Missing Ephesus?

Jul 28th, 2012, 07:20 PM
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Missing Ephesus?

We are visiting Turkey for the first time in October. We had originally planned to just visit Istanbul for 10 days, since we had heard that we could spend a year there and not tire of the city, but friends convinced us that we really needed to go to Cappadocia, too. So we extended to two weeks, and the current itinerary has four nights in an apartment in Sultanahmet, four nights in Cappadocia (Goreme), and then five nights in an apartment in Beyoglu. The thought was to get flavors of both the old a new city, with plenty of time to "do" the standard sites, visit the Asian side, take a Bosphorus cruise, etc., and then enough time in Cappadocia to properly explore, take the balloon ride, and like that.

When we planned the Cappadocia segment we tried to loop over to Ephesus and then back up to Istanbul for the Beyoglu part there, but the flight schedules didn't accommodate that plan. So, we are now faced with the choice of skipping Ephesus entirely (the other flights and apartment rentals are already booked) or doing a day trip to Ephesus from Istanbul (which I infer can be done but is a stretch). I know this is a personal choice, but in the esteemed Fodorites' opinion, how much effort should we make to get to Ephesus? We have been to Rome, including a visit to Ostia Antica, which I know isn't the same, but is sort of, so we won't leave this world without having seen at least *some* ancient ruins...

One more point: it is doubtful that we will ever return to Turkey. There are so many wonderful places in this world to visit that we have only been to one destination (Paris) more than once. So, more than likely, this will be our one and only chance.

Thanks very much!
purduegrad is offline  
Jul 28th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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I too would visit Istanbul and Cappadocia before Ephesus. And that is not to denigrate Ephesus, the other two are simply spectacular.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2012, 08:50 PM
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I very much enjoyed Ephesus. If you can't do one night nearby, a day trip from Istanbul would be a long day but doable. I know of someone who did that with some tour company, they flew to somewhere (Izmir?, I don't recall) from Istanbul.
joannyc is offline  
Jul 28th, 2012, 08:56 PM
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I was deeply impressed with Ephesus and very, very glad that I saw it - even though I have seen many other ancient ruins. For my interests, it would make sense to find a way to include it, even if you have to cut a day or even two from istanbul. But that's based on my interests. If you do go to Ephesus, I strongly encourage you to include a visit to the terrace houses (for which there is an additional charge). Remarkable!

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jul 28th, 2012, 09:20 PM
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After 2 trips to Turkey, I still rate Ephesus as one of the most spectacular places. If you don't plan to return to Turkey, I recommend you find a way to get to Ephesus.

Enjoy your Turkey travels - and my favorite, their food.
wintersp is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 09:35 AM
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i am almost betting that you will get back to Turkey, unless your main interest regards traveling relates to compiling lists of places you have visited.

If you're interested in antiquity, Istanbul and Cappadocia has examples from only four or five of the antique civilizations among twenty odd which have left structures and artifacts of their existence and life styles in this large by European standards country which has been a crossroads for too many.

If you're interested in nature, the mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, canyons, paths, waterfalls, remnants of glaciers, deserts, birds, endemic flora equal more than any one single European country.

If you're interested in social anthropology, culture and psychology. the local culture is very indigenous, a mix of ancient Anatolian and Balkan civilizations, various sects of islam, christianity, Shamanism, Zoroastrianism, Central Asian traditions. The people are also rather more friendly, curious and hospitable than you will meet most places.

the infrastructure is quite good in terms of transportation, flights, roads, bus, car rental. hotels are good. Food is very varied, different and suitable for vegetarians as well as carnivores. (yesterday we had fresh asparagus with lemon, garlic and sesame seeds, some wraps of sorrel leaves containing bulgur, tomato and red pepper paste and fresh basil, and grilled chicken thighs marinated in fresh ginger, lemon grass, lime, turmeric, garlic chili sauce, sumak and olive oil with a side of black jasmine rice pilav with butter)

These our our home specialties and would not be available at any restaurant in turkey, but you would taste many other excellent stuff. The region around ephesus is terrific in terms of wild salad greens which you should try possibly at the restaurant of Hotel Bella, if you do get there.

Just to give you an idea of what you may come back to, check the following names on the web :

- mardin
- hasankeyf
- halfeti
- rum kale
- zeugma
- gobekli tepe
- saint simeon stilit jr.
- tunnel of titus
- church of Saint peter at Antioch
- Olba
- Kizkalesi
- Side
- anemurium
- ermenek
- catalhoyuk
- alacahoyuk
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Oh, OC, you are most persuasive! You may well be right and we will return. (And if we do, can we come to your house for dinner? Yum.)

Our travel destinations are ones that interest us and when we go we spend a lot of time prior learning about the culture and geography, to better appreciate what we're seeing and doing (and eating). I've used this forum with great success in planning trips to Hawaii, France, the Canadian Rockies, Italy ... and now Turkey. We usually choose to spend a good chunk of time in one place so as to really get to know it (thus the relatively lengthy stay in Istanbul) rather than taking a Readers Digest tour of a country ("if this is Tuesday, must be Konya"). That being said, we try to make a special effort to include the agreed-upon highlights -- thus the Ephesus question.

I have read much about the graciousness of the Turkish people, and we are looking forward to being in a country with such a rich history and a culture so different from ours. You have certainly been a wealth of information and have already provided much guidance and insight as we've been putting this trip together. I'm sure there will many more questions during the next couple of months as we near our departure. If we do return for a second trip, it will be in no small part due to your influence!

Just for the record, I am leaning towards making a day trip (albeit a long day) to Ephesus; DH says that he doesn't want to spend the whole vacation in airports. We'll see...
purduegrad is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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I would urge you to get to Ephesus if you can. It's not really "just another ruins" site - it's tremendously impressive.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 30th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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If you can work it be sure to see Ephesus..Awesome is not the word. Is there a word beyond awesome in the superlative lexicon??? The terrace houses are an absolute must.Unbelievable what was possible in the world of building!!!
amer_can is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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purduegrad, My younger daughter did Ephesus and terrace houses for graduation project at SAIC.) She did my now deceased cousin's wooden house in istanbul for her Masters thesis in restoration preservation.)

If you are still in istanbbul after Oct 31, you're welcome to to our home for dinner or at least to join us for an iskender kebap at Bursa Garaj. (Our kitchen will be going through a majot overhaul while we are away.)

I am now posting past dinner plates and table settings in our home for my profile photos, changing them every few days.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 06:20 PM
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I thank everyone for their input. I will start working on DH ...

OC, what a gracious invitation! We would love to meet you and your family. But alas, we are flying back to Chicago on November 1. I have read wonderful things about Bursa Garaj Iskender and we will be sure to not miss it. If (when) we return to Turkey, perhaps we will have the opportunity to meet. Or, do I remember that you're coming to Chicago in October? If you're here before October 18, we could perhaps share something very different, like a pastrami sandwich at Manny's Delicatessen or a cheeseburger at the Billy Goat or deep dish pizza at Lou Malnotti's. Food as evidence of great cultural differences!

I'm interested in what your daughter did with Ephesus for the Art Institute. Art, architecture, both? And has she pursued a career in restoration/preservation?
purduegrad is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 09:17 PM
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You should recheck with the airlines. We flew Izmir - Kayseri with at least three budget airlines (Atlasjet etc.)to choose from so going the other way should not be a problem .
From Izmir it is a quick hop by bus to Ephesus and you would return IZmir- Istanbul also quickly.
An overnight in nearby Selcuk would be delightful too!
Tommmo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 08:10 AM
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Bursa garaj restaurant is in istanbul, within walking distance of Levend metro station, somewhat across from Canyon Mall. The owners managed to bring the cook(s) from the well known Bursa restaurant when they opened the simple restaurant some 7-8 years ago.

two fast food joints serve excellent doner kebap also. one, hole in the wall across from one of the entrances to the Grand bazaar (the one below the main gate across from nuru osmaniye mosque) in a narrow street. no place to sit or put your drink. the second, at besiktas shopping street, left corner of first left turn when you come from the main coastal street, or immediate right corner when you come from the W hotel.

Hacibey at Nisantasi also has a decent Iskender kebap. Your cholesterol levels should not make you ask them to hold the butter, at least that one time.

It will be bonito time when you arrive in istanbul, and if you are lucky also blue fish. the istanbul blue fish (lufer) is unequalled when grilled correctly. Bonito, if the right size (a medium single portion size)can also be good. Should not forget to take dainty bites of red onion with the bonito and arugula with the blue fish.

Check my "eating fish" thread for more detailed info.

we arrive in chicago on 20th or 21st of October, but thanks for the eatery suggestions. Will take a rain check since we frequently are in Chicago because of a blue eyed, mischievous girl and a bright, smiling boy.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 08:14 AM
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Forgot to answer other question. Ceylan has an undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture and a Graduate degree in Historic preservation and restoration from SAIC. That is why we are currently in the poorhouse.

She is doing some freelance work because she had difficulty finding anything related to her specialty.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Bonito and blue fish will be new to us -- looking forward to trying those, and everything else! I am keeping a list of all of these suggestions in my little Istanbul Moleskine I've purchased for the trip. The food section is fatter than all the rest combined!

Tommmo, thanks for the suggestion, but we had chosen to fly to Nevsehir instead of Kayseri, and those flights have been already booked. But I have found that it is possible to visit Ephesus in a long day, and that's the tentative plan at the moment.

Thanks to you all!
purduegrad is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 10:08 PM
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purduegrad - i think what Tommmo is suggesting is that you take a flight from cappadocia to izmir, visit ephesus, possibly stay overnight at selcuk / kusadasi and then take a flight from izmir to istanbul. pegasus air flies on these routes.
But if your flight back to istanbul is booked and cannot be cancelled (dittoo for stay in istanbul), then the day trip from istanbul to ephesus is an option.
shwets is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 06:12 AM
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Ephesus is simply spectacular and I'd strongly urge you to try and fit it in, even if you plan to make many other trips to Turkey.
geetika is online now  
Aug 1st, 2012, 07:24 PM
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OK, you've convinced me to include Ephesus, especially since it is unlikely that there will be many other trips to Turkey (though OC is a persuasive advocate for at least one more trip!)

Our flights betwen Chicago and Turkey are already booked, as are the flights between Istanbul and Cappadocia (Nevsehir). DH wanted to minimize travel time so chose not to go via Kayseri, and the flights between Nevsehir and Izmir didn't work with our dates. And, our Istanbul apartments are set. So now the only real option is a day trip ... but, as my grandfather used to say, if someone else has done that, so can we. Might not be the best option, but, from the input here, better than missing Ephesus entirely.

There are many wonderful things that we I'll see and do in Turkey, and this my be the highlight, just because it will be so concentrated. Special efforts usually result in special experiences!
purduegrad is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 07:47 PM
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Good choice! Enjoy your trip!
joannyc is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 08:17 PM
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It is best that you can not eat at Other's apartment. He said he was going to make a fabulous home cooked authetic Turkish meal and then served us burgers and fries. And made us bring our own onions.
Aduchamp1 is offline  

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