Bodrum & Ephesus (AKA, Wow.)

I've really kind of lost the amazing titles - I mean, there's no shortage of amazing things that have happened to us over the last few days. In fact, Turkey is amazing - there's not a cooler country that I've been to. The food is great, the people are nice, the views are amazing, and holy crap - the ruins are incredible. And of course, there've been stories to tell - from Moo, the moroccan partier to the whole host of people we've met along the way and have helped us find our way this country has been awesome. So why the lame title? I guess I just wasn't feeling inspired or perhaps, there's too many to choose from.

If there is one thing I have to complain about though so far on this trip - it's the lack of amazing WiFi. Like wow. It's been bad. Maybe 1Mbps if we're lucky - so it makes it pretty difficult to upload these blog posts. In fact, I'm uploading this as I sit at a caffe, mooching off of their wifi while drinking Türk Çay, but that's not really any of your concern.

Our foray into Turkey begins in Bodrum, where we took a 3AM ferry from Santorini to Kos, a small island just a small distance from Turkey in Greece. We then managed to catch an earlier ferry from Kos to Bodrum than we had hoped - and boy was it worth it. After checking into our hostel (Bodrum Backpackers), we set out to explore the city a bit. We began at the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Below), one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, and then visited the Ancient Theater that is so visible from most of the city.

As you can really see in the above picture - there's not much left of this ancient monument, and really, that's what we found through our entire trip to the city (There's some pictures of the Temple of Artemis later). But if you check out the theater:

It's really pretty well preserved. In fact, this city is beautiful. Just walking around, wow.

I know, they're really not the best representation - but my phone is spending more time without battery than with it (Too many maps....)

We then descended from the upper part of the city, and enjoyed our first Turkish coffee (Good Stuff).

The first day ended with some pretty delicious food - a mixed grill from a small restaurant off of the beaten path. The chicken was crazy kinds of good - and they even managed to make liver taste pretty good with a unique combination of spices that is uniquely Turkish (Below)

Oh yeah, and dinner cost me 22TL which is just $7.50. Yeah. Take that Chipotle.

The next day started pretty early with a visit to Bodrum's castle and underwater archeology museum. This was one of my favorite museums of the entire trip so far. The castle was amazing - beautifully preserved and full of awesome information and artifacts.

(Castle Peacocks)

There's a huge number of ancient finds that are displayed here from a ship carrying glass from the early 3rd century to a bronze era trading vessel. So cool. Not only that, but there's a ton of relics that have been found from around Bodrum, which make the museum an exciting experience.

After visiting the castle, I embarked upon a foolish quest - a quest to try every Dürüm possible in the old town. At only 9TL ($3), it wasn't a prohibitively expensive food challenge - but after the fifth, I found that there were A) Lots of Dürüm in the old city and B) Very little space in my stomach. I pressed on, and eventually found a place with pretty good meat, and a great presentation. It really is all about the flavor. Almost all of the meat across the restaurants was the same, but the seasonings were markedly different. Some seasonings were much saltier and more prominent, while others were nearly non-existent.

Meeting back up with Max and Paul in the afternoon, we relaxed a bit and then went out for dinner at La Passion, an internationally known Spanish restaurant for dinner. An amazing ambiance, and equally fun food, it was a super fun experience.

The next morning, we set out for Ephesus, an ancient city about two hours drive from Bodrum. Navigating the Turkish roads in our rented car became easy after the first 30 minutes of blunders (and running a few red lights), but we eventually figured it out, and got to visit this phenomenal city.

The visit to Ephesus starts with the Temple of Artemis - another of the 7 wonders of the ancient world - and you'll never guess how much was left standing:

Yep. That's it. So we moved on the actual city, and it's super impressive:

The amount of ruins that have been preserved and reconstructed by the group here is amazing. If you ever visit Turkey, this site is a can't miss - in fact - having now visited a number of places on the "100 Places to Go Before You Die" lists on the internet, I think that this is a site that deserves to be on the list, perhaps even moreso than the Parthenon and the Acropolis in Athens. The ruins here are incredible, and really give some insight into the history of the ottoman empire that lived here so many years ago.

We finished up at Ephesus, and then had dinner by the highway in a pretty nice place with some of the best Turkish food we've had here so far. I keep saying that the food is good, and that trend seems to continue, so much. It's delcious. I'm adding this to my weekly rotation when I get home. Köfte should be available everywhere.

Before we returned to Bodrum, we decided to go visit the Castle up on the hill - by an error of google maps, we ended up at St. John's Cathedral. We just missed the closing gates, but were beckoned to by a man, who said that he new a back way in. He had worked as a tour guide in Pamukkale and then 11 years in restoration at the site. True to his word, he took us around the back and through a restoration area, and we found ourselves inside the cathedral at sunset. It was amazing. After showing us about, he took us to one of the viewpoints. Form here, you could look over the entire valley, and wow, it was beautiful. One of those views that I will remember for the rest of my life.

We returned to Bodrum a bit amazed, but it was worth it. You can't miss visiting Selçuk and Ephesus. It's amazing.

We leave for Pamukkale soon - stay tuned!