Saturday, October 10, 2015


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Back when I was stuck in the United States due to passport issues and Mike was in Turkey, he took a little day trip to meet one of his Olmsted classmates who was traveling in Turkey.  He met Jonathan and his wife Georgeanne while they were doing a tour of Ephesus.  Ever since then, none of the ruins we've seen have compared in his eyes.  I was anxious to see the sight, but didn't want to do it during high tourist season or while it was a million degrees.  If I've learned anything from the past three and a half months, it's that it gets really hot here.

Now that it's finally cooled down a bit (it's still like 80 degrees, but that's a pleasant change from the 95 we had earlier this summer) and we had an open weekend, we decided to venture down there. It's pretty easy to get there from our house since you can take a train to the nearby city of Selcuk for less than $2.  From there, you catch the Dolmus (a mini bus) and it drops you off at the entrance to the ruins.  All said and done, it takes about an hour and a half.  

When you get to the ruins, you have the option of starting at the bottom where the Dolmus drops you off, or you can catch a ride to the top via horse and buggy.  We chose to just start at the bottom, so we bought our tickets and headed in. We were actually surprised at how many tourists there were.  It wasn't crowded by any means, but we were surprised since it's supposed to be the off season.  Oh well.

The first thing you see is this little gem.

 It was built to prevent echo, which is pretty remarkable when you think what time period it was built in and the lack of technology they had.  Since it was built this way, there were a bunch of people standing on what would have been the stage clapping and yelling to test it's architecture.  There was even a group of Americans who started singing "Wonderwall."

Since it was the Notre Dame/Navy gameday, we had to support our teams.  I grew up as the daughter/granddaughter/niece of a very enthusiastic Notre Dame graduate and was taught from the day I was born to always support the Irish.  Mike, on the other hand, is a proud Naval Academy graduate and would never dream of cheering for anyone else.  So, we've agreed to support the rival 364 days of the year.  Go Irish! Beat Navy!!

As we continued along the path, we found the library, which is actually pretty cool.  After three and a half months of traveling through Turkey, all of the ruins have started to look relatively similar until we got here.  It's pretty remarkable to think that this building has withstood wars and natural disasters and has survived.  

I love libraries!

After the library, we walked uphill along the path to see the other ruins.  

 We made it to the top!  Look at that view!

At the top was a small amphitheater, which was still in great shape as well.

I spy with my little eye....a Michael Vick Eagles Jersey?  Mike was loving it.
 At the top, there is a model of the what the city looked like in it's prime.  It was pretty cool to see this diagram to see what we had just walked through and picture how it would have looked in real life.

   Our only qualm with this sight was the lack of information about the different ruins.  We were able to identify what most of them had been, but there wasn't a lot of information about the different ruins.  In the library, there were signs about the library, but they were all in Turkish, which didn't help us or probably 85% of the people there.  We have realized that there are some sights which give you a TON of information that you could spend days reading, while other sights give you next to nothing and you have to research on your own. 

After exploring the ruins, we spent an hour or so wandering around the market in Selcuk.  We lucked out that we came on Saturday because this market was incredible. There were tons of fruits and vegetables like we've seen at the markets here, as well as some extras.  There were tons of peppers, so we bought a whole strand of dried habenero peppers for Mike and some bananas for me.  The bananas didn't survive the trip back and got smashed, so I made banana bread. 

While we were playing tourist, we heard the news that there had been a bombing at a peace rally in Ankara.  I think the death count is almost 90 now and the number of injured is well over 100.  We knew that these next few weeks leading up to the election would be tense, but I had no idea that it would be this bad.  When we arrived home, we got back to our apartment just as a march of over 2000 people started.  As I've said before, I feel completely safe here and am thankful that Izmir is such a western and modern city, but today definitely served as a reminder that we aren't in the United States. 

If you're interested, this New York Times article provides a pretty good summary of what happened, as well as some of the politics surrounding the upcoming election. 

And on that somber note, I just have one more thing to say....GO IRISH! BEAT NAVY!

Step Count (after a week of only hitting my goal twice): 13,572