Getting to the town of Selcuk from Izmir was an absolute slam dunk..... into the kiddie baskets (though at my age, that ain't exactly a sure thing anymore). You land at the airport in Izmir (Selcuk doesn't have an airport) and walk to the train station, which is attached to the airport and catch the train (4TRY - about $2.50 per person), which takes about an hour. Finding our hotel was even easier. For some reason I got off the train and proceeded to walk North past the gentlemen who spend their day having tea, smoking, and playing backgammon. Up the cobblestone street, and lo' and behold, there was Hotel Bella! Just halfway up the hill.
The hotel is quaint and colorfully decorated with paintings, rugs, and pictures that would usually seem gaudy. But here it works. After a short wait, we were led up the staircase (like many of the smaller hotels in Turkey, there's no lift) to the roof terrace........ this clinched it. We really loved the view:
That's the view of Selcuk.
On the other side of the terrace you can check out the Basilica of St John (an upcoming post), which is across the street from the hotel and further in the background is the old fort which is closed to the public.
A few feet from the ledge of the terrace is this.
Here's a closer look.... it's a pair of storks!
We were told that the storks return to Selcuk every year to nest, often staying until the early fall. We were also told that the same couple will return to the same location of their nests year after year. Storks nest everywhere above the ground; on pillars, the old aqueduct, telephone poles....
One of the owners of the Hotel, Erdahl, sat down with us, and explained that our room wasn't ready yet. He mentioned that perhaps we'd like to leave our bags, and take a walk down the street (everything is down the street in Selcuk!) to check out the Ephesus Museum, Temple of Artemis, and the Basilica of St John. He explained that the walk was 2 kilometers..... which by now was a piece of cake. So we set off...... in about a minute we arrived at the main street, Ataturk Caddesi, and decided to grab something to eat. Erdahl mentioned a Pide place, but the Missus was fascinated with this place.
No, not the water closet, but the restaurant that was sending wonderful bursts of the scent of grilled meat down the street. Actually, I really tried to discourage the Missus from stopping here.... this place only sold two things, beef on skewer (cop sis) and meat balls (kofte), and these were beef, not lamb.... and the Missus was trying to stay away from most meat. But we ended up taking seat behind the grill area.... a very nice little courtyard. There we encountered a very positive sign. Everyone eating here was local...... all business men in suits.
The Missus ordered the Cop Sis, basically beef shish kabobs, which smelled heavenly, but was hidden under four huge slices of bread..... ubiquitously Turkish.
Instead of huge chunks of meat on a skewer, these were tender and juicy slices of beef..... with a rich gamey flavor like good grass-fed beef. The shaker of spice provided was not sumac like I thought, but ground cumin.... making this like a wonderful Niu Rou Chuan.
The missus actually enjoyed my kofte even more. Very moist, holding firm until melting into your mouth once you got past the charred exterior.
Along with the pile of bread, the other usual accompaniment for this type of meal was pickled cabbage, tomatoes, and peppery arugula.
By the time I finished sipping my all too salty ayran (yogurt drink), all the guys in suits had left.... back to work I guess.
And it was time for us to be on our way....... just a couple of blocks down Ataturk Caddesi, taking a right turn on Dr Sabri Yaylar Bulvari, and you'll come to the Ephesus Museum. The museum houses many statues and artifacts from Ephesus and what little there is from the Temple of Artemis.
There are a couple of items that are famous in the museum, the first being the statue of Priapus, a god of fertility...and well something else. For more info, you can check out the Wikipedia entry. IF you don't understand, think of the medical condition priapism. The other are the statues of the Greek Goddess Artemis. That photo to the right is of I believe the statue they call "The Beautiful Artemis" or the "Small Artemis".
One statues, or part of a statue I found interesting was the head and arm of Imparator Domitian taken from the ruins of The Temple to Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian in Ephesus.
It was great spending about an hour and a half in the museum, but there were still a couple more places to see this afternoon!