Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Tues 14 Jun 2016. Ephesus to Lake Bafa National Park

Tues 14 Jun 2016. Ephesus to Lake Bafa National Park
Had a leisurely start, glad for the overcast this morning. Drove to Ephesus, ruins dating back to 11th century. Originally Ionian and conquered by Alexander the Great, it later fell to Pergamum then to Romans, when it was the Capital of Asia Minor.  On arrival, armed soldiers used long-handled mirror to look under all vehicles at entrance, including ours. We realised it was the first major attraction we have been to. And there was indeed a huge crowd - we heard later they were busloads of them from a cruise ship in nearby Kusadasi. Even though we'd read about the scamming at the gates, we were still sucked in by "Sultan" who moved a car for us so we could park in the shade, got chatting and offered us hot apple tea - we ended up buying a book about the site with overlays to show how the city looked in Hellenistic and Roman times ("special price for first customer of the day, and free map..." turned out to be 3x more than to buy it inside the gates!!) Still shaking our heads at our duplicity, we firmly said no to myriads of hawkers and joined the throng for tickets. 


The site is truly spectacular, a whole city is being unearthed, and in spite of numerous earthquakes, is in a reasonable state of restoration. 

Strategic view of valley


Holes to insert carrier handle

Hadrian's Temple

The double-colonnaded Celsus Library and massive amphitheatre (25,000 person capacity) were truly awesome, the terraced houses, brothel and latrines quite unique, the Hadrian Temple and the wide marble roads that connected everything spoke of the wealth of the inhabitants (who we read in our book had come from a broad mix of cultures over the centuries). The Angel-like bas-relief of Victoria was remarkably preserved. 

Celsus Library is in amazing condition

Ancient latrines in better condition than some current ones
Oops - activity in the brothel...



The city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Cayster River, and by an earthquake in 614 AD. We spent a worthwhile few hours with the ruins, then had lunch of Turkish pide. GirlRob was pleased with her newly-determined bargaining skills to get cute belly-dancing outfits for the grandgirls and an embroidered Turkish outfit for the littlest grandson.

Editors Note: Photo inserted on our return home

After picking up some Voltaren rub for BoyRob's shoulder (last years injury has become aggravated with heavier camping chores) we drove up a steep hill overlooking town to visit the house where Mary the mother of Jesus is reputed to have seen out her days, Meryem Ana Evi. The cost wasn't worth the tacky pilgrimage site (which was only a hole in ground where a dwelling used to be), 'holy' water taps didn't work, and people who hadn't come prepared with their own 'fabric of special meaning' wrote on toilet paper their wishes for blessings and miracles - hmm..... 

Eurasian Blue Jay (worth coming to site just to see him!)

Once back in the coastal traffic decided to sidestep Kusadasi and headed for Lake Bafa National Park. We tried three places to camp along the pretty lake, the first on Pocket Earth had a tent sign, but there was no one around and obviously not a campground; the second was a restaurant and the owner said we could stay without charge, but there was no level ground that didn't interfere with his business. We were tired enough to choose the third spot - in spite of an awful smell, it was a picture-perfect location in an area off to the side of a restaurant ringed by eucalyptus trees and right beside the lake. 

Reading all the benefits of eating eel that had been spawned in Mexico, and travelled over 3 years through the Saragossa Sea, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean to end up in Lake Bafa Turkey, BoyRob decided to partake of some "ginseng of the sea". We sat in the restaurant for several hours, overlooking fishing dinghys and ruins on an island, watching the birds (ducks, geese, egrets, herons, swallows, seabirds and a raucous flock of black birds) and with iPad and the Lonely Planet book on Turkey, planning the remaining two weeks in Turkey to fit in Cappadocia. 


Looks like the goats and water birds have island to themselves

There was a commotion through the night when BoyRob fell out of the door. Whilst feeling guilty for causing a gash on his leg, GirlRob virtuously reminded him of their evening ritual of retracting the steps as a security measure...

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