Friday we were up bright and early to catch our flight to Izmir. We were transported from there to Selcuk, where we hopped on a bus to see the sites. First stop was the Temple of Diana, which was one of the wonders of the ancient world. There's not much left of it now, but it's still very cool.
There wasn't much to see so we didn't stay very long, and in no time we were at Ephesus. If you're wondering, yes, Ephesus is the city referred to in the book of Ephesians. It was so cool to go to a place where Paul once was!
Ephesus is one of the largest ruins of an ancient city. Parts of it are recontructed, other parts are just ruins lying around. It was amazing, especially for a history nerd like me. We stopped to buy water and put on sunscreen (though not enough-I still got sunburned) and I broke down and bought some sunglasses since the day was super sunny.
We saw so much in Ephesus and took so many pictures I don't even know where to begin. I'll put all the pics from our trip on Facebook but I'll include some of my favorites here on the blog. As you walked through you could really see the layout of the ancient city-bath houses, library, marketplace, important buildings, normal houses. It was incredible.
While we were there a foreign dignitary and his entourage came through for a private tour. That was pretty cool-armed guards, secret service, and suited up important looking people-kinda cool! :)
My favorite parts were the reconstructed library and the amphitheater, which was where Paul preached. In the story the merchants selling idols got angry at him for preaching to so many people and tried to kill him, but luckily he escaped. It was amazing because we got to visit the Temple of Diana, who the idols for sale were probably for, we got to see the marketplace (very near to the amphitheater) where the merchants were, and then you got to stand in the actual amphitheater where he was. So cool!
We had the best time there. We stopped for lunch where Fionn and I met two teachers from California on spring break and shared a table with them, then continued on to the Virgin Mary's House, where some believe the Virgin Mary lived or possibly died.
We visited a leather factory where they tried to sell us leather jackets, but we declined. Then the tour was over, so Fionn and I found our hotel in Selcuk, grabbed some dinner, and called it a night.
Saturday we got on the bus to head to Pammukale, which means "Cotton Castle". It's this site with hot springs and white carbonite travertines. It was very pretty and unusual looking. On the same site are the ruins of the ancient city of Heropolis, so we got to visit both in one day. We split our time wandering along the white travertines (you have to be barefoot, to preserve the whiteness) and dipping our feet in the pools, and then climbing around the ruins. It was a really cool place, and big enough that Fionn and I were able to wander around by ourselves and get kind of lost in the ruins with no one around.
The weather threatened rain all day, but it stayed in the 70s and the big dark clouds didn't open until we were getting on the bus to go back home. So lucky!
Once back in Selcuk we caught a plane back to Istanbul, slept a few hours and caught another plane the next morning back to Munich. Now the house is a post-traveling wreck but we had a great time. I'm so happy I got to visit Turkey after wanting to for so long! The only thing is I wished we could have seen more around the Izmir region while we were there. The Greek islands were so close and I've heard great things about the Turkish coast too. Oh well, that just means we have to plan a trip back, right? :)
All in all, super fun trip. Most of the people we met were really friendly, the food was good, prices were reasonable, and we're already wondering where we can find that white cheese and apple tea here in Germany. :)