The closest we got to our “Greek beach vacation” just happened to be in Turkey. We opted to spend a few days in a lovely little resort town in Western Turkey called Cesme. Technically it is in Asia, but it seemed more European than Greece we experienced. Our hotel was right next to the beach. Cesme, at least the center, was tidy, clean and full of well behaved drivers.
Walking around, I fell in love with the urban texture of the place. All over you can see the patina of faded paint, the old ironwork, the old water fountains with Arabic writing where men still came and collected water. The castle was the main historical feature, followed by a Greek church that now serves as a community hall.
Ephesus is a well preserved ruin of a once grand city in Western Turkey. In Turkish, the city is called Efes, which is also the name of Turkey’s biggest brewery. It is truly amazing to walk among the ruins of a society that flourished thousands of years ago. Even if it’s 100 degrees fahrenheit. Seeing Efes makes me wonder what, if anything, will be left of our built environment in two or three thousand years.
Everybody loves cat photos, right?! Well in both Greece and Turkey there is no shortage of cute cats. I was quite impressed to see so many cute cats and kittens the last time I was in Istanbul, and this trip was no exception.
In some places it was pretty sad, especially in Greece. Many cats were in really bad physical shape, and there appeared to be no attempt to spay or neuter. Occasionally there’d be a cardboard box on a sidewalk with kittens crying for their mommy. Turkey seemed to have a bit more respect for their cats. We befriended the most adorable dog in Chios too, but no photos unfortunately.
There were also a few unexpected critters on our trip. For one, there were
turtles tortoises enjoying the lawn Temple of Hephaestus in Athens. And the ancient Roman aqueduct in Selçuk (the modern town next to the ancient biblical city of Efes or Ephesus) doubled as stork nesting sites.