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Sunday, 25 May 2014

All Roads Lead to Ephesus via Selçuk

The small town of Selçuk is a good base for a three-day exploration of the surrounding sights.  It is only 3 km away from Ephesus, the capital of the Asian province of the Roman Empire, and 8 km from Şirince.  But do all roads lead to Ephesus?  
 

Dilay at Red Basilica Pension
Dilay at Red Basilica Pension

From Bergama to Ephesus

Day 8: Before we left, we had a delightful breakfast of egg, tomatoes, olives, nuts, simit (sesame seed bread) and jams and especially a luscious cheese at the Red Basilica Hotel in Bergama.  Dilay was a charming host/manager and we had a long chat.  
 
According to our Itinerary Map, it was supposed to take three hours to travel 175 km to Selçuk. But we got lost. When we approached Izmir there was no sign for either Selçuk or Ephesus. Did I mention that road signs are not geared to tourists?  Next time we will have to be aware of what is the next important towns along the highway – clearly Selçuk and Kuşadası don’t count.
 
We ended up missing the bypass expressway and had to drive through Izmir, Turkey's third largest city's. The nice surprise was that the buildings climbed dramatically up a steep and long hill giving us great view all along the expressway through the whole city of 4 million people.  By the way, the traffic moved much more smoothly than in Istanbul. 

Şirince

Şirince Village View
Şirince View from Museum Parking Lot
Selçuk by contrast is a quiet town with 28,213 people compared to the alternative, the touristy town of Kuşadası. We decided to spend the afternoon in Şirince, 8 km away.  There is a clear sign for Şirince going east off the main boulevard, Ataturk Caddesi. Unfortunately we got lost again as there was no sign to turn left at Şht. Er Yüksel Özülkü Cd.  The road soon leaves the town and travels through green farmland.  
  
Şirince Houses
Follow the Grey Stone Road

Şirince is a 19th century Greek (until 1924) hill town famous for white buildings, olive oil, and fruit wine.  Many shops offer tasters and sell bottles of wine  as well as oils and other knick-knacks.  Many restaurants line the streets, especially around the museum area.  Its 600 inhabitants are totally overwhelmed by thousands of tourists. And so will you be. 
 
 
 
Ignoring the commercialism down the main road, I walked through the narrow paths in the village.  There were some quaint buildings and stone paths that were just made for photography.  Many of the restored buildings are now pensions or restaurants. 
 

Selçuk


Homeros Pension Bedroom
Homeros  Fairy Tale Bedroom or Craft Museum?
We stayed at Homeros Pension, which has an excellent location a two blocks north along the museum road behind the tourist office, then one and a half blocks NW.  The manager/chef was very friendly and we had a long chat on the roof-top terrace when we arrived. 
  
The building with the dining room is a cozy Ottoman house.   Every room was crammed full of classic furniture and crafts. 

Homeros Pension Dining Room with the Brits
Homeros Pension Dining Room with the Brits
We ate our suppers at Homeros: There were some very good home-made dishes.  But the best part was that this was a great time to meet and talk with other people from Argentina to Australia.

As soon as we walked into the dining room, Bob from England (on the right side) said hello and introduced himself and everyone else to us. Bob is never at a loss of words and has lots of entertaining stories.  He is a regular visitor to Homeros and Turkey.  His daughter and Turkish in-laws live nearby. 

Shirley and Ken from Australia are on an eight-month Round-The-World (RTW) trip. They are experienced travellers. Shirley writes her personal impressions on her travels in a private blog.  Ken worked in cartography and land titles and at one point their family lived in Bangkok while he worked for the Thai government. 

It felt like we were on our RTW backpack trip. Interestingly, it was the older folks that were the friendliest.

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