Raughley Goes to Turkey: Troy, Izmir, and Roadside Antics

For a more text-y, storylike version of our adventures, check out Marissa’s blog!  Mine’s rife with words and resplendent with scads of photos though, so don’t forget to cross-check our tales!

We awoke the next morning bright and early, ready to hit the road.  Our car had not been ticketed or booted, there was little traffic, and we had a quarter tank of gas.  Things were going swimmingly!

We even stocked up on cans of iced coffee for the road! Swimmingly, indeed!

Our goal for the day was to swing by Troy on our way out of Cannakale and then head south to Ephesus, stopping there for a few hours before going on to Bodrum.  Given that this plan included 600+ kilometers and two enormous sites of historical importance, we soon realized how infeasible it was.

Troy was about thirty kilometers down the road from Cannakale and was, according to one Turkish man we met somewhere, “Not that great-looking, but pretty interesting for its historical/literary significance.”  Alas, that was not all conveyed to us in Turkish, but rather in really good English, which he spoke.

When we arrived we could tell we were at the right place by the giant Trojan Horse standing on the premises.

You see those little window-like openings on the side of the horse?
They're windows!
There was a staircase leading up inside, so up, up, and away we went!
Look at those handsome Greek Soldiers! Oh Wait! That's me and Pauli!
Like I may or may not have mentioned earlier, we were big fans of the self-timer.
Here you can see Marissa thwarting the Trojan Horse with her intimidating Troy Dance. It later became known as the Life is Life Dance. Glory followed.
We snuck up on several tour guides to hear snippets of information about the ancient city. For example, this group outside the walls taught us that the path to the gates of Troy had a sharp curve in it to deter battering rams! It also deterred battering ewes and battering lambs. Quite effective!
These are our sneaking faces. Who would suspect that this innocent-looking pair of tourists was actually sneaking into tour groups! The dastardliness of it all!
Here we learned illicitly and in German about the Roman architectural influences on Troy itself. I think.
Some of the city was remarkably well-preserved.
For example, this ramp still is quite ramp-like! Granted, the above photo surely helps matters.
Other parts had been heavily restored. Here you can see the original bricks (at the bottom) and the new ones (at the rest of the photo) of a restored MEGARON! What's a MEGARON? It's a building with a porch. But please, immediately forget that and start applying MEGARON to epic things you encounter in life. Life which is life.
Most of the city was pretty well ruined though. Nine layers of ruined as apparently the Trojans couldn't take a hint and continued building and rebuilding their city in the same place.
Towards the end of Troy there was a small theater!
The girls took their seats and settled in for the opening performance of...
Roli-Poli LIVE! A Kung Fu drama of epic porportions that spans the bounds of space, time, AND International borders!
Apparently the Turks have claimed the Trojan Horse as their own. I would!

After finishing up at Troy, we hit the road again and followed the winding highway down the Aegean coast.  We had spectacular views of Greek islands and rolling hills.  Before long we needed to make another pee-break.  Conveniently, we found a lovely copse of trees where we could pee and take photos of the sea!

During our roadside pee-break, Joanne and I climbed a tree and took some lovely photos! This is the least staged, and also the best.
Joanne struck some very nice poses in this tree and it was quite difficult picking the best photo. I ended up going with the one that had the most pleasant framing and background combined with a lovely Joanne pose.

Our drive continued southward and we quickly realized that there was no chance in Hell of making it to Bodrum before dark.  The road was longer than we thought and we were far less committed to driving fast than to enjoying our trip.  With a new resolution to stop for the night in Izmir instead of going to Bodrum, we took an even more leisurely time getting there.

For example, we took an unwarranted excursion to Akcay to pee in the sea once more and maybe grab some food! This is a real place that we went. How unbelievable is that?
Are you jealous yet?

We played in the water for a bit, but it was too cold to really go in this time.  I hadn’t brought a dry pair of boxers down to the water either, so I opted out.  The girls kept their dresses on (they had swimsuits beneath) because there were lots of ordinary Turks milling around and we didn’t want to titillate…I mean offend.

After splashing about for a bit, we came across an exercise playground!  Once upon a time, I badly destroyed my thumb at one of these in Batumi.  But now, we had all sorts of safe and healthy activities to do thanks to the expert guidance from Marissa, Healthyperson Extraordinaire!

This was part of the regular playground--non exercise version. Don't I look grumpy?
Despite having taught us how to use the equipment properly, Marissa encouraged us to have more fun playing "Spin in circles and try to high-five!" It was awesome/dizzying.

After a solid hour and a half of playing in the water and on the playgrounds, we decided to have our hot meal of the day.  Budgetary concerns meant that we could hardly afford more than one in a 24-hour period.  We just wanted a snack to hold us over until dinner time, but a mix-up at the cafe meant that we found ourselves with four pizzas instead of one to split.

The cafe was very quaint and the proprietor's loved us!
We had some Turkish tea with our pizzas, which were quite tasty. But for dessert we got a real treat!
The owners of the cafe were so excited to hear us speaking English that they offered us free coffee! Joanne took some excellent covert spy photos of the Coffees, look how shady she is!

As we left Akcay behind, the open road stretched out in front of us.  We still had several hours until Izmir and the hits just kept on coming courtesy of our awesome Turkey playlist.  This part of the country was composed mostly of rolling farmland broken by the occasional large mountain or small forest.  For a while we found ourselves veering away from the coast and it was at one of those moments that we stopped for another pee-break.  Now it may seem like all we ever did in Turkey was take pee-breaks, but you know what?  Those pee-breaks each led to an awesome adventure!  They gave the trip character!  This time, all of us had to pee so Joanne stood guard while we each took a different tree beside a farm.

“Cop!” yelled Marissa, and we all scrambled to hide/hide what we were doing.  With the danger of discover behind us, we spent the next hour playing in the grass, running, jumping, and just acting silly!

After failing to do cartwheels, we moved on to something a little less ambitious, but no less glorious.
The Turkish man on the bicycle didn't seem too terribly perturbed by our shenanigans. Just a little!
Believe it or not, this photo took about 100 failed attempts, most memorably once we figured out how to take ten photos at a time, one per second and Marissa stood there cuing us with her arm while Pauli and I ran in and out of the center trying to simultaneously heel-click together and with the camera. On the brink of giving up we gave it one more try. This is the last photo of the last series of ten photos. Life is life.

We left the farms behind us and gradually approached one of Turkey’s largest cities, Izmir.  The difference was stark as we found the open roads gone and the congestion all around us.  A few turn-arounds got us slightly lost as we entered the city.  Having not planned on going to Izmir, our first order of business was to find a place to stay the night.  We drove down a series of back streets and alleyways in downtown Izmir.  Joanne was behind the wheel as Pauli and I hopped in and out of the car, running from Hostel to Hotel to Pension, inquiring about and haggling over prices, using a combination of pictures and Pauli’s Turkish cheat-sheet.  Eventually we gave up and headed for greener pastures in a further-from-the-center part of town.

An hour of running up and down hills in the residential region we discovered resulted in nothing, until Pauli discovered a Turkish man who promised to lead us to a hotel!  He excitedly did—to the Best Western.  We thanked him profusely and parked at the Best Western (far beyond our price range) until he was out of sight around the corner.  Then we got back in gear and returned to the first hostel we had price checked.  A dubiously mannish Australian “singer” helped us book a room and we got ready to spend some time out in Izmir.

We found a coastal restaurant/bar and ordered two columns of beer. It was awesome!
I popped in to use the bathroom at one point and the transvestite singer who was introducing her (?) next song in Turkish stopped mid-sentence (?), looked me up and down, and said into the microphone, "Harry Potter."
We enjoyed our night and walked around the shoreside park, taking in the night air and the silhouettes that dotted the dusky coastline of the enormous port. It had been a long day and we were a far cry from Ephesus, much less Bodrum. It was this day, Day 2, that we began to realize the over-ambition of our carefully plotted trip.
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One thought on “Raughley Goes to Turkey: Troy, Izmir, and Roadside Antics

  1. Roli!

    I am so in love with this post, me and Q have just laughed our way through it all.

    And twice! Because I just remembered that you have captions over the photos too!

    Raughley Nuzzi…once again…I love you :*

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