Having had a fun night struggling with the effects of jetlag, we all hopped into our Nissan Quasqoi and headed off to reenact Troy, where Helen launched a thousand ships, or in our case a single Quasqoi (ok, so 999 short but good enough for a blog title).
Troy had got a bit of a bad wrap but we find it fascinating, once we’d got past the Monty Python moment at the entrance with the very 21st century wooden horse. We resisted the temptation to have our photo taken in period costume but did note its suitability for an end of cruising season party.
There turns out to be 9 Troys, all built on top of one another. It was good to wander around the ruins and read all about.
Troy done, we set off for a bit of a drive South, which took pretty much to the end of the day. Our stop was the night was Kusadasi and the Palm Hotel. The Palm Hotel required some tricky maneuvering through narrow streets and then once where the GPS said it should be a sixth sense to actually find it. Senses 1 through 5 were performing well but number 6 was on the blink hence why we checked into the Hotel Stella.
Kusadasi was very much a tourist town with a line of cruise boats tied up at the wharf, but it was still a nice little spot and the fish restaurant was reasonable, given its location right on the small boat harbour, next to the cutesy line of small colourful fishing boats.
Next morning, it was off the Ephesus, one of the remarkable Roman Ruin sites of the ancient world. Bloody amazing – what these romans got up to. Another Monty Python moment – the aquaducts and the sewage system, as well as libraries and splendid roads and not one, but two Amphitheatres, one of which held 26,000 Freo Dockers fans. Anthony was prepared, having done Macbeth last year, struck up a great rendition of the Ancient Mariner. Managed to get this one on video from the top of the Amphitheatre, complete with a round of applause from the rest of the tourist population.
The place must have been pretty specie in its day, marble streets leading from the port and raised walkways for the nobility. We started at the bottom and walked the 2kms to the top of the city, noting its rules and a long sermon that I’m sure Joe Hockey pinched on the need to collect taxes.
Ruined out, it was time to hit the road again and head for the thermal lakes at Pamukkale, a town we were secretly drawn to by the copious amounts of reasonable rose we were beginning to consume. The more none-secret reason was the fabulous thermal lakes that provided a stunning backdrop to the town. Some say they resemble the cliffs of Dover stuck in the middle of Turkey, but hey, I’m no plagiarist so I will leave that description for Jo to claim.
After a 200km drive into the hills and mountains of inland Turkey we arrived about 4pm and paid our admission fees and headed up the strange bluish hillocks that were covered by a thin film of running water, intermittently punctuated by thermal pools filled with Japanese tourists. In between the occasional slip, our feet got a treat wading through the therapeutic mud that lined the bottom of the shallow pools. We eventually made it to the top and looked around for the money shot. It was so stunningly different, a landscape pinched from somewhere I’d never come across before. From our viewpoint at the top we could see the storm clouds rolling in and tossed up between sheltering at the top amongst the tourist shops or making a run for it in the rain. Luckily for us we made a run for it and although drenched, we got down before the rain really set in.
There was a nice old guy at the bottom waiting for us who had a family run hotel that had started at 70TL when we got there and by the end of the day had progressed down to 40TL (about $20) a night per person.
Our purchasing department had got a lot more sophisticated vis-a-vis hotel rooms as it progressively matured its selection criteria . Hot water for showers was quickly added to a list that contained luggage lifts, top sheets for beds, and carpet that was more or less attached to the floor, whilst the “good mojitos” item had been left off for another day.
The hotel turned out to be a real find. The hot water for the showers was a real winner, even though the power in the whole town went off and the vital shower was had in semi-darkness. The power eventually came back on and we had the most wonderful experience with the extended family eating home-made cooking (from a somewhat reduced menu) on the top floor menu.
Next day it was off to La Mischief in Marmaris. Now that was exciting!!!