Sunday, November 14, 2010

ephesus, turkey

Ephesus is filled with ancient ruins. It's only a few hours away from Istanbul, off the West Coast of Turkey, but so incredibly different than the bustling capital. The quaint town is filled with hospitable people, small boutique shops, and great cuisine.  I had possibly one of the best spicy kebabs of my life in Ephesus, right around the corner from Urkmez Hotel. I don't remember the name, but it has a red awning with red tablecloths outside, a jolly cook/owner, and the most amazing spicy kebabs with yogurt sauce ever. It was so good I didn't even take a picture of it! =/ 

Anyhow, we spent the day exploring all the ruins on foot. We walked to the Temple of Artemis, which is only a fraction of its former glory. Just a lone pillar is left standing, but it still attracts tourists as one of the wonders of the Ancient World. The best thing about Turkey is the accessibility of the ruins to tourists. I could just walk right into the ruins, touch the stones, sit, read, eat and take photographs at leisure. A tour book salesman named Ali came up to us, and offered us the sweetest mandarin oranges I've ever tasted. Here is a video i made while Kat was talking to Ali. [Oh, and I am retarded. I said it was about 75 degrees Celcius. which is WRONG. It's 75 degrees Fahrenheit.]
Then we walked to Ephesus ruins, which is about 2 km west of the Temple of Artemis. We got to the front and spent about 2 hours eating delicious sandwiches, buying postcards, and I even got a fake Rolex at a "genuine fake watch" store. No joke, that was what the sign said. I paid a whole 15 TL for my gold watch, and finally made my way into the ruins. We saw the Greek Theatre first, and when i walked inside, there was a guy there taking pictures. It was Gavin from the hot air balloon in Cappadocia!! We were going the same route in Turkey so its always fun to run into people you met in another city or country.
The Library of Celcus is one of the highlights of Ephesus. It's structure is well cared for and still standing. You can see the workers working behind the structure, but we were still allowed to touch and access many of the parts of the ruins. Naturally, we did jumping shots and stretches!!!!

ancient greek turkey
gotta do it in front of the ruins
  found someone we met in cappadocia...he's stalking us! *_*

  another head cut off
library of celcus

   pretty kitty!
one of the wonders of the ancient world: temple of artemis
chicken shish kebab
Gavin is one of those people who can just meet people really easily. I can be really sociable and all, but he has the gift of being able to get people to actually come out and socialize!!! He brought a completely new group of people from his hostel that we never met before, but had the greatest time with that night. We had a good dinner learning about each others' "cultural heritgae," as Raj calls it...and then we walked around Ephesus town looking for the best baklava.  We found some in a bakery that some of them went to the night before, pitched in 1 Euro each, and bought a box of baklava. We invited everyone over to check out our hotel terrace that I've fallen in love with, and the owners of Urkmez Hotel [Cem and Cüneyt]
were the best hosts I've seen yet. They didn't complain that we brought over new friends who were not staying in the hotel, but instead heated up water for apple tea, brought out some munchies, and shared baklava with us. Even better, they joined us for some great conversation and travel stories.  If you are ever in Ephesus, please stay at URKMEZ HOTEL. It is hands down, the best hostel/hotel to stay in for both value and price in Ephesus.

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