TURKIYE TRIP 2013 – DAY FIVE

ARRIVED AT SELCUK

Kamilkoc Bus was good, there were mini televisions for each passengers then Alif watched some Turkish drama during our trip. Choices of snacks, candies, hot tea/coffee, softdrink, plain water were distributed from pushcart within few minutes after departure by a steward.

Departed from Bursa Otogar at 11:10 PM, our bus arrived at Selcuk Otogar on 5:15 AM (30 minutes earlier than scheduled). The bus terminal didn’t operate 24/7, we met nobody there, all store closed, even we couldn’t use the public toilets.

I decided to take Alif to walk to Selcuk Mosque nearby, then we sat on the terrace, hoped somebody would come for early morning pray then Alif and I could enter to resfresh ourselves and got some rest before start our trip today.

Adzan Fajr was being announced beautifully from Isa Bey Mosque (Selcuk’s Ulucami) when finally some men came for early morning pray. Alif and I joined them, our first “shalat jamaah” (group praying) in Turkiye on this vacation.

After shalat, one of the men asked me something in Turkish. I didn’t understand hus question but I tried to explain that I planned to go to Isa Bey Mosque, Ephesus, and othet tourism spots in Selcuk. He told us to wait in the mosque until opening hours of those places, and they all left after messaged me not to forget to turn all light off also the room heater.

After sunrise at 7:45 AM, Alif and I left the mosque, walked back to bus terminal. We took taxi, arrived at House of Mary after 15 minutes ride (18 km).

SELCUK: HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY, EPHESUS, ISA BEY MOSQUE, ARTEMISION

Taxi fare was 60 TL, non-negotiable, for taking us to House of Virgin Mary, waiting there while we got around (30-40 minutes), then drop us to Upper Gate of Ephesus.

It was 9:00 AM when we arrived at the gate, souvenir shopkeepers offered us (in Bahasa Indonesia!): “Mari beli, murah…”

There were tour guides offered their service, €40 or US$50. I politely refused because too much expense for me already after paid 60 TL for taxi, 15 TL for entrance ticket to House of Virgin Mary, 15 TL for entrance ticket to Ephesus (luckily Alif didn’t get charge).

We got out from Lower Gate 1.5 hours later. There was no dolmus as mentioned on some websites. Therefore, I had to take taxi to Isa Bey Cami (15 TL) rather than waste my time for the minibus which wouldn’t move until all seat full.

Alif and I ate our brunch, pide that we bought near Demirtaspasa Metro Station at Bursa on the previous morning. While waiting for noon pray time, I took a look at a souvenir shop belonged to Mustafa, a middle age man who was imam of the mosque when he was he was younger. Later I took some pictures of the mosque.

When finally Adzan Zuhr was announced, then I did ablution to get ready for pray. Menariknya, ada sekelompok turis asal Indonesia yang semua kaum wanitanya berhijab malah beranjak meninggalkan mesjid itu sesudah berfoto-ria bukannya masuk untuk shalat.

From Isa Bey Mosque, Alif and I walked to ruins of Basilica St. John nearby. We didn’t enter because we’ve seen enough ruins at Ephesus.

The next historical site was Artemision, which also we only looked for distance because it was just remaining one column of Temple of Artemis.

Byzantine Aqueduct and Ephesus Museum were closed for renovation then we had nothing else to see, started walking to train station after a quick stop at Tourism Information Center (Alif picked some fruits in front of the office).

There was monument of road to independence across the station, also some ruins which standing timelessly although surrounded with modernity.

The station itself, although served modern fast train, looked vintage.

TRIP FROM SELCUK TO IZMIR

The train from/to Selcuk had much less frequency than Metro in Istanbul or Bursa, but it was still better option compared to bus which would take longer and more expensive. Because we missed 11:28 AM train, then had to wait 1.5 hours for 3:53 PM departure from Selcuk to Basmane (I wished they had 2:00 departure). Fare = 5 TL (adult) + 3.75 TL (child) = 8.75 TL.

The train came 20 minutes late but worthed the wait. It had comfortable reclining seats, toilets, etc similar with cabin in planes. Even better, there were electric power outlets for each passenger to charge electronic devices.

Interestingly, there was a guy selling Simit on the train (@1 TL) while it’s not allowed anymore on Indonesian trains. He also offered hoy cay/coffee/soup, perfect for winter trip.

IZMIR, THEN BACK TO ISTANBUL

It was 5:45 PM already when Alif and I arrived at Basmane. Too late to go to the famous Konak or Cumruhiyet Square at Izmir city center (I really wished they had 2:00 departure from Selcuk). Therefore, I decided to get dinner only across Basmane train station, at Mc Zeki. One burger and one iskender, plus two big glasses of sweet tea, total = 12 TL.

When Adzan Isha was announced beautifully from a mosque in front of the station, 6:30 PM, Alif and I left the restaurant for our trip back to Istanbul.

First we took Metro from Basmane to Hilal, then changed line to Metro direction to Adnan Menderes Airport. Total trip was 50 minutes, plus 20 minutes from train station to check in counters.

Weird things about Turkish airports: Trolleys were provided only for arriving passengers, to be unlocked with 1 TL coins (while available for arriving AND departing passengers, free of charge, other countries). So, when I arrived at Izmir Airport and used a trolley (apparently left by arriving passenger before enter Metro to leave the airport) as wheelchair for Alif (he was so tired and sleepy) then airport officers approached me. I think he tried to charge me on that trolley usage, but anyway another officer stopped him then I didn’t pay anything.

That Turkish Airlines flight was Alif’s 3rd trip with flag carrier after Garuda Indonesia and Saudi Arabian Airlines. As expected, it was on time. Few minutes after took off, snack boxes were distributed with choices of hot or cold beverages although it was only one hour flight. We got sandwich, bread and almond cake, plus candies.

Arrived at Istanbul, we took Metro to Zeytinburnu them changed tram to Sultanahmet. It operated until midnight, and Istanbul was safe for us (just stay in crowd and avoid dark places).

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