And We're Off
But just not yet. First, Rene wanted to go to Ephesus so we booked a trip through a travel agent but the agent was unable to fill the bus so it was cancelled. So we waited a few days and tried again but again the trip was cancelled. When Omar, the travel agent, brought our money back he guaranteed us, as he said 1000%, that there would be a trip the following Wednesday so we hung in there and were glad we did.
Second, we needed to have our teeth cleaned.
Ephesus was located on the Aegean Sea and grew into a major city under the Hittites, Greeks and Romans.
The city became the chief port on the Aegean under the Roman rule and most of the ruins that we see today are representative of all that was the best and the worst of Roman culture. Today it is one of the greatest ruined cities of the western world. The colonnaded streets once linked palatial libraries, temples, amphi-theatre, stadiums, baths, palaces, markets, houses and public toilets. As the city flourished, it played an important role in the spread of Christianity. Eventually the harbor of the city silted and it became marooned some ten kilometers from the shore. This handicap and earthquake damage caused the city to be abandoned leaving the archeological site you find today. In some ways the remoteness from the sea allowed the site to be undisturbed thereby creating one of the largest, if not the largest site from the Roman period. Although our walk through the ruins took only three hours we could have spent several days exploring the area.
Nearby is a small stone house that according to legend is the last resting place of the Virgin Mary. This attraction draws many Catholic tourists each year. So if your asking how the Virgin Mary ended up in Turkey, I would remind you that the map was greatly different during the time of Christ but other than that, I have no idea.
Near Ephesus is another wonderful site, the Greek city of Hierpolis, founded by Alexander the Great. The city was built around the natural hot springs and was eventually occupied by the
Romans in about 133 BC who built the great structures as only the Romans (and their many slaves) could do. A well preserved theatre dominates the ruins where you will also find graveyards, streets, markets and many public baths. Located here also is the Martyrium of St Philip where the apostle Philip was crucified. Finally in the sixth century the city was abandoned. The mineral rich hot springs create travertine mounds where the water cascades down the hill creating a site called the Cotton Castle (Palmukkale). Since it was the beginning of the season, we were able to walk around the beautiful plateaus of limestone, sans shoes of course. At the height of the season the terraces will be off limit to visitors. Palmukkale is promoted with pictures of the limestone terraces and we hadn't anticipated the ruins of such a large city and in fact we are continually surprised by the amount of ruins that are everywhere along the coast of Turkey. Being from a country without any ancient ruins it is sometimes astounding to discover the vast number of sites remaining from the cultures of the last 5000 years.
At the risk of offending my Russian friends again, it was fun watching young Russian girls pose for pictures among the ruins. They are for the most part scantily clad and a picture is only taken when with toes pointed, legs crossed, tush pushed out, quarter turn at the waist, shoulders rolled in to create cleavage and finally pouty lips. Then it's quickly off to the next ruin to snap the next pic which may be in the prone position. Anyway you get the idea.
If it seems like we are dragging our feet in leaving we are. Our marina berth is paid up for another month and when we leave we anticipate higher cost in the rest of the Mediterranean. Also the nights are just starting to warm up. There is a significant increase in tourists activity which livens up the town and last week was Russian Sailing Week.
More to Come..............
To view a few more of the pictures from our trip, please click on the slide show below.
To view the Flickr set of our pictures of Ephesus and Palmukkale just click on the "smiley face".
Palmukkale - This theatre could originally seat 20,000 but only 30 rows of seats have survived
Okay, now we are really off. First stop Gocek for a night and then to Kizilkuyruk Koyu where we spent two days cleaning the bottom. For you sailors, we had three coats of Micro International applied a year and a half ago and from sitting in Fethiye for about a year the bottom was covered in a light surface moss, the running gear was encrusted and the keels had a white crust that could either be wiped off by hand or needed a little scraping. Anyway it was the running gear that took the most time and effort. For now we look pretty good but we will see how long it last. We can still renew the paint in Malta, Gilbrata, Tunisia or maybe even The Carnies.