Journey Through Turkey: Part 5

Tuesday 5-18-12

And the rains were coming…….

Weather predictions were poor for the next 2 days: time to move on. Penny made reservations for us at the Hal-Tur Hotel in Pamukkale. We had a lovely room facing the salt terraces. What with rain and being mid-week, the hotel was not crowded. We also had a bathtub, and used it! We appreciated the excellent food, wine and fireplace in their restaurant.

Wednesday 5-19-12

The terraces were wet with drizzle so we decided to bypass a walk. Our concierge reserved for us 2 days at Hotel Kalshan in Selcuk. And we were off for Aphrodite or Aphrodisias as she is called here. This was one of the earliest occupied sites in Anatolia. The Assyrian goddess of love and war, Min, became syncretized with the Semitic Ishtar, whose attributes were eventually assumed by the Hellenic Aphrodite. The Greeks and the Romans did a wonderful job with most of the structures that we see today. We had to leave our car in a General Park and take trams to and fro.  We were packed on with a 7th grade field trip. The kids giggled at us, said “hello” and “from?” and took Mike’s picture. He has white hair and a mustache and his hat fascinated them. Delightful.

The Aphrodite site was exquisite. We walked up a hill to the top of the amphitheater; looked over the Agora, remains of the baths and further away to other structures and the Temple to Aphrodite. Back to Selculk. Stopped for lunch at a wonderful French restaurant. . . after first trying a nearby cafe that was “men only” (local Turks).

The next two nights were at the Hotel Kalsham in Selcuk. A bit shabby but most of the rooms opened out to a lovely courtyard with a pool. . .ice cold. We still had time to see nearby Ephesus. The concierge suggested we park in the lower lot, take a cab to the top and walk the sites down to the bottom. Excellent! As we started our tour, all the busses lined up to take their passengers back to the ships. No crowds and the temperature cooling. Of all the wonderful structures, I was most impressed by the communal toilets. There were about 20 in a semi-circle, just holes in a bench, but with room on either side for coffee or a newspaper. Marvelous engineering, the hillside stream ran underneath and washed the effluent out to the bay. Standing in front of the magnificent library, one could easily see how much the shore had receded  since the 1st century. Our last stop before the parking lot was the amphitheater. Several musicians were playing. The only thing missing was a glass of wine.

Thursday 5-20-12

After breakfast we are off on a day-trip to Priene. This site was resettled during the Hellenistic period around the 3rd century B.C. Settled first by Athenians (11th century B.C.) followed by Romans then Byzantine. The city enjoyed little patronage from the emperors, with the result that represents the best preserved Hellenistic townscape in Ionia without any of the usual later additions. A long walk—about but not as heavily toured as Ephesus.

Back to our hotel for lunch where we found many “boat people” eating in our restaurant. Later we walked the New Town but found the Old Town much more interesting. I looked for a beauty shop, passing over 20 barber shops, and found only one. It only took 25 minutes for a shampoo and comb-out because 3 women worked on me. (Only one other customer who spoke some English and helped to interpret.) The beauticians wanted to give me the “big bush look” but I used their small brushes and dryer to show what I wanted. They did it and the result was wonderful. I left a big tip because they listened to me.

We returned to Old Town and Old House restaurant, eating in their courtyard. Our waiter, a Kurd, spoke fluent English, and told us how his father’s family all worked hard to develop this restaurant and make it a success. He said most of the Turkish wives worked while many of their husbands sat in cafes drinking coffee. He felt to be successful the family must work together. Our meal was excellent.


About carolinebotwin

Caroline Botwin and her husband Mike are retired educators who have always had a yen for travelling: he with a PH.D and teaching Architectural Engineering plus California wine education, and she having taught high school English, speech and drama. Both wanted to learn first hand about other cultures. While Mike predominately studied buildings and structures and met with winemakers, Caroline hunted for ancient sites and peoples. And kept journals of all their travels.
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