After a pleasant flight to Izmir and a few failed attempts to exit the airport in our rental car we finally got onto the freeway. It took a little while to get use to the Turkish road signs but the roads are very good.

Before the the end of the trip we had driven about 1,400 miles within Turkey. The toll roads are excellent and inexpensive. The gas isn’t! If I did my math correctly I think we paid about $8.00 per gallon on the trip.


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We arrived in Selçuk in the early afternoon and checked into Jimmy’s Place.(a.k.a. Artemis Guest House) Jimmy was there to greet us and show us the available rooms.

Car rental stituation
After a pleasant flight to Izmir we were surprised when found that despite having a car reserved with Budget Rental Car they don’t have an office at the airport. Even more surprising Budget subcontracted our reservation to another company (April Car Rental) without even letting us know. April Car Rental sent 3 representatives to pick us up and none of them could speak much English which made it difficult to understand what had happened and why they were there rather than Budget. Then they tried to up the cost of our car insurance and other options by $150 (even though it was clearly on my Budget agreement). Finally they backed off but when we got our VISA bill we found that they still over-charged us $40. I sent Budget a detailed description of the situation but never got a reply.

The hotel has very nice rooms and a friendly helpful staff. We enjoyed our stay at Jimmy’s Place and we even purchased a kilim (rug) at his no hassle shop.

Selçuk was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. The people are very laid back and pleasant. We often saw men playing backgammon on the street and storks nesting on the old Roman aqueduct. From town you can easily see the fortress on the hill that overlooks the St John’s Basilica.

After getting settled into our new digs we decided to drive to the Virgin Mary’s House. No one claims that this is the Virgin Mary’s “house” but there is good evidence (with some holes) that this monument is built on the foundation of what is believed to have been the home where Mary lived after she and John traveled to Ephesus together. There isn’t enough clear evidence to say with 100% certainty that this “is the place” but at least two popes felt there was enough reason to visit the monument and perform services here. No matter what Patti and I both felt a very powerful spiritual presence and were moved to tears.
  Nearby is the remains of an old water well and what appears to have been a small settlement. There is a prayer wall where people write wishes and prayers on whatever they have at hand and then tie them onto the wall. Beside that is a faucet with Holy drinking water. I’m not even Catholic but I drank some just the same. The most surprising thing made me laugh out loud. It was a restroom with a view. Us guys could stand there doing our thing and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

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  As we dropped off the hill heading back towards town we could see Ephesus just a short distance away and Selçuk beyond that.
  Ephesus is amazing! This place exudes HISTORY. It was an important city 5,000 years ago and some historians claim that the foundation for the city was beginning to be formed 10,000 years ago. In its day the Arcadian Way leading into the Large Theater was about 1/2 kilometer long and would have been lined with tall pillars and statues on even taller columns. The theater seated about 25,000 spectators.
  I feel rather inadequate in even attempting to write about Ephesus. There are just so many magnificent things to see spread out among the vast area that makes up this historical sight. So I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

Well, except for one thing – the ancient public restroom (no I don’t have a restroom fetish). This old restroom would have seated about 50 people in a U shaped area and it probably had a fountain in the center to help muffle the sound and keep the air clean.

Overall the remains of Ephesus are about 2 kilometers long and must have been unbelievably beautiful in its heyday.


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  The Ephesus Museum is located a couple kilometers away in Selçuk. It’s not a large museum but has some great marble sculptures that are from Ephesus and other regional historic sites. It is definitely worth seeing.

St John Basilica - It is believed that St. John had spent his last years in the region around Ephesus is buried above the town of Selçuk marked by a small chapel which was later replaced by a marvelous basilica in the mid 500s. The huge basilica was in the shape of a cross and was covered with six domes. It was seriously damaged in the 14th century by an earthquake.


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  One morning we took a very short drive to the coast so that Patti could wade in the Aegean Sea before we continued on to Didyma.
  Didyma is where the sanctuary containing the Temple of Apollo is located. This ancient Greek site must have been jaw dropping in its day (although it was never completed) and it is still astounding today.

  Its columns are massive! I just stood there stunned by the fact that they could build, transport, and raise such massive pieces so many years ago. A giant Medusa head is thought to have been located above the main entrance of the temple.

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The Dilek Peninsula National Park afforded us some great views of the Greek islands just off shore and some fun glimpses of wild boar and other wildlife.
Unfortunately this turtle was the only critter we were able to get on camera before carrying him safely to the other side of the road.
  Fethiye was a nice town. If the weather had been better it probably would have been remembered as a great town. We stayed at the Yacht Hotel which was conveniently located and offered a somewhat blocked view of the harbor.

There is a small historical amphitheater in the center of town, some Lycian tombs on the hillside, and a ship building dry dock at the far side of town. It was very interesting to drive through this area since the road actually runs right underneath the bow of one of the ships being worked on.

  While in Fethiye we bumped into Lynn and Sally a couple from Australia that we had met in Selçuk.
  We did a one day sail out of Fethiye that was suppose to be a 12 island cruise but because of the poor weather it was shortened. It would have been more fun in the sunshine but it was still a good time. Along the way we stopped at a beach for a homemade fried tortilla-like pastry that filled with a fruit of your choice.
  We could almost make out some underwater ruins but the rain disturbed the water making it difficult to see. On a sunny day this would have been a great.

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  Kas now this is a great town! It is just large enough to have a good selection of restaurants and shops but still small enough to be picturesque and comfortable.
  Near the edge of town was a 2,100 year old amphitheater that seated
  about 4,000 people as well as a dry dock ship repair facility.
  We stayed at the Nur Hotel for $45 per night including breakfast. Our room was fabulous. It had a huge picture window that overlooked the pool and the Mediterranean Sea. AND the window slid open giving us the feel of a balcony as we sat in our chairs in the room.
  Most of the hotels were nearly empty in late April but they were busily painting and cleaning getting ready for the big vacation season to begin. While we were there Patti and I each swam in the Mediterranean. It was a bit chilly this early in the season.
  The city held a “Children’s Day” celebration at the new ship dock that featured a homemade kite flying contest, traditional dances in costume, and a wonderful buffet of homemade goodies.
  After leaving Kas we continued on the highway along the Mediterranean coast that occasionally headed inland and then popped back out to the coast.

  The road between Antalya and Alanya must have been beautiful years ago but today it is nothing but a continuous string of hotels butted up against each other on one side of the road and a beach blanketed by mile after mile of beach chairs. Yikes this is not the place for us.
  Turkey has some great roads. We found the driving to be quite easy. Throughout Turkey we also saw miles of huge green houses filled with tomatoes and other produce including banana trees.
  We spent the night in Anamur which is an okay coastal town but its best features are two nearby castles one on the water and the other IN the water.
  We explored the castle on the water the next morning and found it to be a real hoot. It was one of the better castles we’ve seen anywhere and we had it all to ourselves. It was empty.


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  After we left the castle we continued on the coastal road. This was a great drive with beautiful scenery high snow capped peaks and pine forested mountains and a coastline that reminded us of Big Sur, California.

Some places the road twisted and turned so much that I almost felt like I was on amusement park ride. We headed inland near Tarsus (which is where the Apostle Paul is from) and traveled through some impressive mountains that would have been breathtaking if the weather had been better.

Finally we leveled out onto a high plateau and spent the night in Nigde. This ended our travels on the coast as we began the exploration of the Cappidocia region. NEXT PAGE >>>

I called this our "Turkish moon."


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This page was last modified: December 15, 2006