I decided to do a loop around this fabulous country, heading south along the coastal route until I hit the Med. I had loved Istanbul from the moment I landed so was hoping the rest of the country didn't disappoint.
I crossed the Dardanelles and made a stop in Troy. Now the story of Troy - if it is correct - is a great one but oooooooh the famous site is now a tourist trap. A fake bloody horse, what the?And you need a hell of a lot of imagination as the ruins are ruined.
I grabbed an ice-cream, my treat when I've hit a bad tourist site, and wandered around listening to the guide describe what once stood. He tried his best to get us excited about the grand buildings but I was kinda pleased I had an ice cream as the ruins just didn't cut it. And he questioned the legend that is Troy ... at least he could of pretended he believed in Helen!
My next stop was another dip into the land of the bible. Apparently this unassuming cottage (rebuilt from the foundations up) is thought to be the last home of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There were big signs with various passages from the bible used to try and create a strong argument as to why we know Mary last laid her head here. Whether she did or not, I didn't mind as the area was very serene.
There was also a row of taps dispersing holy water (from the local water supply I think) but cause I need all the help I can get I splashed a bit around.
Feeling very holy and refreshed despite the 40 degree heat, i headed to Ephesus.
Ephesus is said to be one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities in Europe. It was the capital of Asia minor and had up to 250,000 inhabitants ... which makes for loads of ruins and loads of walking. Perhaps midday wasnt the best time to visit this site. But anyways, I thought I'd give it a shot.
This site is quite incredible, its up here with Jerash in Jordan as a fav site. God bless those Romans.
The ruins include a large brothel, baths, library, theaters and temples. The large temple, built around 300BC is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It's very cool.
I then decided to head inland to a place called Pamukkale. This town was given a Unesco world heritage tag in 1988 due to the amazing calcite shelves leading up to a roman spa city. Wow, I've never seen anything like this.
It's like 400 degrees (well at least high 30s) and i felt like i was looking at snow from a distance. The walk up the hill is through the crystal travertines with water flowing down the paths. Quite a refreshing way to walk up a hill.
And you could stop and have a dip on the way up.
Now as I've told you before, the Romans got around. They discovered this funky natural spa so promptly built a town on the top of the hill.
The ruins of the spa town of Hierapolis founded in 190BC are actually a combo of pagan, roman, Jewish and early Christian influences. The town was destroyed by earthquakes in the early 1330s so not many elements of the town remain but the views are amazing.
As this was a spa town, the focus was on the sacred swimming pool. The pool still exists and today gets very full when the tourist buses turn up. Despite the potential healing powers of the water, and the fact that Cleopatra used to bathe here I thought it wise to stay out of the water.
Who knows what's going on in there!
Posted from somewhere round the world...