From Istanbul I took an overnight bus to the town of Selçuk, near the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. Located just a few kilometers away is the ancient Greek and Roman city of Ephesus (Efes in Turkish), which is by far the top attraction in the area and where I spent a lovely morning. I happened to meet Dennis and Lisa, a wonderful British couple, on the overnight bus, and I spent the day sightseeing and having lunch with them. It was nice to have a bit of company for a change!
I had planned to spend on night in Selçuk in order to relax after a whirlwind couple of days through Istanbul (including two overnight buses!) but the only campsite I could find wanted to charge me 10 euro just to pitch a tent! So I just went to Ephesus for a few hours and then hopped on yet another bus to get to Pamukkale before nightfall. I found a campsite there for just 2 euro a night, so I’m sure I made the right decision.
Anyway, Ephesus was a fascinating place, particularly because a lot of the buildings have been rebuilt over the past couple of decades to give visitors a sense of what the city really looked like. It’s not just the same old piles of rocks that most ancient ruins tend to be. Most impressive is the Library of Celsus, which was originally built in 135 AD and rebuilt for the final time in the 1970s. There were also some awesome carved rocks featuring figures such as Medusa. The entrance fee was a bit steep at 25 lira (US$12.50) and at around 10am the site become overrun with tourists from buses, but the experience was worth it nonetheless.
After returning to Selçuk from Ephesus I had a couple of hours to kill before my bus to Pamukkale. I wanted to buy some knitting yarn, so I asked a local rug store owner if he knew where I could buy some. The rug owner, Mehmet, not only pointed me in the right direction but actually drove me to the shop and helped me pick out some yarn! He then gave me some tea at his shop, Central Anatolian Carpet and Kilim, and showed me his beautiful rugs, which are handmade by his aunt. Unfortunately, due to my current homelessness, I was not in the market for a rug, but if I were I definitely would have bought from him.