Saturday, August 1, 2009

Efes or Ephesus for the world outside Turkey

Our overnight train ride from Ankara to Izmir/Basmane went well except for the lack of bunks that I'd expected. Yep, we got tickets on the train that didn't provide sleeping bunks. So, I didn't sleep much as one of the kids slept in my lap. But they enjoyed the dining car. And slept well. I got to see how many people just visited and carried on all through the night. I don't imagine that any train conductor was going to wake them at their stop, so practically speaking, they stayed up to catch their stop when we arrived upon it.

The trip to Selcuk went much better. We transferred well right from the long ride to the short hop of a train down to the Aegean Sea coast. We were found by Mehmet who talked me into staying the night in Selcuk at a very comfy pensiyon run by an Australian dude, who gave me quite a good price. Mehmet's brother, Alibaba, proceeded to drive us to Efes for the tour of the ancient city. He dropped us at the top end of the hill and we spent 2.5 hours reviewing with the kids what was taught during history over the past year.

They did well to remember many things about the Romans and things from the Bible. It was overwhelming to see things that I'd not seen on my trip through here during 1997. We saw the library and discussed what kinds of books were there; we discussed earthquakes and building materials; we saw mosaics and discussed the time and detail as well as cultural significance of that work. The amphitheatre was awesome and left my kids amazed that they could hear me whisper from the stage as they stood as high up in the rows as possible without a microphone. Mehmet picked us up from the bottom side of Efes and took us to a beach nearby called Pamucak and it was on the Aegean. This was the first time my kids had played in the sea water. It was my first visit to the Aegean Sea (I'd only visited the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara before when in Turkey).
G#1 said that he enjoyed making the castle on the sandy beach with his brother, but not the salty sea water of the Aegean. G#3 said that he enjoyed seeing a sarcophagus at Efes and the library there, but didn't enjoy climbing "1000 step up to 100 feet in the amphitheater" where he could see for miles. "Dad was an ant, no kidding Mom." A direct quote. When he got to the beach he also enjoyed the castle building and the water, but not the floaty things in the water. (the beach was made up of gorgeous sand and there had been a storm before to bring up many green weeds). G#2 was overjoyed to be feeling better because we found the Turkish equivalent to Ritz crackers that stayed in her stomach and filled her up. She got messy in the sand and definitely, she assures me, enjoyed Efes. All enjoyed seeing snails on the rocks outside Saint John's castle in Selcuk.

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