Marmaris – Rhodes – London

by CameronM Wed, October 08 2003 07:54

We spent the morning wandering the streets and waterfront of Marmaris before heading to the harbour for the one-hour ferry crossing back to Rhodes. As we had to fill in the rest of the day and a large potion of the night until our flight out at 1am, we wandered the familiar streets of the Old Town.

After dinner, we boarded a bus headed to the airport. As fate would have it, there was a taxi strike, so the local bus was the only viable alternative. This worked out well anyway, as it was significantly cheaper and took the scenic route, which helped kill some time. Sadly, we still arrived at the airport four-hours early. We had planned our expenditure almost perfectly, I only had €4 left and since we where heading back to the UK I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to change it back to £’s.

I had no time to recover from my travels, as I had organised to start work at Manhattan Toy the day I got back. Suffice to say that after travelling all night I was a little tired for my first day’s induction.

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Greece | Turkey | UK


by CameronM Tue, October 07 2003 07:48

Trying to spend as much time in Turkey, where it is cheaper, we decided to stay until the very last day of the trip and then catch the ferry to Rhodes, where we would kill some time before heading out at 1am (who thought that was a good time to fly?). As the grand finale and as a bit of a treat, we joined 40 other tourists, and about 20 other boats, whiling away the hours on a day long boat trip in Marmaris Bay.

The cruise, which only cost US$15 included breakfast, lunch and all the beer and local spirits you could drink. The poms were out in force and doing their best to consume as much of the free beer as possible while getting redder by the minute. Tan and I were content to swim in the clear water and sunbake. It was a nice day and not too expensive even when converted to Lira.

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Pamukkale - Marmaris

by CameronM Mon, October 06 2003 07:41

Leaving Pamukkale, we said goodbye to Jennifer, an Aussie we'd first met in Istanbul and who Tan was quite fond of, and Kari, a Canadian we'd met on the Gallipoli tour, who had been our companions for the last few days. The girls were going on for some more travel, while for Tan and I we were nearing the end of the road, for this trip at least. We headed to Marmaris, a coastal resort town, where we hoped to be able to catch the ferry to Rhodes.

Being back on the local buses was again a treat, although the buses themselves are exceptional, few of the drivers or on-board staff speak English, which can be quite interesting. We stopped at a bus station somewhere along the way and were told this was a 20 minute break. So it was with some surprise that 5 minutes later we were running after the bus as it headed out from the station. Luckily it had to turn around in the carpark so we were able to jump back on before it had gone too far.

Marmaris is everything you think of when you hear the words coastal resort. Expensive, filled with sun-burned tourists and about as Turkish as a Cadbury chocolate Turkish Delight. We met people on the third or fourth visit to Turkey, who had never ventured outside the town, and looked at you like you were talking Turkish when you mentioned some of the BIG tourist attractions like Ephesus and Pamukkale, which were only three or four hours away.

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The healing waters of Pamukkale

by CameronM Sun, October 05 2003 06:30

After spending several days in Selcuk, where the average stay is 2 nights top, we were ready to reignite the "don't stop moving" motto and headed to Pamukkale, about 3 hours away by bus. Pamukkale has been a tourist mecca since the earliest Greek times, as evidenced by the ruins at Hierapolis, possibly the world’s first spa town. The ruins are nothing compared to Ephesus, however there is a large cemetery, which contains all manner of monuments to the dead, who had obviously come for a week and stayed a lot longer.

The main attraction is the natural terraces of Pamukkale, created by calcium rich water flowing down the mountain from hot springs that would appear never to run dry. The result is a multitude of small pools where it is rumoured you can look 20 years younger after even a brief swim. Unfortunately, due to the heavy usage and resulting destruction of the site, authorities have stopped all swimming in the natural pools, although many hotels in the area have pools filled with the same water. The water itself looks bright aqua, set against the stark white backdrop of the terraces and the whole mountain side can be seen from several miles away.
Don't expect to get lonely, with up to 10000 visitors a day, Pamukkale is packed with tourists, who for some strange reason, feel very comfortable wearing not much, while walking around the site (and some of them really should rethink they current fashion choices).
We stayed overnight in the town of Pamukkale, situated below the terraces. I got the sense that this didn't happen often, as many of the locals were amused by us and the town lacks all the usual tourist trappings, like carpet shops. The people are nice though and we had a good discussion with the local bus agent, who was obviously bored out of his brain and invited us for a cup of tea.

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Ephesus - some of the best Roman ruins

by CameronM Thu, October 02 2003 06:16

The town of Selcuk (Selçuk), like Canakkale is made famous by its proximity to greatness. In Selcuk's case it's the ruins of Roman Ephesus. The vast city, like Troy, received prominence because of it's access to the sea, which now lies a good 4 kilometres away (somewhere at the end of harbour street).
The ruins have been partially restored so that visitors can get a feeling for life in the metropolis. There is a large amphitheatre, the front facade of the Library and more columns than you know what to do with. During our visit, workers were busy restoring a series of town houses set into one the hills near the Library, so there's a reason to come back.

On the way back from Ephesus we stopped at a small village, where one restaurant sold pancakes. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. The pancakes are prepared by several people, usually women, in front of you, so you can see exactly how they are made. One woman sits on the floor and rolls the pancake on a large board placed on her legs. The pancake is rolled until it is about 70cm in diameter (and nearly overhanging the board) before the contents are placed in the middle. You can choose from a variety of fillings including banana (my choice), egg plant, spinach or chocolate. The pancake is then folded into a square and placed on the fire, where a second woman tends to it until cooked. They were very filling and very cheap, which is always good, but overall it's the experience that makes the whole thing enjoyable.

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Which Troy is this?

by CameronM Wed, October 01 2003 06:06

We stayed overnight stay at Canakkale (Çanakkale) located on the southern coast of the Dardanelles, which is famous for not a lot except being the biggest town near both Gallipoli and the ruins of Troy. Although the guidebooks dismiss Troy as just a pile of ruins, the guide for our half-day tour made it as informative and enjoyable as possible.
The ruins of the ancient city of Troy are located about 50 kilometres from Canakkale. The city was immortalised in the epic poem the Iliad written by Homer, which tells part of the story of the final year of the 10-year long Trojan War.

Part of the problem with the ruins is that the "famous" Troy, the one with the Helen, Paris and the Trojan horse, is actually only one of nine cities built on the same hill. This makes it extremely difficult to get a feel for its size and shape. In many places walls from one city have been used in the construction of another city hundreds of years later. The last city to be built there was the vast Roman city of Illium and excavations have been limited to the older sections of Troy. The dig director apparently thinks there were enough Roman cities excavated and has ignored most of the area known to contain significant ruins.

To illustrate the confusion faced by tourists, the picture below shows the wall of Homeric Troy on the left, later constructions in the middle and part of the Roman wall on the right. The Romans, wanting a level building platform, basically filled the entire site, which saved many of the ruins from the elements and theft.
The guide did at least answer one question that had plagued me when I first saw the ruins. The "famous" Troy had been attacked by Greeks who made their camp on the shore; however the shoreline now sits many miles away. The guide explained that Troy's position of power was due to its harbour, where ships would wait until wind and weather allowed them to progress further. This harbour however has silted up over the centuries and is now farmland.

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