We arrived this morning in Istanbul. It's lunch time as I write this, so
we're getting to the big heat of the day. We've heard that there has been
a bit of a heatwave here for the last two days. Well, heatwave is a bit
of an exageration but it has been approaching 40C here. As a result,
we've been averaging two naps a day. I know that sounds slightly lazy but
it really is a neccessity.
The day before yesterday, we visited Ephesus (Efes in Turkish), which are
the ruins of a 3rd century BC Roman city. It's a huge site - almost 3 km
across, and it was hot, but so worth it. Many of the buildings' facades
are perfectly intact and the Marble Road is amazing to walk down. The
most stunning features though are the great Library (still mostly
standing) and the 2000-year-old frescos in some of the houses. It was an
amazing and humbling experience.
Afterwards, we went to a carpet store owned by Osman, who helps with the
Homeros Pension and gave us a ride to Efes. He gave us a great tutorial
on the different styles of carpets. Apparently, there are a lot of cheap
Chinese rugs which are being passed off as Turkish ones. Moreover, much
of the materials now are machine-spun and dyed, whereas before it was all
done by hand with traditional techniques passed down from one generation
to the next. Long story short, we bought a carpet! And boy, it is a
beauty. We had a great feeling about Osman and we can't wait to get our
carpet (it's being shipped) when we return.
Yesterday was not so great - it was actually particularly tough. We left
Sel?uk at 10:48 but forgot to confirm that the four hour train ride to
Denizli was air conditioned. It was not. We baked in the train. We
thought there would be a good breeze once the train got going but this too
failed to materialize. Very unpleasant. We went into Denizli to find an
air conditioned restaurant where we could cool down, but didn't find one.
After looking tired an confused on the street, a cafe owner steered us
inside and simply handed us two sandwiches and some tea. Then we found an
air conditioned store that sat us down and gave us soda water. Further
proof that the people here are truly generous and kind.
After stumbling around Denizli for a while, it was back on the very nice,
first-class overnight train to Istanbul. The ride was about 14 hours. It
started off a bit too hot but quickly cooled down thanks to blessed air
conditioning. We ate a delicious dinner in the dining car and watched the
countryside roll by as the sun set.
We arrived here at 8:30 this morning and, after a peaceful ferry ride and
a hectic walk, found our hotel. It's not as friendly as Homeros, but it
does have a great view of the sea and several beautiful Mosques. (And, of
course, it has air conditioning.;-)
O.K., it's back to Museum hopping. Sarah has scoped out the air
conditioned ones for the afternoons.
Ben and Sarah