Emphasis on Ephesus

Our visit to the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey required an overnight stay in Izmir. Although we had a chance to get acclimated, we immediately took to the streets in search of lunch. Thanks to Melissa’s intrepid search for the tastiest food in any country and her Googling skills, we traipsed through the town’s nearby grand bazaar and after numerous twists and turns, tracked down a local locanta.

Izmir Locanta
Izmir Bazaar Favorite among locals

This is where the locals dine on some of the heartiest meals made with the freshest ingredients. We savored the sardine soup recommended by the gentleman sitting across from us. It’s one of those diners where you point to the big vats of steaming concoctions or decorated casseroles in order to get your meal secured!


Stewed Eggplant
Ephesus

The short 40 minute drive from Izmir to Bodrum jolted us into realizing how ancient the land in which we were traveling is. From biblical figures like John the Baptist, Mother Mary, and their pilgrim followers, to the largest civilization outside of Rome at its peak, it was hard not to be impressed by the significance and grandeur of Ephesus.

Once inhabited by 250,000, Ephesus is a UNESCO world heritage site and was carefully restored and brought to life. It is a relatively late-bake on the list, as its discovery is fairly recent and only a fraction of it has been uncovered.

The library at Ephesus

Highlights include the odeon, a theatre; an amphitheater, an agora, terrace houses, and a library. You can download Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app for free and use it as you walk the site. All the details of what we saw were based on his excellent instructions. I highly recommend trying it out, and he certainly covers the major features. This fascinating site was once a thriving port city before the Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Goths each had their go at destroying it!

We decided to hire a car for a day to get from Izmir to Ephesus and Ephesus to Bodrum, our final destination. The only catch was making certain that we could call the driver after he dropped us off at the carpark at the top of the entrance to Ephesus. He was to meet us at the bottom of the hill at the exit 90 minutes later. Minor details: he had our bags in the boot!! We needed a backup just in case we could not find the driver. After a bit of cell phone finagling, conversations with hotel personnel, and a lot of good faith—we managed. Where we spent on the driver, we saved on time and the cost of a tour and guide. Just a reminder on how you can travel the way you want, with just a few creative tricks and determination to be a traveler and not a tourist.

Boviera

Known as “Boviera”, sparkling Aegean resort towns along the Western Turkish coast include Bodrum. It’s off-peak and chilly presently, but well worth the quiet solitude and even threats of rain to avoid the throngs of English-speaking tourists.

As close as you can get to the creatures being served at your table before they are caught!
Anchovies, artichokes with pineapple, cheese and walnuts, and squash in yogurt

Note: due to traveling light and leaving my Macbook at home for this brief trip, I am using my Iphone to compose and post photos. The capabilities are limited, but I hope you will still enjoy the material the same as regular posts!

17 thoughts on “Emphasis on Ephesus”

  1. So great to read that you are visiting Turkey.
    Will you also go to Istanbul? If so let me know
    as I can suggest a fantastic place to eat.
    Happy New Year! Enjoy Bodrum:)

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    1. I have been thinking about you since arrival in your amazing country! The food rivals that of China! And the history has so much depth! It’s the end point of the Silk Road and this trip has culminated my quest along the route. The carpet dealer today cited all the famed Oriental carpet names—Uzbeki, Isfahan, Tabriz…and I knew exactly where they were! We skipped Istanbul this time, but we will meet at a Turkish restaurant in SD with you soon!!

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  2. Great part of Turkey. Love the food, the little port towns, the archeological sites, you name it.

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    1. Thanks to imperial mandates, the food and culture excelled. Turkey is still relatively unknown as a destination by Americans. If we only knew…our time is much too short. The bus system between towns is amazing and easy to use. With more time we would have traveled to more cities.

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    1. Happy New Year Peter! A pity we could not connect in HK. Hope you are well. Turkey was Melissa’s pick for the food. We settled on this idyllic area after visiting Istanbul and Capidoccia together in 2013. She takes me beyond the envelope!

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  3. Melissa made all the right choices. Izmir and Bodrum are the best places for this time of the year. We should do Istanbul together one day as I hear amazing places are opening up every year.

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  4. Yes, I noticed :):)

    We should go to Ciya Sofrasi in Istanbul. I can even fly there just for a quick lunch there and come back … It is worth 13+ hours of travels…

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    1. I am pretty sure we have been there but I am checking with my culinary advisor. It certainly wouldn’t be out of the realm of the senses to fly there just for a meal!! Many crazier things have happened…and life is short, right!?! A cause for an upcoming celebration…

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    1. Believe me, it’s a challenge. If you ever tried writing and composing text and photos on an Iphone in wordpress, it’s a risky ride. I miss a few spellchecks but it’s the least of my problems! Everything hangs on wifi accessibility. So forget any intermittent service or you are up the creek. I learned this when posting at stations on the Trans-Siberian Express!! Hope the tips help if you do the same. If not, glad you enjoyed Ephesus, where fond memories reside!! Thanks for your comment too! It lets me know someone is reading!!

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      1. I totally hear you – I’ve never dared do and composing or editing on the WordPress phone app – I just use if for browsing, so well done!! The predictive text on my phone always gets me into trouble too, and I just can’t concentrate properly on a tiny screen…😕 and yes getting a signal must be a bit tricky in such a remote place…..the things travel bloggers have to go through lol 😉Your travels are inspiring, not the typical destinations we read about every day – and those memories are priceless!

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  5. I’ll think I’ll stick with my laptop Vickie – I prefer large screens for any online activity, but I sometimes scroll WordPress blogs on my phone if I’m out and about 😉

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