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Brad’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 12 May 2005

Location: Selçuk, Turkey

MapIt`s been a little whie since my last entry so there is a fair bit that has happened on the road since departing Çanakkale.

I almost had a major disaster on the way to Assos! To get to Assos from Çanakkale you need to go via Ayvacık. When I changed busses, I put my pack in the bus and was told it would leave for Assos in one hour. I went to have a look at some busy local markets and came back in 45 minutes to find the bus GONE! I waited another hald hour to see if it would come back but it didn`t, so after some panicked gabbled Turkish and a few phone calls, they told me the driver would leave my pack in the teahouse at Assos. I jumped on the next bus, managed to find the teahouse but...still no bag! I asked around and they said the bus would be back in half an hour to drop my bag in. Well, after nearly an hours wait the bus lumbered up the hill and I was presented to my great relief with my precious pack. I am now being very careful about getting people to write down bus departure times!

Assos was nice, its a very small place with the remains of a Roman citidel and temple on the top of the hill, and a quaint little habour at the bottom.

The next stop was Ayvalık, a really picturesqe little seaside town. On my way from the bus station to the centre of town. I stopped outside this factory and asked this guy for directions. He invited me to have some tea with him, then next thing I know his workmate brings out a bottle of local wine and starts offering ıt to me! How could I refuse, especially considering the rate he was drinking it at-it`s been a while since I`ve seen anyone shot wine (goon notwithstanding). We talked over the wine for a while, then they found out that I also consume the odd beer. So, off to corner shop for some bottles of cold Efes. By the time I said goodbye and thanked them for their unexpected offerings, I wasn`t in much of a state to go looking for my guesthouse in the back streets of Ayvalık! But find it I did, and it was a really lovely place with a cosy room and excellent views.

Instead of staying in Ayvalık one night and then moving on to Burgama I decided to make a day trip of it instead, so the next day I made to two hour trip out there to see the remains of a huge Greek/Roman city - Pergamum. It was really spectaular, particularly the reconstructed gleaming white temple and really steep ampitheatre. I spent most of my time on the other side of the city. At the temple there were busses of tourists coming and going and never really staying for long, but on the other side of the hill there were amazing unreconstructed ruins that I basiclly had to myself (shared only with a few cows and a snake). I spent hours wandering around there, it was really amazing and quite eerie at times. Before heading back to Ayvalık I also went to see the Red Basillica of Pergamum. Not hugely spectalular but very interesting as it is listed in the bible by John as being of the seven churches of the Apocolypse, and the seat of Satan! Aparrently they used to worship Isis there, so it is quite the curiosity.

May 9 - MY BIRTHDAY!!! Thanks to all those who sent me birthday wishes, it is much appreciated and help make me feel as if there some significance to the day. Being in Ayvalık there wasn`t really anything amazing I could do to celebrate so I grabbed a bike a pedaled out to an abandoned Greek monastry out on one of the islands in the bay. Unfortunatly it didn`t look nearly as long on the map as it was, so it took me several hours to get there and back, and I was totally exausted by the time I got back. Always take water with you kids. It was nice out there though, I went for my first Turkish swim which was lovely. I spent the evening watching the sunset and then buying rather expensive imorted red wine and blue cheese among other things, and then getting sozzelled on the terrace with a friendly Canadian and Dutchman. Birthdays are really things that should be shared with family and friends, so I couldn`t help feel a little lonely at times, but all in all it was quite a nice day, considering where I was and what I did.

Yesterday I jumped on the next bus out of Ayvalık to Selçuk, the site of the famous Ephesus (of Ephesians fame), one of the best open air museums in the world. Although I`ve been seing a lot of ruins lately, I think that these are going to be by far the most impressive. The place I`m staying at is run by an ecentric Greek lady who insists I call her 'sister'. It`s quite weird, although I think that was partly induced by my combination of being pretty hungover and still recoving from the massive dehydration of the previous day.

Today I`m cycling out to the local beach (only 7ks or so I`m told) and mabye checking out the local museum. Tomorrow - Ephesus!