Following the Coast of the Aegean, Southward.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2004: Çanakkale to Selçuk, Turkey
Today we have an 8 hour bus ride today to get to Selçuk, close to the ancient city of Ephesus; fortunately for Greg, the bus will leave at 9:30, so we do not need to be up at the crack of dawn. The drive is quite beautiful, following the coast of the Aegean southward, the sea as beautifully blue as every photo of it shows. Haluk tells us this is known as the Olive Coast, and for most of the drive, we see mainly olive orchards, interspersed with vineyards and apricot orchards.
The Temple of Artemis
We arrive in Selçuk almost an hour early – we were lucky in our connection in Izmir and didn’t have to wait. After a few minutes to rest, the group heads out to explore the town – we have as long as we want tomorrow to explore Ephesus. Despite not being as old as Ephesus, Selçuk has some wonderful ruins of its own (in fact, it apparently is Ephesus I and III, what is known as Ephesus is really Ephesus II), many of which, in particular the columns of the old aqueduct and of the Temple of Artemis, are now homes to storks. It is a very pretty town in its own right, and we happily spend the rest of the evening exploring before meeting up with the group for dinner.
A Henna Party
When we come back to our hotel after dinner, we discover a Henna Party in progress in the lobby and restaurant. A party to celebrate an upcoming wedding, in this case to be celebrated on Thursday, around 150 people are there to celebrate with the couple. The women dance a line dance together, circling the bride and covering her head with a red cloth. Then the men all dance together, dancing again with the red cloth. Then the bride and groom dance together, followed by more line dances, segregated by sex. I ask if I may take some photos and am given willing permission.
Later, before the party ends, a few of us from our group are sitting to one side of the lobby, playing cards, and 1 of the party guests comes over to watch. I try to teach him the game (Hearts), but it is time for the men to do their dance.
He grabs me and drags me onto the floor, where I help celebrate the upcoming nuptials, dancing in my flip-flops.