effect, I'm not quite sure).

The only other incident of note in Selçuk was the mandatory visit to Harry's carpet shop, Harry being the owner of the hostel. As I mentioned earlier everyone in Selçuk is connected with a carpet shop and it is even moreso the case with hostels. We were all lured there in the end with the offer of a free beer, it was quite interesting though when I did get there as we were given a full presentation on Turkish carpets and told about the differences in materials used and what to look for and what to pay, after it all they had even me almost considering buying one.

On the last day in Selçuk I jumped on a day tour with a couple of Aussie girls from the Selçuk crew I was with for a day trip inland to Pammukale which is famous for the remains of yet another ancient city, although more notably for its travertine terraces. There is a natural hot spring on the hillside here which has been releasing calcium rich water for thousands of years which has led to the build up of a thick calcium crust down the hillside. It has been a tourist attraction since ancient times when the wealthy romans came to bathe in the supposedly healing waters, they say that everytime you bathe in the waters you become five years younger. I decided not to test that out though as the price for swimming was ridiculously exorbitant. That night the three of us jumped on an overnight bus down to Olympus, where we finally arrived after three buses and about 12 hours.

Since my arrival in Olympos I've done little other than laze around on the beach and do a bit of swimming. Olympos is absolutely beautiful, there isn't much there, just a beach, some ruins and a heap of backpacker joints with treehouses but it's perfect for sitting back and doing absolutely nothing which is basically what I did for the two days I was there. I went for a bit of a swim, the water here is beautifully clear, mainly due to the beaches being covered with pebbles rather than sand, but it's still pretty chilly in there. I left Olympos yesterday morning to come to Kaş which is where I still am now. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interest here although today I jumped on a cruise to some of the nearby sights which was pretty good. The only problem was that I seemed to get stuck on the seniors boat. That might be a bit of an overstatement but I would have been the youngest by at least 15 years and by 25 on average. That pretty much brings you all up to date, tomorrow I'm off to Olüdinez (yet another beautiful looking beach) for a couple of days before heading off to greece.
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ilombardo on

Keep going!!!

Thank you for allowing me to live vicariously through your adventure! Since I have returned from China and settled into a 'normal' life here in America, your log reminds me that I once did some pretty cool stuff too. Can't wait for the next posting.

Cheers! Ingrid

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