16 July 2014

Ephesus. Again. Times Five.

Just because we left Cappadocia behind does not mean that my adventures with MG were over! She did a pretty comprehensive tour of the main highlights in Istanbul before we even left for Cappadocia so on the tail end of that trip there were a few days left. And what do you do when you have a day to spare? You go to Ephesus.

I wonder if there's a record for 'most visits' to Ephesus. I think I'd win.

Because we'd had such an early flight and early wake up calls in Cappadocia, MG nixed my usual 6:45 AM flight to Izmir in favor of a 10:30. We had less time but since the day's plan did not include the House of Mary or the Basilica of Saint John (the Apostle, not the Baptist-Lonely Planet and even the Basilica's ticket booth confuse them) I figured we would be ok.

In theory we were. See if you go to Ephesus and want to do the whole tour including Mary House then you're set because there are cabs right at the bus and their sole purpose is to take you to Mary House, wait for you, then drop you off at the first of the two gates to Ephesus. If you don't want to take the cab you better hope you're on a tour bus or have your own car because there's no other way to get to the Mary House or the first entrance. Unfortunately for MG, I insisted that we enter Ephesus from the first gate and was convinced that it couldn't be more than 2-2.5 kilometers. You'd think I'd have learned something in Cappadocia. At least there wasn't flora trying to scratch us to death. That's probably about the only win.

Betting this isn't how it was done back in the day!


A significant while (and a bit of a hill) later we reached the first entrance. Where I was especially happy to have my Museum Card as they've recently raised the entrance fee from 25 to 30 TL.  Even more unfortunate is that the Ephesus Museum, which has been closed for something like two years already, is still not open. And no one seems to know when it will open. Much of the statuary you see when you visit the city, for example the Muses on the library, are all replicas. Original pieces are kept in the (seemingly) terminally closed museum.

By the time we reached the second gate, MG agreed that it was better to start at the first entrance. Which doesn't really mean that she appreciated me making her walk all the way in the heat! The advantage to starting at the first gate is that you get to build up to the Celsus Library and the giant theatre. If that's where you're starting then everything is downhill. Except not really because if you walk from gate two to one it's uphill. Also, much as there are no taxis or dolmus to drop you off at the first gate, there are none to pick you up either. Which means you have to walk back to the second gate. Only something like 15-20% of the city has actually been excavated so you might think that walking it twice isn't such a big deal; but when you're walking around a marble city that seems to double as a sun reflector and have to dodge crowds of (other) tourists it becomes a much bigger issue!

Looks like I might be back here in December. Perhaps I'll ask after a frequent visitor program then!

No comments: