Turkish Delights…Sun, Surf, Sand…and History
A moment lived in Turkey by Life…One Big Aventure, a traveler from Australia
I cannot tell a lie. I broke a promise.
The promise was that this holiday would be just that – a holiday. No ruins, no museums, no cultural sites or sights. But, a visit Turkey? How could I possibly resist their siren call?
2003 was a busy year living and working in England, as well as absorbing the abundant history and culture of Europe. What we really needed was a ‘fly and flop’ holiday, and a package tour to the resort town of Marmaris on the Turkish coast was just what the doctor ordered, and the kids demanded.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect before we arrived, which I guess, is the best way to approach a new destination. What really knocked our socks off was the ‘Englification’ of a Turkish town. Wherever we walked we were assailed by touts promising us ‘real’ Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding dinners in a GENUINE English pub, or LIVE English Premier League soccer. These cultural meccas were frequently populated with a vast assortment of baked and sunburnt, over-weight Englishmen, swigging from pints (or cans) of English bitter.
At first glance, this made our previous holidays full of ruins and museums look pretty damn attractive! But, undeterred, we were determined to enjoy ourselves and try to discover a little of the real Turkey.
…and my efforts to keep it
Catching a dolmus (minibus) from our hotel to the beach to join the beautiful people, the kids were more than ready to frolic in the Mediterranean. Imagine our surprise as we spread our towels on the sand, to be pounced on by an officious attendant and duly informed that, we must move because the beach was reserved for chairs! Yes, we could stay if we were prepared to pay 4 000 000 lira for each chair. Disgusted, we gathered up our towels, all the while muttering under our breath how this would never happen in Australia, what was the world coming to, etc., etc.
As the sun-kissed week wore on, I became increasingly guilty that I wasn’t doing enough or making the most of my time in Turkey. The kids couldn’t have cared less as they returned water-logged and prune-like after yet another full-day in the hotel pool and on the neighboring water slide.
I tried to resist, but I was continually tempted by the touts as we strolled the promenade. Not by their generous offers of roast beef and soccer of course, but by the lure of cruising around the local bays and islands, and day tours to Ephesus. I ‘kicked tyres’ and compared prices, but was staying strong until we came across Outback Travel and Tours! Yes, the Outback in Turkey!
This mystery was too enticing not to explore, and we soon met the proprietor, a long-term resident of Parramatta (a suburb of Sydney)! He embraced us as long lost family and did all manner of deals and discounts to ensure our stay was a memorable one. Yes, I admit I was probably suckered in, but importantly, he gave us the best recommendations of where we could enjoy authentic local Turkish food. At last, we felt like we were experiencing a new culture.
Unsurprisingly, I succumbed to the honey-tongue of our new best friend, the Turk-Oz travel agent, and we were soon on a bus heading to Ephesus. Ephesus was established in the 10th century BC and has been destroyed, by both war and earthquake, and re-built a number of times since then. Serious and sustained archaeological excavation of the town started in 1895, after a few false starts in the 1860s did not lead to substantial discoveries.
The façade of the Celsus Library has been carefully reconstructed from its original pieces. It was built around 125AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107AD). Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it. The library once held nearly 12 000 scrolls and faces due east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Grand Theatre, with an estimated 25 000 seating capacity, is believed to have been the largest in the ancient world. It was used initially for drama performances, but during Roman times, gladiatorial combats were held on its stage. It is also believed to be one of the key sites that the Apostle Paul used, to spread the gospel.
While they possibly wouldn’t admit it, I think the rest of the family enjoyed Ephesus as much as I did. And soon afterward, a long hot day of history was drowned in the hotel pool.
Yes, I broke my promise, but it was for their own good, and I only had their education and enrichment in mind.
Does that sound believable??
This traveler has a blog: Life…One Big Adventure