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These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 37
Ephesus
My illness, whatever it was, got really bad the evening we returned from visiting the three ancient cities of Priene, Miletos and Didym. I was running a fever, and at times was shaking. My stomach hurt so bad I didn't want to move. I don't know if I've ever been that sick, but if I have, its been so long ago I don't remember. Maybe when I was a kid and had the measles or the mumps or something. I was in bad shape. I don't think I need to tell you I didn't eat dinner that night. When Joanne came back from dinner, the hotel owners sent some toast up with her. They saw her go to dinner alone and asked how I was doing. Like I said, they were very nice and did everything to try and make our stay there as pleasant as possible. I suffered through the night, not sleeping, up and in the bathroom every ten minutes, doubled over in pain. I don't think Jo slept that much either, just because of me. The next morning, our second day in Selçuk, we had planned on walking across the street to St Johns Basilica and then on to the Temple of Artemis and Ephesus. By the time morning arrived, Joanne was convinced I should just stay home in bed. Sorry, but that wasn't going to happen. I came all this way and will probably never be here again. I am not going to not see these things! As Joanne went down to breakfast, I stayed in bed, preparing my mind for what I knew was going to be a difficult day, trying to walk around while I'm this sick. I was determined not to let being sick ruin the day or the trip.

When Jo was done with breakfast she made one last attempt at trying to convince me to abandon our plans and just stay home. Didn't happen, I got dressed and we walked across the street to St Johns Basilica. This place was originally built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Not as old as most of everything else we've seen or will see, but this is an incredible sight. According to legend, the apostle John, author of the 4th Gospel and the book of Revelation, spent his last years in Ephesus and died there. He was buried on this hill outside of town. It was then and still is an important site to Christians, so in the 4th century, the memorial that was here was enclosed by a church. Justinian then built the magnificent cathedral the we see the ruins of today. If this place was still intact, it would be the 7th largest church in the world, even today.
Me sitting in the baptismal
Me standing next to an engraving
From behind the tomb towards the entrance
The tomb of St John
To see more photos of our visit to St Johns Basilica, please see our gallery here.
The Temple of Artemis and Ephesus were the other direction from the hotel, so since it was on the way, we stopped back at the room so I could rest. Jo kept saying we didn't have to do this, but like I said, there was no way that years later I say that I didn't see Ephesus because I was sick that day. Worse yet, having Joanne say she didn't see Ephesus because I was sick that day. A little rest and some more mind games with myself and I'll be alright.
We walk to the Temple site, me having to stop every so often. There really isn't much to see there, one column is all that's left. What was notable to me, was that the site is in a low spot and was very swampy. If it's summer and dry, you can walk around the low spot and tell how big the Temple was, as there are still bases to columns there and other evidence of its existence.
St Johns Basilica, the Fortress
and Isa Bey Mosque behind
The only thing left of the Temple of Artemis
To show some scale, this pic has people in it
To see more pictures of the Temple of Artemis, please visit our gallery here.
The two mile walk to Ephesus seemed like ten, if not a hundred. Normally, two miles is nothing for me, especially on a flat paved path or road. But I was suffering and kept having to stop. At one point Jo wanted to go back and get the car, but I figured by the time we walked back to the hotel, we could be at Ephesus, so I declined. Finally, we turn off the main road and start walking towards the site. I knew we were close. The road went straight for a bit, but then made a sharp right turn and headed up a slight incline. I stopped. "I don't know if I can make it" I said. As close as we were, as far as we had come and when I saw that slight incline I just about died. I sat there for a while (not sure how long, but I needed some time to convince myself I could do this) . I was sweating, my stomach hurt and I didn't really feel like moving. Not even to go back to the hotel. Somehow, (I'm sure it was that whole "I'm not going to miss this" thing) I manage to get to my feet and complete the walk to the gate. We're here! I did it! There was a small amount of relief. In the parking lot, I notice a bunch of buses and taxis. On the way to the gate, one of the taxi drivers comes up to us and explains that what we really want to do is enter at the other gate because Ephesus is located on the side of a hill. If we enter here, we will be walking up the hill, but if we enter at the other gate, we will be walking down the hill. Well, he didn't have to work very hard to convince me, there was no way I was going to be walking up hill the whole day! Hence all the buses.... the tours drop off their people at the upper gate and then the buses meet them down here. Same with all the taxis. They know that this is where everyone comes out, and that their cars (if they happened to drive) are at the other gate, and if they're like us and walked, they are tired of walking and want a ride back to where they're going. Which is what we did. When we were done, we took a taxi back to the hotel. So of course this taxi driver stands to make some money by telling us this, but really, I'm glad he told us, so we hop in his car. Now when this guy offered to take us up to the other gate, he told us that we could take a regular taxi, and pay what ever the charge is (or we could walk, of course) , or we could ride with him for free. The catch was, he would first take us to this school, were people (mostly women) learn to weave carpets. We be taken on a tour of the school and learn all about how carpets are made. Then of course, at the end of the tour, they are hoping we buy a carpet. That was fine with me, I was ready for some serious rest, especially if I was going to make the 2 mile walk it takes to see Ephesus. Really, the carpet school thing was pretty cool... we saw the whole process, from the silk cocoons they collect to start with, how they process them to get the silk and the different weaving processes depending on whether the weaver is using silk or wool. We really learned a lot and I actually enjoyed it. Yes, at the end they are selling you carpets. We had already bought two very small ones in Göreme, but I kind of felt (and yes, this is what they're hoping for) like what I had learned was worth something, so we bought another one. This one is quite a bit nicer and larger. They even shipped it home for us. I know, we're suckers, but I'll never be back again, so it's nice to have a nice carpet. It gave me a chance to rest up for the walk through the ruins.
Curetes Street, the first thing you see
Hercules Gate
Ephesus is really impressive. You could insert every known adjective here and it probably still wouldn't describe it accurately. We were so amazed and enthralled at the history, beauty, size and everything, that I had actually forgotten how bad I was feeling. It wasn't until the very end while walking to the Church of Mary that I started to really feel bad again. To be honest with you, I don't know how I did it and I'm sure I could have enjoyed it more had I not been sick, but in the end, I made it and it was way worth it!
Library of Celsus
The Theater in Ephesus
To see more pictures of our visit to Ephesus, please see our gallery here.
The Library of Celsus is probably the most famous of Ephesus' buildings and is what comes to mind when one thinks of Ephesus. The Theater is huge and could seat 25,000 people. From the top it offers quite the view and just like the one at Miletos, looks out over the harbor. The harbor is now miles away, but Ephesus was once a coastal city. I found the Hercules Gate to be interesting. Below the gate, towards the harbor, where all the common places are found (stoa, latrine, brothel, etc) the streets were wide enough for chariot traffic. The Hercules Gate was made narrow on purpose to stop chariots, so that the upper part of the city (where the agora was, and governmental functions took place) was free of chariot traffic, and was foot traffic only. I must mention, that although Joanne and I did not take a guided tour, we did rent the audio devices and found that the audio really added to the experience. I would highly recommend them.
All in all, our time here on the South Western coast had been very enjoyable and is well worth the trip. In fact if you come to Turkey and don't see Ephesus, you'll have to come back! Even though I had somehow made the walking tour of Ephesus, I was completely exhausted. As I mentioned earlier, we took a taxi back to the hotel and I laid down and tried to rest until the next day. I was supposed to drive us back to Izmir so we could catch our early afternoon flight to Istanbul. I hope I'm capable of driving, as Joanne has never driven a car with a manual transmission.
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