Night location: Selcuk, Turkey
At around 2am this morning a huge thunderstorm rocked Istanbul. The rain was beating on the windows so hard that Amber got up to check that it wasn't leaking inside. By the time we were having breakfast and leaving it was only faintly drizzling, but the remnants of the storm could be still seen in the minor flooding that we drove through to the airport. We feel very lucky that our two days here have been fine so that our explorations have not been impeded by the inclement weather.
After taxiing in our plane across what felt like half of Turkey due to the scale of the Istanbul airport, we were in the air and down in Izmir in about 45 minutes. Our transportation was a huge 16 seater Mercedes bus, all for us, that drove us through the fertile valleys to Selcuk, a town built next to the ancient city of Ephesus.
We were warmly greeted by our hotel owner, and after dropping our bags in the room, we walked to the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus. Amber had been a bit disappointed by the Archaeological museum(s) of Istanbul as they hadn't really featured many artefacts from the Roman or Byzantine period which she had expected given the rich history of Constantinople. In comparison, the Ephesus museum was much more interesting as it was really well laid out and followed the history of the site chronologically.
It was really good to go to the museum before our guided tour as we will be able to imagine the site more clearly when we go tomorrow. The model of the Temple of Artemis was particularly good. The worship of the Greek goddess Artemis (Diana to the Romans) dates back to the 8th Century BCE when Ephesus was a small Greek colony. She was associated with fertility and the Ephesian artistic depiction of her emphasises this by covering her torso in eggs. The temple dedicated to her was completed in the 6th Century BCE (after 120 years of construction) and such was its tremendous size, about double its Greek counterparts like the Parthenon, that it was labelled as one of the seven ancient wonders. It was destroyed by fire and looting a number of times and rebuilt, until it was ultimately torn down in one night by a crazed Christian mob in 401CE.
We wandered back to our hotel and had tea and cake on the pretty terrace that overlooks a small pool before enjoying a rest for the remainder of the afternoon.