Going to Ephesus was really part of the reason we picked Bodrum for this year's summer holiday. Formerly one of the largest cities in Imperial Rome's Asia Minor, it boasted the Temple of Artemis, another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. My family are cool enough to gravitate towards ruins, especially from the Classical World, so it was no wonder that we had it firmly on our bucket list for the holiday.
We woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus up the coast. I should really wake up at this time more often when on holiday... At 6 AM, the sun was just beginning to climb over the bay. The temperature was cool enough to stand outside without sweating, and in the reddish gold early morning light, the view was perfect.
Have you ever seen the sky turn an iridescent milky hue and seemingly fuse into the sea, making it hard to distinguish between the two? Well, that's what was happening that morning. You would never guess that there's another strip of land beyond the first island. It was ethereally beautiful, and I could hardly tear my eyes away. Try as I might, I couldn't really do justice to it with a camera.
It's at times like this that I really wish I were a poet.
A few hours after boarding the bus, we made a stop for some breakfast. I have no idea what this little roadside café was called, but it was home to chickens, lots of bougainvillea, an aubergine plant and another beautiful view over a lake.
We finally arrived in Ephesus to overcast skies and a breeze. I personally saw these as a blessing - if not for the weather I would definitely have burnt to a crisp in the open air.
The site is incredibly impressive, but I couldn't help thinking of all the Turkish artefacts from places like these that have been pillaged by the Europeans, sitting in museums like the Pergamon or the British Museum.
Also, like anything else worth seeing, it is flocked by tourists who cluster around the base of the more striking monuments (like the reconstructed Temple of Artemis, above) to take photos and selfies.
Bri being a cat.
This is my best Apollo Belvedere. Art history, y'all.
Sweaty and covered in dust, we returned to the Doria for a shower and dinner. We watched fireworks exploding over the bay and enjoyed a chocolate lava volcano - Bri's favourite.
The next day involved yet more poolside reading and relaxed grazing. Nobody was complaining after our day of sitting in coaches and trekking around steep amphitheatres!
By this point I was reading Red Rising, a novel by Pierce Brown. It's very reminiscent of Ender's Game and Wool, and I hope to review it shortly!
My poolside necessities: WIRED magazine, Piz Buin SPF 15, a little bit of NARS bronzer and Rimmel Kate Moss mascara for touch-ups after I get out, Vaseline aloe vera moisturiser to soothe any tender bits, and my white cross-strap sliders from Office.
A.K.A. my new loves. I wore these everywhere - they're so comfy! Sadly not really wearable now that we're at the end of the summer and it's raining torrentially most days...
That evening we ate at the Otantik Grill restaurant in Bodrum - probably my favourite from the entire trip. It's just a tiny roadside place on a street near the main bus station, populated by tiny, feisty cats, interesting decor (bougainvillea in Coca-Cola cups!) and fantastic food.
We consumed giant plates of smoky grills from the oçakbasi, accompanied by the muezzin's call to prayer echoing in the distance.
We grabbed dondurmas down by the harbour - ice cream with a wonderfully chewy texture - and then travelled back to the hotel. As we drove back towards Bitez, I gazed out of the taxi window to see a bloodred crescent moon hanging low on the horizon over the bay. Turkey really is an enchanting, mysterious place.
Next post: life on the open sea and a giant fruit and vegetable bazaar with not a tourist in sight!