Throughout our trip to Turkey, we’ve had trouble with activities not taking place due to lack of tourists. In Eğirdir, there was absolutely nothing happenning, in Göreme, pensions were close to empty, but at least all the different pensions work together so they can still offer the same activities. Similarly, in Olympos, we booked our cruise with one company, but they couldn’t get any other customer’s, so they put us on another company’s boat.
Well, we found them. They were hiding in Ephesus, unless they were Russian, in which case, they were hiding in Pammukale.
Yesterday, we went to Ephesus, supposed to be one of Turkey’s star attractions. We weren’t all that impressed. The crowds, we’d been prepared for, fearing we might run into the worst, like another couple we talked to who’d visited at the same time as a five thousand person Princess cruise. However, what we weren’t prepared for was just how generally unimpressive the site was. I suppose it was a Roman ruin of moderate size, but only two things stood out, one being the facade of the library, which, naturally, is what usually shows up on postcards of Ephesus, and the grand theatre, which wasn’t so much interesting as it was really big, with enough space to seat five Princess cruises. Part of our problem may be having seen it all before, since Roman ruins are generally of quite standardized forms, and Ephesus is getting back to part of the world where you can’t simply climb all over the ruins, even some main paths were blocked off, so you couldn’t even visit the ancient harbour.
As a result of our general disappointment in Ephesus, we debated heading straight to Greece, in the hopes of finding something a bit different there. We decided that we’d cut out Pergamum from our plans, as the book seems to indicate that it’s comparable to, though less crowded than, Ephesus. We also confirmed what we’d already decided in that we wouldn’t visit Troy, as many people say there’s not much to see there, aside from a “replica” Trojan horse, which we’ve seen pictures of, and looks a little bit too suspicious to have brought into town.
We did, however, decide to visit Pammukale, as the Travertine Pools are something unique, and we figured we’d feel like we’d missed something if we didn’t go. So this morning, we got on a day tour bus, and drove for three hours. The travertine pools themselves were definately unique and worth seeing, a series of small white pools stretching down part of a mountain, caused by calcium buildup from hot springs over the last fourteen thousand years. Unfortunately, Pammukale was also quite crowded, for some reason mainly with Russian tour groups. The upside was, though, that most of the people who travel in large groups behave much like sheep, and go down the walking path that goes through the middle of the pools. Only a small number, probably less than 20, were walking along the upper path, which we decided to take, which still offers good views of the pools. There’s also a unique swimming pool near the travertines, called, depending on who you ask, either Cleopatra’s Pool, of the Antique Swimming Pool. It’s basically just a hot spring, though it does have many pieces of Roman columns, or replicas thereof, in the water. With the crowds, though, it didn’t seem too attractive to actually go swimming, so we decided to skip on the 18 YTL swimming charge. Perhaps quite a long drive for what we actually saw, but at least now we won’t feel like we really missed something on our visit.
So, anyway, we’re heading off to Mytilini, on the Greek island of Lesvos tomorrow. Or trying to, anyway. We may have to spend the night in the Turkish port of Ayvalik, since there is some conflicting information, some of which suggests we may have to turn in our passports a day in advance to get on the ferry.
And our blog seems to have skipped over our sea kayaking trip out of Kaş. Sorry, we’ll have to correct that at some point.
Neil is far too kind to the tourists (yes, I know, we’re tourists too, but 2 people are far easier to blend into the woodwork than a bus, or several dozen, of 50). I wanted to title the post less demurely, but… well, I still try to be a lady sometimes. These weren’t just typical hordes of tourists, or perhaps because in places there wasn’t as much room as at the large sights, but we were pushed and shoved here and there, just about trod on by some very large and scary-looking persons, and it would seem that ‘excuse me’ is a term favoured mostly by Canadians – not a single person excused themselves. As we were entering the pool complex to have a look around, several buses arrived all at once, and it was literally a scene made for cartoons – dozens of people made a mad dash for the entry, and had we been cartoons, you would have seen us tumble round in the dust. But it was an experience!
Tags: Cairo to Budapest and Beyond, Turkey