Day 1 in Turkey: Kalimera, Ephesus.

The flight from Seoul ICN to Istanbul IST was no less than twelve hours long. It was rather difficult for me to sleep because the flight departed at around 2PM from Korea. Thankfully, Winter Soldier (which I had the misfortune of missing in the cinemas) was available in the in-flight entertainment; chipping away at least two hours of the twelve. After finishing Winter Soldier, I went ahead to do my long-awaited marathon of Series 3 of Sherlock. Perhaps it was the shot of Yeni Rakı I had with the in-flight meal: I became too uncomfortable and drowsy, and ended up drifting in and out of sleep instead.

After landing in Istanbul Atatürk airport (there are two airports in Istanbul; the Mustafa Atatürk and the Sabiha Gökçen), I had to hop on another flight to Izmir straight away. By the time we arrived in Izmir, it was already midnight. After spending a night in a hotel, my group went to the ephesus ruins.

In Turkey, there are Felines everywhere

Before even seeing any major Greek structures, we were greeted by a myriad of majestic Felines. These kitties, despite being homeless, seemed quite clean and taken care of. I was told that the tourists and locals take quite good care to feed and clean them. In bigger cities, stray animals have marks on their ear, which mean they have been vaccinated and tested clean of illnesses and parasites.

The Ephesian ruins largely remain as ruins. The border between the Anatolian and Eurasian plate runs across Istanbul and near the northern border of the Turkey. Hence, the nation is victim of numerous violent earthquakes which took lives and brought down entire cities. The restoration effort, thus, becomes more of a reproduction: it is very much a  giant, three-dimensional jig-saw puzzle to put together thousands of hunks of broken marble blocks which once were parts of greek structures.

The number of tourists in the region is quite scary; especially in the summer. Any major tourism spots that near a shore is a potential landing spot for cruise ships. Cruise ships can contain anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of people. All the places I have visited except Konya and Kapadokya nears such coastlines, and fell victim to half a dozen cruise ships and tourists they house.

Many take advantage of these tourists by selling cheap, no-good produce, knock-off souvenirs, and flimsy city guides. However, there are also more malicious kinds that look for targets to rob. One of the twenty-eight in our tour group was pick pocketed of her passport and bundle of cash. After the Ephesus course fell through, we went ahead to the village of Şirince to escape the agoraphobia and pickpockets.

Şirince is a small village that makes living out of orchards and vineyards. It was initially a settlement of the richer aristocrats of Ephesus who fled the Malaria epidemic of the city state.

The local wine, made from various fruits including peach, raspberry, and apple, was quite tasty. It was not the kind for a gourmet enthusiast. Rather, it was a nice drink -perhaps tad sweet- that would still give you the buzz to lay back and have a good time.

After visiting Şirince, we were off to Pamukkale, the Cotton castle of Turkey.


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