After a week of waiting we finally got word that Frieda, our campervan, was now ready to go on her travels again. She had been in the Ford garage in Izmir, in western Turkey, since New Year’s Eve with a leaking hose caused by a chilly cat with sharp claws that had slept in the engine bay.
Our yachtie friends and neighbours Jack and Jan kindly drove us to Izmir to collect the van from the Ford garage. As is normal in Turkey, the consumer experience was a delight – tea served and help at every turn! And the repair only cost the equivalent of a tick over Aus$100 (67.50 EUR or £56).
We decided to make a day of it and head for the amazing archeological site of Ephesus which is reasonably close to Izmir.
We had been twice before but it still captivated us. Every time we visit this fascinating archeological site we see more and learn more.
This time we met some beautiful cats – one very friendly one decided to be our guide around the excavations of terraced houses that once belonged to the rich and famous of ancient Ephesus. Cat-agorically the best way to see these wonderful remains!
Back on board S/V Sunday we had a quiet few days as the weather was woeful. We had several shocking storms with thunder and lightening all night and boy did it rain! When the sun finally came it felt distinctly cooler than previously.
A few days later we welcomed back fellow Didim marina yachties Ken and Eiloo who had been in Thailand on holiday for Christmas. We had a great catch up in the Yacht Club only hours after they arrived back.
We needed to do a couple of errands in Bodrum so we decided to have a day out with our buddies Sue and John as Sue wanted to do some shopping for her forthcoming trip to Australia.
After some successful shopping we of course set out to find a good place for lunch and found the perfect spot – a restaurant on the water dedicated to the most famous sailor in Turkey – Sadun Boro – who was the first amateur Turkish sailor to circumnavigate the globe.
A few days later we embarked on a road trip adventure and invited our friends Jan and Jack to join us.
Our first stop was Selçuk – the charming town two kilometres northeast of Ephesus. We were especially keen to visit the archeological museum there which houses finds from the ancient site.
On the way to Selçuk we stopped for breakfast at a tiny roadside “transport” cafe where we were served a delicious soup with a mound of bread served in an enormous plastic container. With bottomless tea, the food for the four of us cost a total of Aus$10!
The only negative was the guy sitting at the next table solemnly slicing up a massive mound of meat while we ate.
When we arrived in Selçuk we headed for the small hotel Jan and Jack had booked for the night which happened to be very close to two of the town’s tourist highlights – The 6th century Basilica of St John the Apostle and the Byzantine Castle.
We paid our small parking fee and asked how long we could stay – “two hours, 24 hours, as long as you want” was the reply! Excellent, we could sleep there undisturbed!
After locating Jan and Jack’s digs for the night we set off to explore the Basilica which was believed to have been built over burial site of St John.
The main entrance gate to the basilica was called the “Gate of Persecution” by European travellers in the 1800s who incorrectly assumed that stone reliefs on the gate depicted the persecution of St Paul during his time in Ephesus.
Set on the slopes of Ayasuluk Hill just below the fortress, the Basilica was once an extremely impressive piece of architecture with five beautiful domes supported by massive marble pillars.
The view from the site was immense and in the fertile valley below we could see the beautiful Isa Bey Mosque built in 1385.
We walked further up the hill to the impressive fortress which was originally built to protect the basilica after Arab invasions in the 7th Century but was rebuilt and expanded in the Selcuk and Ottoman eras.
We were walking back down the hill when we saw two familiar figures coming towards us. It was one of those amazing coincidences that happen when you travel – the figures belonged to yachtie friends Liz and Steve from S/V Liberte who we first met in 2017 on a small sailing rally in Kalimantan, Indonesia. We had caught up with them again at Finike Marina in 2021 but hadn’t seen them for months!
They were on their way to visit the Basilica and the fortress and we were heading for the Ephesus Archaeological Museum so we agreed to meet later for a coffee and a catch up.
The museum was full of fabulous finds from nearby Ephesus – sculptures, carved stone reliefs, glassware, pottery, gold jewellery and wonderful statues of the goddess Artemis, one which is arguably the most important exhibit in the museum.
We met Liz and Steve later in the museum cafe and had a good catch up. During the conversation they recommended a nearby restaurant for dinner and joined us there before leaving to catch the bus back to their marina in Kusadaşı.
The food was delicious, plentiful and amazingly inexpensive and best of all we were kept toasty with a brazier of hot coals that our hosts popped under our table! Blissfully warm but a little hazardous!