Spending Thanksgiving in Selcuk, Turkey

Spending Thanksgiving in Selcuk, Turkey

Our Turkey adventure continues west to the city of Selçuk we stayed at an AirBnB just steps from St. John’s Basilica and even had a view of the Temple of Artemis. We were most excited about visiting Ephesus located just 3 kilometers from Selçuk where centuries ago, the Greeks settled at this coastline city of the Mediterranean.

We started our visit at the crack of dawn to take a mini bus to Ephesus.  We grabbed a piping hot serving of Martabak for breakfast, and we were on our way!




It was a beautiful and bright day, perfect to visit the ruins!


You know you’re close to an attraction when you start seeing vendors around.






One of the first views when walking into the city was the coliseum.




It was still in pretty good shape and we were able to hike up to the seats for a more intimate view.






As we were sitting up in the coliseum, we saw a giant dark cloud coming in and started to rain.  Everyone in the coliseum quickly left the area searching for cover, as it started pouring rain! It got so bad that the only coverage was at the Library of Celsus.




Trying to find shelter from the rain among a bunch of ruins is tough

It was funny to think that the structure that was protecting us was almost 2000 years old!


Tiff happily showing the functionality of the backpack rain cover we thankfully brought with us




After about 20 minutes of a torrential pour, the rain finally let up and we were able to continue exploring the Library and rest of the city.




Walking through the rest of the city, there were plenty of ruins and also cats just hanging out






While we were walking through Ephesus, we ran into our tour guide from the previous day who took us to Pamukkale!  He recognized us and responded with a friendly “Hello! My Team! My group!”

We explored the remainder of the city towards the other entrance of Ephesus where there was a smaller coliseum






While sitting at the top, Tiff called over a friendly cat at the bottom who climbed all the way to the top where we were sitting.



It immediately started meowing and purring as Tiff pet it.



This cat was really enjoying being pet and receiving lots of attention!





We headed back to town to grab lunch and then visited St John’s Basilica right next door to our AirBnb. It was rumored that John the Apostle was buried here. The front of the Basilica also had the perfect view of the temple of Artemis.





I read Temple of Artemis was one of the most elaborate temples in Ancient times which was labeled as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We were definitely hyped about this but when we looked, we only saw one column standing. It ends up that this temple was destroyed twice in ancient history and the only thing that still stands is that final column and a few pieces of ruins surrounding it. It was underwhelming as we had such high expectations but also humbling to know and see that we were at the site of such great history where thousands of people would come to worship.





We continued to explore the rest of the basilica which had numerous standing columns that was located where the church standed. More ruins and rubble surrounded the area with a great view of the Ayasuluk Fortress.


Tiff and Connie decided to recreate the photos that were popular back in the 90s – except with real columns and not fake plastic ones






We took the short hike up to the fortress which rewarded us with some amazing views of Sulcuk. The interior of the fortress had some really well preserved cisterns that you can walk in to look around. It also looked like the city is in the process of restoring parts of the castle as we saw many scaffolding around the area. The sun began to set and the weather started to get cold so we headed back down.










It was Thanksgiving night, so we went out to have our own turkey-day celebration in Turkey (minus any actual turkey)!  It was nice to have Connie there to celebrate the holiday with, as I’m sure we would have otherwise gotten really homesick seeing everyone on social media celebrating back home with friends and family.

Our mini thanksgiving meal



It was pouring rain outside and when we returned home from dinner, this little guy somehow found his way into our restroom to escape the elements.


We weren’t sure what to do with it, as we didn’t want to take in another roommate nor shoo him outside in the pouring rain, so we just shut the door to the restroom.  When we woke up, he was gone (hopefully he had a nice and dry shelter for the night!)


Exploring the historical region of Selcuk and its surrounding areas was a great immersion into the history and traditional culture of Turkey.  Now we were off to our next stop – Istanbul!