Monday, October 4, 2010

Selcuk - Stepping into Turkey on our own

Posted by Melissa

Our cruise aboard the Star Clipper came to a close. We had such fun with the gang, it was hard to say goodbye - but lucky us, we had plans for a BIG trip and it was time to venture out on our own.

Instead of negotiating the Greek Ferry system and the Turkish Ferry system, we were able to book passage aboard the Star Clipper for the first two days of their next cruise.  A pretty luxurious ferry to get from Athens to back to Kusadasi, Turkey!

We checked out this caravanserai  in Kusadasi before hoping on a dolmuş (small local bus/van) to Selcuk.

Our first stop in Turkey was Selcuk. We chose this town in part due to the rave reviews for Jimmy's Place on TripAdvisor.com. We were a bit nervous about traveling to Turkey, few of our friends had been here, and we hadn't heard too much about the area (although our research told us that the Turkish people are amazingly hospitable and friendly). Jimmy's place has a very good reputation for helping travelers AND they speak English - a good combo for our first week. Our slow travel speed (about a week in each location) also helps to get to know local people and culture. It is so much easier to make connections when staying for seven days instead of two!

We chose to splurge a bit (easing our way into our Turkey travels) for a large room with a balcony overlooking the mosque as well as the castle up on the hill.

We soon realized that we had a front row seat for the call to prayer - the five times daily call, via loudspeaker, where the Muezzin calls the faithful to pray at the Mosque. We also found an unexpected added acoustic bonus - a daily morning drummer .  This guy walks the streets VERY early in the morning, drumming away, to wake the faithful (and everyone else) so that they may eat before the daily fast begins.  What fast you ask - well, our visit coincided with the last week of Ramazan (Turks call it Ramazan while most of the rest of the world calls it Ramadan) and devout Muslims fast during daylight hours during the month of Ramazan. Amazingly, we got used to this after just a couple of days and managed to sleep through it.

Wondering through Selcuk we found these Roman Viaduct ruins

- with nesting storks on top of some of the sections


and a few pedestrian only streets with small shops and restaurants (although we discovered that pedestrian only appears to include motorcycles and motorscooters so watch your step!).

So much to see in Selcuk - too much for one blog post!  First up - The Basilica of St. John.
The walled perimeter of the Basilica with a Mosque in the background

I was surprised to find out that the Apostle, St. John (as in Mathew, Mark, Luke and John), was buried here. We learned that Jesus entrusted John with the care of his mother, Mary. After Jesus' death, John brought Mary to this area and they lived out there lives here. We toured Ephesus another day and saw Mary's house there - another blogpost. We enjoyed walking through the beautiful ruins which are located up a small hill from town.






The views of the surrounding countryside reminded us both of Italy.
Happy Melissa
Happy Thane
Next up - Ephesus - to be posted as our internet connections allow. Sometimes they are good, sometimes not so much...

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