Monday, 30 April 2012

26 and 27 April – Kocao Ba Yoru to Pamucak and Ephesus (Turkey)

Leaving early in the morning of 26th we headed for Pamucak and a campsite on the beach. On the way I noticed that many of the hotels had large water slides and there were a number of oil refineries about the bay. Almost every house and building had solar water heaters on the roofs and where there were blocks of flats where up to forty panels could be seen on the roof. There were many new houses and flats being built and of a number of stone quarries seen in the hills.
Typical view as we drove through the area
After a BBQ on the beach it was lights out at 2100 hours, a fairly normal bedtime for us now.

Our campsite at Pamucak
On the morning of 27th we were up very early (and with the tents covered in a very heavy dew) with somewhat bad grace as some felt that there was no need for us to be up early as we were only to go to Ephesus, a fifteen minute ride away. We had been told that it was better to be there early before the hordes of tourists arrived at about 1000 hours. This proved to be so correct as we were able to walk through the site before many tourists arrived so were able to take some fantastic photographs without hardly anyone in them at all. All in all it was a fantastic place and I really enjoyed looking around the site. We actually went in through the top gate, walked to the bottom gate taking as many photographs as possible before the masses arrived then were able to wander back and really have a look at the site.

Ephesus was first founded by the Amazons about 1040 BC and because of the Temple of Artemis became one of the Seven Wonders of the World in the 7th century BC. Alexander the Great ruled from 334  BC from when it was known as the Golden Age in the history of Ephesus. After the death of Alexander the city was annexed to the Roman Empire and became the capital of the province with a population of 200,000.

The Goths levelled the city to the ground in 262 AD when the Great Temple of Artemis was plundered. After this assault the city never regained its power or splendour.

Christianity arrived in Ephesus with the apostles St. John and St. Paul with the result that goddess Artemis was replaced by the Virgin Mary to whose name the first church in history was established in this land.

State Agora area for social, religious and political meetings.
The private Varius Baths
Odeion, Bouleuton, Concert Hall and Council Chamber.
The Prythaneion used for political debates, religious ceremonies and reception parties.
Curetes Street, paved in white marble.
From Curtes Street looking at the Celsus Library
The Celcus Library Temple of Hadrian
One of the statues at the Celcus library the four of which denotes virtue, knowledge, virtue and intelligence. The one shown is of  Sophia (virtue). 
The Celsus Library
Mosaics on the street outside the houses of the rich
The entrance to the Trajan Fountain
A sarcophagus
Unknown carving seen in a sealed area
The Temple of Hadrian
The Marble Road, the main route of Ephesus.
The Grand Theatre initially used for plays, musical performances and meetings then for gladiatorial and animal contests.
The performers entrance to the Grand Theatre
The Harbour Gymnasium
In  Harbour Street leading to the Harbour Gate
I am smiling!
The baptismal pool at the Church of the Virgin Mary 
The Church of the Virgin Mary
The rest of the day was spent relaxing and catching up on washing, oneself and clothes! A number of us stayed up late, (bed before midnight), just talking and having a drink. There was some talk of 100 shots in 100 minutes (beer only) and there were one or two the worse for wear the next morning. Although the days were very warm the evenings and nights were quite chilly, enough for us to wear coats to keep warm.

25 April – Gallipoli to Troy and Kocao Ba Yoru (Turkey)

We left Gallipoli early in the morning for the ferry to Canakkale and then onto the ruined City of Troy, the place of the wooden horse, myth or true no-one knows.

     The Wooden Horse of Troy         
Troy is a conglomeration of nine cities built between 3000BC and 500AD with the outer walls built with a slope at the bottom and vertical tops so as to make it difficult for the enemy to climb them. One’s imagination is required to see from what is left how the various cities would have been in the past. It is possible to imaging the fighting in-front of the walls on what would have been the battlefield of the Trojan War.

Mudbrick Wall

South gate on the main street

Water pots, water pipes and grinding stones

The Music Theatre

The battlefield of the Trojan War

The sign to the toilets

From Troy we travelled to Aocao Ba Yoru where we drove up a narrow track to the top of a hill to camp for the night. The area was intensively cultivated with miles of olive trees to be seen and all were irrigated by miles and miles of plastic pipe, even up in the mountains. The area where we stopped was where sheep were kept as when we were putting up our tents the sheep were being penned up for the night in the hill above us with the villagers watching everything that we were doing. The villagers gave us some eggs and offered fresh water.

The hill bush camp at Kocao Ba Yoru

24 April - Istanbul, and Istanbul to Gallipoli (Turkey)

We left the Orient Hostel in Istanbul early so as to be the first in the queue at the Iranian Embassy to apply for our visas. Before leaving the hostel the ladies dressed in their Iran clothes and the men made sure that they wore long trousers and long sleeves of any sort. No-one obviously checked the attire at the Embassy but there were video cameras in the waiting area. Our applications were put in with the British EU passport holders charged Euro 150, Canadians Euro 50, Australians Euro 70 and the Irish Euro 20. The cost was determined by the charges imposed on the Iranians by the respective countries for entry to those countries. The UK government is a rip-off artist! We arrived at 0830 hours and finished at 1100 hours and then went back to the truck and left for Gallipoli where some of us were to go to Anzac Bay for the Anzac Dawn Service. (This has already been described on a separate post).

Vicky, Jackie, Janet, Stephanie, Libby, Rebecca, Laura, Emily, Polly, Helen ready for the Iranian Embassy

Stopping off at the Boomerang Bar and Club those who were not going to the service put up their tents as the rest of us were taken as near to the bay as possible and picked up the following morning.

A Gentleman's Toilet in Istanbul

The Boomerang Bar in Gallipoli

Saturday, 28 April 2012

23 April – At Istanbul (Turkey)

Breakfast on it's way
Stephanie buying her breakfast

I went out with the girls again today with the intention of having a ride on the ferry across to Asia. It is easier than trying to walk across the bridge and for 60p each way a pleasant way to see the sights on both sides of the river. During the walk there with only four of the girls this time (Laura, Rebecca, Stephanie and Emily). They were called the Spice Girls in one place and in another were told that Stephanie looked like me and she was not amused. I was called ‘Santa’ a number of times! The girls were out to buy scarves and a dress for Rebecca and after they all spent one hour in one shop they came out without buying anything! We stopped for lunch at a small cafe that did not have a menu but had a list of five dishes written in Turkish on a card and all were 5 lire each (£1.70). Very good value for money and cooked freshly for us. The sun was getting strong by then and I had not taken a hat to wear so bought another one. As soon as I walked out of the shop, shades of Jane and Sally and in the same tone of voice, the first comment was not how the hat looked but ‘When you get on the ferry make sure you tie the hat under your chin so that it does not blow away’. I do get nagged by these girls!

Selling pickled vegetables

A knife grinder on the street

A spice shop at the Spice Market

Spices and turkish delight

All sorts of turkish delight
The ferry across the river

Suleymaniye Mosque from the river

Fresh fish for sale

A fantastic sweet shop with the owners family having made sweets for over one hundred years

We walked through the Spice Market where more sweets were sampled and bought but I bought a large bag of dried fruit which I shared round on the truck and still took a few days to be eaten.

The Turkish Army Band

The Turkish Army Band
A material shop

Street stall



The boy dressed up like a prince would have been leaving his party because the next day he would be circumcised. There were lots of the costumes in the shops and I asked what they were for after seeing the boy wearing one.   

In the evening I went for a walk to the square and looked at the Hippodrome Obelisk and the Laid Brick Column. While there three local women spoke to me, much to my surprise as I would never have expected a local woman to initiate a conversation and I would never initiate one with a woman as women are generally not allowed to talk to men here (certainly strange men). The women had one child each there, (one baby also), and asked if I would take a photograph of their children, which I was happy to do. Their understanding of English was not very good and my understanding of Turkish is non-existent.

The Laid Brick Column
The Hipprodrome (Egyptian) Obelisk

Young girls in the square