An afternoon in Ohrid

Thursday, April 1, 2010


After our magical 24 hours in Cappadocia, we boarded the plane for Izmeer and Kushadasi. We were taken to the wrong part of the airport when we landed in Izmeer, and by the time we made it back to the domestic side and our bags, we'd almost missed our driver. But thank heavens that the travel agent who coordinated our Kushadasi stay told him to wait - it was a 75 km drive from the airport to our hotel. The countryside was beautiful and lush and as different from Cappadocia as could be. Kushadasi is a resort town on the coast of the Aegean Sea, and to get there we drove through a valley, a coastal range, and along the sea. It was gray, cloudy and cool - where was our vacation weather? The driver pulled up to a huge resort hotel overlooking a small private cove - gorgeous, but it was definitely off season. Two busloads of Germans were staying there that night along with us. In season it must be something - something we wouldn't be able to afford as well - with 6 different swimming pools, a private beach, boats to rent, a hammam, volleyball, tennis, whatever your heart desired. Only the indoor swimming pool was open for us. But that was fine - the room was spacious and comfortable, breakfast and dinner were provided, and we didn't want to spend our time in the hotel anyway. The travel agent was there to welcome us - she was very sweet and suggested that while there were really no tours happening we might want to take the ferry over to Samos one day and the public bus up to Selchuk, the taxi to Ephesus, and the the bus again up to the small mountain village of Sirince where there were 3 wineries. We got up early the next day tried to find our way to the ferry. Unfortunately, it didn't start running until April 1, so we went to plan B. We found the bus station and caught the combi - a large van that holds maybe 16 people - to Selchuk. It stopped at Ephesus, ruins of a very important city in Greek and Roman times. It was here that St. Peter brought Mary after Jesus entrusted her care to him, and it was here she lived out her life. St. Paul wrote his famous letters here - it was the Asian capital of the Empire. We met a taxi driver who took us to the top of the mountain where it is believed that Mary lived, and we left messages for her intercession for all of you. The driver then took us back to Ephesus to meander through the uncovered ruins. One of the 7 wonders of the world is here - the library of Celsius, pictured above. It was amazing and I could have wandered through the city forever, imagining what it was like to live there centuries ago. It was a modern city - the Romans had central heating and plumbing. But we had other adventures ahead.

The driver met us at the end and took us up to Selchuk where we had the most amazing meal - it's pictured above. The food in Turkey is fabulous. We then found the bus station by walking around the city and asking "Autobus, Sirence?" The last person we asked took us to a man and told him to walk us to the bus - which he did. The people were so wonderful and helpful, and seemed delighted to have a couple of crazy tourists taking the local transportation. Macedonia has prepared us well. We went up a narrow mountain road to Sirence. The views were breathtaking and the mountain sides were covered with olive trees. Sirence has definitely figured out mountain tourism. The entire town has been transformed into a bazaar, and with the wineries there you walk along the street and everyone is offering you free tastes of wine. A lot of the wines are fruit wines, sweet and not to my taste, but it was a ball. I bought some gloves and socks from the old woman above. It was great fun walking through the town talking to the locals up to the old Church being restored by the American Friends of Ephesus at the top of the town. We caught the last combi back to Selchuk, and then the next one to Kushadasi, which dropped us off right at our hotel. It was a wonderful day!

Our last day in Turkey was gorgeous - warm, blue sky, beautiful. The sea was a deep, sparkling blue with lots of little fishing boats out. Kushadasi is a cruise boat stop, so there is an area that has been built just for cruise tourism. We stopped there and had coffee outside on the dock at a Starbucks and explored Kushadasi. We had lunch by the sea at a fish restaurant, walked to Pigeon Island, took a combi out to Ladies Beach, and walked around town. It was a low key day, and a nice end to our fabulous trip, and trip that had just the right balance of adventure, excitement, relaxation, and beauty. I have a whole new appreciation of the country, the people, and traveling!

1 comment:

  1. Just sounds so wonderful. Lucky girl , you would have never used all those swimming pools anyway. b