#3, (final) Sept. 18, 1992
I had a very relaxing day at the beach, although I don’t sit on the beach in the middle of the day as I burn too easily. The water was cool, delicious and totally clear, and it was such a beautiful blue/turquoise color. I went for a walk in the morning, then bought some tee shirts for my kids. For dinner I ate mediocre food at a Chinese restaurant.
The next morning I left Altinkum early and drove back to Selcuk to visit the Basilica of St. John. It is said that St. John came to Selcuk twice in his life, once in 37 AD when he brought the Virgin Mary, and again in 95 AD when he wrote his Gospel. There is a house in the area whose foundations are very old that some say was the house that Mary lived in, and this has become a place of pilgrimage. In the 6th century, the emperor Justinian built the Basilica of St. John on the site of a 4th century tomb said to hold St. John’s remains.
It had been a really huge church as can be seen from information posted there and also the size of its gate and old marble steps. It is still considered a holy site and many pilgrims come to worship there.
I also visited the Isa Bey Camii (mosque) nearby, and then toured the Ephesus Museum, which was wonderful. It had many items found at Ephesus, which were very interesting and beautiful, but the most striking things for me were the two statues of Cybele/Artimis. They were white marble, multi-breasted goddesses that were exquisite. I also photographed a lovely “Boy On A Dolphin.”
Originally I had expected to find a ferry back to Istanbul at Canakkale, but I discovered there weren’t any. I was told there was a ferry from Bandirma, which is about two hours from Selcuk, so I thought I would take that one back to Istanbul. But as I drove, I decided to skip it and just drive back to Istanbul since I thought I could be there by 2:00 PM. I did, but I got quite lost trying to find the Europcar rental office. Again, I ‘took a taxi’ who got me to the right place where I could turn in my car.
This time in Istanbul I decided to stay at the Ramada in Laleli to ‘treat’ myself for the last three nights. I had a lovely big room and the management sent up a bottle of red wine and a fruit basket! Then I ate at McDonalds (!) but I was so hungry for a McFix that I just had to! The clerk got very nervous when I asked for eight catsup packets. He sought help from his manager, who said that he should just give them to me (I had offered to pay, but that just confused him). So he carefully counted out each one until he had given me all eight!
The next morning in between photographing Istanbul people, I went to the Egyptian Spice Market and bought some Turkish coffee to take home. I had a wonderful leg-of-lamb lunch at Pandeli’s in the Spice Market. When I went back to my hotel after lunch, another fruit basket appeared! That evening I made another trip to see the beautiful Blue Mosque.
My last day in Istanbul I went back to the Grand Bazaar to buy 10 demitasse cups and saucers, a tray and a coffee pot to go with the Turkish coffee that I had already bought. I envisioned serving Turkish coffee to my guests at my next dinner party. And then I had lunch (again!) at Pandeli’s, after which I snapped a few more pictures in the area. I went to bed early as I had a 3:30 AM wake-up call for Friday morning.
3:30 A. M. came early, but I had arranged a taxi the evening before, got to the airport, got my flight and soon (well, maybe not so soon) was home. Those are long flights but I loved Turkey!