The next morning dawned… we were up even before the sun rose. Taking the tram to Zeytinburnu and then transferring to the metro, we finally reached the station for the airport. Little did we know that the walk to the domestic terminal was way tooo long, especially at this early hour- something we are just not used to. Under normal circumstances we would’ve just taken a cab from the hotel and headed tot he airport Why we decided to take the tram- is something I have no answer to!
I have always been curious about the Bible (it’s a shame- I still haven’t read it entirely-but I know my life depends on it!) and when we decided to make a short trip to Turkey, I just had to see Ephesus. On researching online, I found day trips to Ephesus- which were common and expensive! Having decided to do it on my own, I booked domestic air tickets via Turkish, booked a car for the day at Izmir, and we were off! The trip finally cost me half of what travel agents were quoting- really! with all my trips, I’m so good at it, I should decide to venture into this line of work- especially since I love traveling so much!
The domestic airport at Istanbul was crowded, with a few counters closed as they weren’t functioning due to obvious technical glitches. We finally managed to secure our boarding passes for both journeys and settled in to have breakfast and wait for our flight!
The restaurant made us want to just sit and people watch!
But of course, our names were announced over the intercom as we were nowhere to be seen, and we hurried into the bus to board the plane.
Istanbul from the sky!
Flying over wonderful landscapes and rugged mountains, we landed in Izmir some 45 minutes later.
Getting out and finding Avis was a breeze- but finding the car and the area where rented cars lay waiting for drivers was not! Oh and did I forget to mention- the GPS refused to work in English! Finally after a number of tries and going back to Avis, did it decide that we were not going to let go and voila- we could suddenly read and understand!
We had quite an adventure driving to Selcuk and Ephesus, wherein the GPS decided for us- that we avoid the toll, and drive through narrow winding time consuming roads.
We drove past open fields, old villages, and hills, and would definitely have enjoyed it more, had we known where we were going!
On reaching Selcuk, we first visited the basilica of St John- which is supposedly the burial site of John the apostle.
It is now in ruins, however you do end up paying a small fee of 5 TL each, to go visit it.
Beware of men trying to sell fake coins at the entrance- was very irritating!
It is believed that the Apostle John traveled from Jerusalem to the city of Ephesus where he remained for the rest of his life. It was during his time there that Emperor Domitian exiled him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Revelation (We visited Patmos a few years back, and maybe I should write about it- who said that I should only stick to writing about current visits). John later returned to Ephesus, where he lived the remainder of his days.
St. John’s Tomb (above), in the distance (below)
We then headed to the temple of Artemis (a few minutes by car- maybe a 10 minute walk) or commonly known as the Temple of Diana, and what a disappointment it was.
I had read up on it, and they apparently had gross orgies here in the old days.. All I saw was barren land with a dirty stream flowing past, and a few pillars.
Wiki it if you please, it’s not really worth writing about, but has history behind it, until it was destroyed in 401.
Having had enough, we headed for Ephesus. The main road just outside the Artemis Temple was lovely. Lion headed pillars stood on the left of the road…
On reaching the parking at Ephesus,we realised that it would make more sense to go visit the Virgin Mary’s House first and then Ephesus. Brilliant decision… We passed a grand huge statue of the Virgin Mary on our way to her house- It is located on a long winding road and people were making photo stops here.
The shrine/house, is the house that she was last known to live in. You pay a fee to visit and to park.
The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano after her death. The Roman Catholic Church has never pronounced on the authenticity of the house, for lack of acceptable evidence. It has, however, from the blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pope Leo XIII in 1896, taken a positive attitude towards the site and towards Emmerich’s visions.Anne Catherine Emmerich was Beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004.
The house is now a chapel and you are not allowed to click pictures. It is pretty serene and you can light candles outside. Take the stairs in the grounds, and you reach a wall of peoples wishes, hopes, and prayers tucked inside layers of fabric, papers, strings, scarves, etc. Not something I would care about.
The shops selling memorabilia were expensive, with cheapest rosaries at 10 euros apiece- and not great quality either.
A cup of tea and some sandwiches later, we headed to Ephesus, where we spent a good couple of hours . Ephesus deserves a photo post all by itself, which I will put up soon.
We of course headed to the airport after that, and had to wait for a good 2-3 hours before taking our flight back to Istanbul at 8 pm. Taking the same route, we reached the hotel- tired but oh so satisfied. This is one of the few day trips that has left me feeling fulfilled and at peace! And oh did I forget to mention I must’ve changed from flip flops to shoes at least thrice:p
[This post took ages to put up! Writing was the easy part.. the pictures were not.. Maybe I should stop compressing pics.. Anyway I ask you to please go tell a friend, share this post, make me feel better about the time and effort… which is way more satisfying than drafting an agreement and getting paid for it!!]