Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece

We're sounding like a broken record, but we had a wonderful time in Turkey. It's highly recommended as a place to visit, and we only saw a small portion of the country. In a future visit (or visits) we'd love to visit central and eastern Turkey and explore more of the Mediterranean coast.

One of the downsides (or you could call it an upside too) of couchsurfing is you often don't do the "touristy" things while staying in a given place. This was the case in Izmir. We loved hanging out with George, but we didn't really do much in Izmir except visit a few brunch places, take a side trip to Cesme, and hang out with a bunch of his friends. It was great, but we were happy on our last day in Izmir that George took us up to see the beautiful views from the top of Kadifekale (kale means fortress). It's the ruins of the ancient city of Smyrna, one of the "Seven Churches" of the book of Revelation. According to Revelation, Smyrna was the only "church" that didn't get rebuked by John, the author of Revelation. "This makes the Izmir people special," George told us. Regardless of rebukes, the views were pretty special, and in typical Turkish fashion, after snapping a few pictures we sat and had some tea. Did we mention how much we love Turkey?
We knew we were heading to Greece after Turkey and we'd decided to head to the island of Rhodes first. Partly we decided on Rhodes because it was close to Turkey and also because we found a couchsurfing host there. Rhodes has a population of about 50,000 people but there were about seven couchsurfers when we did a search, one of whom, named Savvas, agreed to host us. Coincidentally, when we were at George's couchsurfing party in Izmir we met a Brazilian woman who knew Savvas! She met him when he went to Brazil last winter. Small world.

Before going to Rhodes we spent a couple nights in Selcuk, near Efes (Ephesus), another one of the Seven Churches. Selcuk was a very cute town, and the ruins of Efes were amazing. Although it was mobbed with tour bus traffic, it was really cool seeing the old buildings. I hadn't really thought of it before, but a lot of Bible history is in Turkey.
Our last stop in Turkey was the Mediterranean town of Marmaris. We were only stopping here to catch the ferry, and we're glad we didn't spend more time here, as it was our least favorite Turkish town. Our guest house owner bragged about how Bill Gates visited recently (not at our $30 a night guest house, but in a private yacht off the coast) which tells you something about the town's character. It's full of European tourists, mostly rich ones and the stores and restaurants cater to that crowd. We did find one cheap restaurant (which we went to twice) and we enjoyed walking around people watching.

We took a fast ferry to Rhodes, it only took about an hour and a half. We met up with Savvas and we all went out to dinner and drinks at a local pub. Savvas is very well educated (he's half Greek, half Swedish) and his dad (the Greek half) was a High School exchange student in Cape Elizabeth, Maine 40 years ago! Anyway, Rhodes seems to have quite a few sights to see, including castles, beaches and mountains (it's an old volcano so the middle of the island is quite mountainous). We'll post more of our adventures later. In the meantime, be sure and look at all our pictures of the Turkish coast. We updated the album since the last blog post.

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys I guess I am just catching the tail end of your adventure, I really liked the route and information you have on India. I started my travels in Egypt 2.5 years ago and stayed for five months, and Egypt is difficult but makes all other countries easy.

    I am in Macedonia after staying in Bulgaria for a year, it is quite nice if you two head this way.


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