Raughley Goes to Turkey: Ephesus, The Wounded Knee Massacre, and the Joys of Spontaneity

As I sit here in the Senior Resident Assistant office on a stormy Thursday night in July, I find myself mustering up the inspiration to continue this long-delayed post.  I’ve no photos on my work laptop, so it’ll have to remain in draft form for a while, at least.  But hey!  Progress is progress, right?

In the morning, we woke up in Izmir and hit the road as early as we could.  Joanne wanted to start off driving for the day, so she did!  It wasn’t long before we encountered our first extra-Trojan MEGARON!

We started a roadtrip game called MEGARON! wherein each half of the car, Joanne-Pauli and Marissa-Raughley, had to call out MEGARONs as they saw them. Unfortunately the Rushmorian Ataturk was on the Joanne-Pauli side of the car, but Marissa and I made a comeback with a five story Penguin and a Wall-Sized Fanta Poster.

Our mission for the day was to drive down to Ephesus, visit it for a few hours, then begin the epic all-day drive home to Istanbul before heading in to town and finding ourselves a hostel for the night.  We had no reservations and about 1000 km to drive.  And that was just the return trip to Istanbul, not counting the excursion to Ephesus!  It was going to be an exhausting day.

We passed some ruins and wind turbines along the highway to Selcuk.  The town itself was pretty busy for such a small place.  After fighting our way through several traffic circles we arrived at a parking area for the ancient Greek city of Ephesus.  It was time for an epic roadside sandwich.

We had sausage and cheese and vegetables, and MUSTARD!!!

Pauli had come prepared with a penknife and cutting board, so we took full advantage of both and built ourselves a delicious lunch on the trunk of our car!  We even had veggies in these sammiches!

When we paid our way in to Ephesus we were blown away by the initial sights around us: columns, an amphitheater, a paved road; it was nuts!

A classic Raughleyheadshot.
Look at the size of this place! Imagine seeing a play here.... Also, this is a bit of ironic foreshadowing.
This Greco-Roman road was at LEAST as good as, if not better than, most of the roads in Georgia.

And that was just the entrance!

We rounded the corner to see the famous Library at Ephesus.  I don’t know if it’s really famous, but I recognized it from some textbook, no doubt.  Shortly thereafter we discovered the main amphitheater.

Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors takes place in Ephesus!
The other theater was sooo much bigger. I imagine much bigger plays and spectacles took place here. This is the Broadway to the Off-Broadway of the previous amphitheater, or the one at Troy, for that matter.
Now THAT'S a theater! It's at least five times as big as the one from the entrance.

Having opened the window to listen to the patter of the rain and smell the storm, I feel like I can probably finish the body of this post tonight!  And if the storm keeps up, who knows, maybe the kids will get stuck in study hall!

After traipsing through the main stadium, we realized that our time was up.  In order to get back to Istanbul by 8 to return our car we would have to drive for the next 8 hours!  We stopped to consider our options.  It took us about a minute to realize, “Hey, why don’t we extend our reservation by a day?  We’ll see more of the countryside AND we won’t have to skimp on Ephesus!!!!”

I think this warrants a celebratory Ephesus Dance!

Even writing that, I get warm tingly feelings remembering how wonderful a realization it was that we were on our own time.  We frolicked through Ephesus for another two hours, exuberant and carefree, soaking in the sun, wandering through a flowering field, visiting an ancient Cathedral, and having the time of our lives.  Literally.

These were some of the happiest times I've ever had.
Another Raughleyheadshot. No, unlike the other, disrespectfuler tourists, I did not get inside the Roman-era Sarcophagus.
Here were are climbing an old staircase on the ruined Church of Mary.
This day in 2010, I was meeting these people for the first time. What a joyous day that was!
Unlike Cormick McCarthy's road, this one is overgrown and ruined, but lovely!

It all seems so unreal with the crackling of lightning over Baltimore drawing my attention to the window every minute or so.  I do miss my adventures and my friends.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m pretty content with my life this summer, but nothing could replace the phenomenal times I had this semester.

We finished our visit to Selcuk with a jaunt up the hill to St. John’s Cathedral.  You’ve probably heard of John.  He wrote the Gospel of John.  He lived with Mary, mother of Christ, until the end of her life.  You know, no biggie!

A fresco of John the Baptist is obscured by the lovely US!
Allegely, St. John wrote the Gospel of John up on this hill. Also, allegedly, he is buried under these ruins. Nifty!

As if we couldn’t do any better, we stopped off at the Temple of Artemis, or what remains of it.  Maybe you haven’t heard of this one, but you’ve heard of the group it belongs to; just a little thing known as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  You know, no biggie!

This should give you a sense for the scale of the Temple of Artemis. Obviously, this is reconstructed, what with the cement portions and all, but you can see where the original marble remains.
Here's another angle, showing the scale. There's also a crane's nest on top. Apparently, locals maintain it while the birds migrate away, so that they have a nice home to return to!

We hopped in the car and began driving north.  The ladies fell asleep, leaving me and Pauli to our own devices for four hours, singing, chatting, and choosing a place to stay.  We found a town called Sarimsalki next to Ayvalik.  Ayvalik was an old Greek city that got evacuated/population swapped in the early 1920s and all the Greeks moved to the island of Lesbos.

Pauli and I ran out to a seaside hotel and haggled the man down from 180 lira for the night to 70 lira, total.  It was awesome.  Despite the girls’ insistence that it was a terrible town to stay in, I think we had a pretty good time!  We had a balcony, a pair of beds, and we spent an excellent hour and a half sitting on the beach looking at the stars and talking about space, Pangaea, and dinosaurs.  I love my life.

In the morning we began the drive back to Istanbul (For real this time!).  First we wanted to check out Ayvalik.  We followed the coast until the road turned in to a dirt path through a sheep herd.  We found ourselves on a cliffy peninsula that jutted into the Aegean.

We were really kind of isolated and it was really quite beautiful. There was some sort of greenhouse or gazebo under construction. But other than that and a flock of sheep at the base, we were really isolated!
It was a great way to spend the morning!
We were way more successful at jumping photos this day. This only took us three tries!
And this one literally took us one shot! After the 100 shots of a few days ago, it was a welcome relief! Riding high on this success, we went for more!
Despite the success of this photo, my dedication to my craft in the photo's planned sequel led to disaster.
I came crashing down on a jagged rock, tearing my never-before-worn courduroys and gashing my knee wide open.
We scrambled down the cliffside with some difficulty, me trying not to bend my knee and everyone trying not to fall, and I took off my pants for some field surgery. Pauli had come prepared with a first-aid kit, but it was a little rudimentary. Marissa, having had a year's worth of anatomy classes, was the most qualified surgeon among us. Pauli, as the owner of the tools, sanitized them using hand sanitizer and acted as the nurse to Marissa's surgeon. Joanne, of course, was the photographer.
Basing our surgical knowledge off of Civil War movies and literature, we decided that the best anesthesia would be a bit of leather for me to bite, hence Joanne's purse in my mount.
Oddly enough, I experienced no pain during the surgery, just some awkward sensations when the ice-cold water reached down inside my wound and touched what I imagined to be my bare, exposed kneecap. Seriously, the would was probably a centimeter deep over my kneecap. There's not much flesh there! (Note the peeled-back flap and the large plastic tweezers in Marissa's hands as she plucks out the dirt and grass and bits in the wound.)
Alice and well! What could have turned out horrible wound up as a genuinely healthy and effective solution! When you've got friends like these, who needs hospitals? (Note the idyllic setting.)

After our hasty field surgery, we made a beeline for Istanbul.  Of course, the bee whose line we followed took a bit of a circuitous route up the coast then through some mountains and Bursa before rounding the curve of the Sea of Marmara and arriving in the Asian half of Istanbul.  We got stopped by some cops for speeding and had a blast singing as loudly as we could to Pauli’s Greatest Ever Driving Music playlist.  It does not lie.  We loved every minute.

In an effort to keep my leg elevated, I had to invade the backseat with my reclined head. I particularly enjoyed when we honked and waved at people who smiled and waved back, having NO IDEA that I was pantsless.
Staying comfortable and hip (hop) in my granny shorts and Pauli in his Pajamas in Bursa, Turkey.
Bursa also boasts a nuclear powerplant!
Once my leg was healed enough (ha!) I was allowed to drive again and we arrived in Istanbul in the rain, shortly after nightfall.

After dropping off our car at the airport (with much sadness in our hearts), we took a bus in to the city.  My knee was starting to really hurt from all the efforts of the day.  The two hours we spent walking around trying to find our hostel really didn’t help, either!

Nighttime in Istanbul.

Finally a pair of Tourist Police picked us up and brought us to the front door!  We checked in, cleaned and dressed my wound

Sporting the latest fashions in the highest circles of Turkish Culture, we have Raughley with the no-pants, one-sock-around-the-knee-wound, toothbrush-in-hand look of early 2011. What an elegent pose he's striking, too!

, and went the bed, anticipating an exciting day of exploring the ancient Byzantine, Ottoman, and Turkish Capital.  We certainly wouldn’t be disappointed!

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3 thoughts on “Raughley Goes to Turkey: Ephesus, The Wounded Knee Massacre, and the Joys of Spontaneity

  1. Raulstar! I miss us so much. Thank you for putting the effort into this and reminding me of all the amazing times we had, and the fact that ‘you know it’s always better when we’re together. 🙂

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