Lycia Tour Diary – Ephesus, Isabey Mosque, St John’s Basilica, Sirince and a Sad Wonder.

Lycia Tour – Day 3

Cereal and toast and plenty of tea today for breakfast then a short drive to Ephesus, where we were to spend three hours seeing almost everything there was to see.  I’d been looking forward to this trip more than anything else, having visited it many years before with a long-past, ex-boyfriend.  Unfortunately in the break-up he got custody of the holiday pictures and I’d had to make do with the hazy memories.  Near enough 16 years on and parts had changed dramatically, other parts not so much.  I had a flash of memory on seeing the likeness of Nike and experienced the same sense of awe as I sighted the Library of Celsus.  It was as impressive as I’d remembered; the three story façade a marvel of Roman engineering

Amphitheatre - Ephesus
Amphitheatre – Ephesus
Nike - Ephesus
Nike – Ephesus
Fig Tree - Ephesus
Fig Tree – Ephesus
Walkway down to the Library of Celsus - Ephesus
Walkway down to the Library of Celsus – Ephesus

The day got gloriously warm which meant ditching the cardi and soaking up some sun while exploring the extensive site.  The only downside to being on a touring holiday was not having enough time to fully explore when we were given free time.  You’re constantly on the clock and aware of meeting times and the tight schedule you’re on.

Library of Celsus - Ephesus
Library of Celsus – Ephesus
Walkway - Ephesus
Walkway – Ephesus

On the way out was the usual gauntlet of souvenir stalls and their proprietors who go in for flattery as their sales technique of choice.  We did manage to do all our Turkish Delight gifts-for-friends shopping from one very friendly stall holder, he claimed to be Brad Pitt to my Angelina Jolie, and he threw in two bags of Turkish Saffron.  Two bags, the generosity!

Once safely back on the coach we were whisked off to the Isabey Mosque and then up the hill to St John’s Basilica.  The basilica is a huge site of a ruined church, which is believed to be the burial place of John the Apostle.  A super quick history lesson and then free-time to ramble about photographing and enjoying the stunning views and the heat of the day.  From there we headed off to lunch – salad and oranges for me – and then off to Sirince.

St John's Basilica - Ephesus
St John’s Basilica – Ephesus

Sirince used to be a Greek town until they were turfed out and now much of it is a tourist trap with a bazaar and many little restaurants.  We strolled the bazaar and collected a couple more souvenirs before stopping off for some apple tea at a little terrace café.  We were joined by another couple from our tour group and spent a lovely hour chatting and enjoying the sun.

One last stop, on the way back to the hotel, at the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Now it’s little more than a ruin, not even a heritage site, just a big pillar and bits of wall and a couple of tombs.  It’s sad to see how little of it is left, while St John’s Basilica sits up on the hill overlooking it, mocking the temple with its partially restored walls.

Temple of Artemis - Ephesus
Temple of Artemis – Ephesus

Back at the hotel we enjoyed the last of the sun from our balcony, before getting ready for dinner.  Again there was an extensive hot and cold buffet, this time I went for what looked to be a variation of Imam Bayildi, meat kebabs, fish, turkey in a creamy sauce and lots of salad.  While surveying the puddings a woman with no teeth recommended the chocolate pudding, on the grounds that she had been at the hotel three days and had gone back each night specifically for chocolate pudding.  Being as I’d had a really light lunch I added chocolate pudding to my selection.  It was indeed good.

View from the hotel balcony
View from the hotel balcony

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