I left Bergama really early to escape the attention of the locals. Otherwise, they would have held me back from my schedule big time. Fortunately, the dolmus (bus) station was located near my hostel. I got to Izmir’s otogar (main bus station) by around 9am, and transferred to a dolmus heading to Selcuk. The gateway to Ephesus.
Selcuk is located in the South Aegean region of Turkey. It was an hour and a half dolmus ride from Bergama. Upon arriving, I quickly located my hostel (Australian & New Zealand Guesthouse), which was walking distance from the otogar. I checked in immediately & speedily went on with my plans for the day. Ephesus was my priority. Ephesus, according to Lonely Planet, is the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. It was built around 600 BC.
I walked back to the otogar to grab some lunch at the station. I had rice with chicken stew. Yum. I took a dolmus to Ephesus for 2TL, which dropped me off just in front of the ticket stand. Upon entering the facility, tourists have options of renting an audio guide, which was an additional 10TL on top of the 20TL admission fee. The price was pretty steep, but it was worth it.
There were several highlights in Ephesus, but the main one would be the seemingly well-preserved Library of Celsius, which is the star symbol of all the souvenirs representing Ephesus. I spent about 20 minutes just taking pictures of the structure from various perspectives. Interestingly, I felt like I was in Asia when I was there. Almost 80% of tourists were from either Korea, China or Japan! Other highlights were two intact Roman theaters and the various walk ways. Just impressive!
I went back to the town, and visited the Ephesus museum where some of the remnants of the ancient city are located. Then, I hiked up to Basilica of St. John, where St. John the Baptist’s tomb is situated. There were several interesting ruins in this spot as well. Afterwards, I headed to the Byzantine Aqueduct, where hordes of storks congregate atop the numerous remaining pillars from centuries ago. I had dinner here in one of the restaurants lined along the Aqueduct.
I also booked my tour for tomorrow from a travel agent in the town center. It was July, so the weather was excruciatingly hot. I had Turkish ice cream & some Turkish delight from Tugba, a famous candy story in central Selcuk. I think it’s worth mentioning that Selcuk is a pretty small town, and I basically explored all the sites on foot.