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Ferries and Carpets - across the Adriatic Sea to Selcuk, Turkey

Greetings from Turkey! We made our 60 hour sea-journey and arrived in the crossroads of humanity. Where east clashed with west. Where Europe ends and Asia begins

When we bought our tickets, we stressed the fine balance between cheap and tolerable. Could she please get us the cheapest prone seating we could get. We feared the airline seating accommodations that we knew existed. Can you imagine for 60 hours! She said she had just the thing... we were just not sure exactly what we had. 

Outside of Venice, in a grittier port than expected, we found our ferry. We spent some time outside, searching in vain for a pedestrian gangplank to board.  We were finally directed to the rear of the ferry where a long line of cars were driving slowly into the boat.  So, we lined up sandwiched between two cars and slowly inched forward, laden down with our packs and looking very funny, I'm sure. When we finally made it into the garage, we bypassed the parking space and heading up to the reception level. We handed someone our tickets and we received a strange look in return and were told to wait.  Meanwhile, hoardes of families were being lead to their rooms on the two upper decks. A couple of times, some ferry personnel came over to inquire, but went away stumped after looking at our tickets. Finally, someone came to lead us to our cabin ... via a freight elevator straight to the bottom of the boat! Reception and Dining was on deck four.  Cabins on deck five and six and rooftop deck on seven. Cars filled decks two and three.  And then there was us, on deck one next to the engine room and bunking with the crew. Turns out they had a few extra rooms and they were cheap, prone, and private with our own cabin.  Clean but definately spartan and with the soothing white noise of the engine constantly.  I felt like a first class deckhand in the Navy. The room had lockers and a miniature bathroom.

Actually, it was fine and we discovered an interesting fact.  That humans can hibernate too. Each night when we turned out the lights, we were plunged into complete darkness.  Not one ounce of sunlight penetrated that deeply into the hull of the ship.  So, each day, we would wake in complete darkness and have no concept of what time of day it was. We found ourselves sleeping thirteen and fourteen hours a night, waking and stumbling out in time to catch the end of lunch.  The food was decent, three meals a day (in our case, two) and we spent our time at the outdoor bar, soaking up the rays on the deck.

The second day we passed through a canal in Greece. It was so narrow, they must of greased the side of the boat to get it through.  At one point, we did hit the side and it started a small rock slide into the water, at which point the entire boat, which had turned out to watch the crossing, broke into cheers. All these boats passing through must slowly widen the canal, year after year.

Upon arrival, we immediately headed to Selcuk, our first destination in Turkey. One note about the bus system in Turkey. Actually this applies to many things in Turkey we are discovering. Capitalism has a firm grip on the people. There are so many people selling so many things! When we go to catch a bus from one town to the next, we find ourselves faced with over twenty private bus companies, all touting for our business. 

Hello, where are you going?

Hello, can I help you spend your money?

Hello, where are you from?

Do I know you from somewhere?

Hello, are you (english, japanese, german, australian)?

Everyone trying to yell over the next guy. Come to my bus company.  Buy what I am selling.  Just getting a bus ticket can take forever to decide. At any given time, there can be five or six buses all half filled, pulling out of the station at the exact same time, going to the same place. Like a caravan of sorts. There is also no such thing as a direct bus. Anytime there is one seat empty and even when there is not, the bus will stop for any joe standing on the side of the road and pick him up. That can double the time it takes to get anywhere but we are learning to be very patient in Turkey. But the night buses are a different story. More on those later.

And the money here is driving us crazy. 426,000 turkish lira to the dollar. We are millionaires here. But things like drinks cost a million lira. But with the currency so devalues and the notes in small denominations, a small amount is still a brick of cash.

Selcuk, Turkey

The remarkable Treasury building.

We based ourselves in Selcuk to visit the nearby ruins of Ephesus, the most important ancient Anatolian city in the Roman Empire, home of Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher and a city of unparalleled wealth and splendor.  Today, it is one of the best preserved crumblies in the world. 

 

 

 

Turns out, Turkey has a ton of ruins and it is easy to get crumbled out. We spent a day wandering around the remnants and remains of ancient Roman baths, colliseums, temples, homes, libraries, public bathrooms, and even a brothel. There is even an advertisement for the brothel carved into the sidewalk down the street with a picture of a chesty women, footsteps in the direction of the brothel, and some writing, of the persuasive type, we suppose.

 

 

In Turkey, everything is a bit lax and people crawl all over the ruins.  We even visited the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Unfortunately today, it consists of one lone pathetic column in a swampy bog and a picture of what it looked like before it was destroyed.  

And a word of warning here. You always take a chance anytime you choose a place to stay, but esp. when you follow a tout from the bus. No doubt, many of them are honest people who desperately need the business and touting doesn't automatically make it dishonest. But let the buyer beware. We followed a tout to a quiet hotel, it seemed nice enough and a good price. Surely we were lax. We left our packs in the room and it was obvious to everyone in the hotel that we were heading to the ruins and would be gone most of the day. Well in an inside job, they went through our packs, found our secret stash of cash, which was unfortunately bloated after meeting with the parents and stole it all. It was a hefty chunk of change that shouldn't all have been there. It was an emergency fund in case our money belts were forecefully separated from us. It still felt pretty violating and we threatened and huffed and puffed but to no avail. We spent one last sleepless night, already paid for, haha...and hightailed the next morning. You live and learn.

Over and out, good buddies 

ann and doug

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