Turkey, Yeah: Holiday Hassle

We woke up to the sound of the alarm on our second day in Turkey. Still feeling tired and sleepy, I dragged myself out of the bed, got some breakfast, packed, checked out and drove to Troy. I was so excited to go there, I even wore my favorite top so I’d look good on the photos. :p

After a 30-minute drive, we went down on a small souvenir shop and an old guy introduced himself as the tour guide. Following that is the bad news–the Archaeological Site of Troy is closed until 1:00 PM because of Eid al Fitr or in Turkey, Ramazan Bayrami or Festival of Sweets. As per itinerary, we couldn’t wait until that time because we’re Pergamon-bound at 11:00 AM. So the tour guide just played a video of what we’ll basically see in the ancient city. Throughout the video, my desire to see it was hyped. I found the ruins worth a visit even it requires a lot of imagination to appreciate it, thus making me feel more disappointed and frustrated about the whole thing. WE WEREN’T INFORMED, everyone was not informed. We saw tour buses taking a U-turn back to the city. Ugh.

The next 3 hours was lifeless as we’re on a loooong drive again, this time to Mysia. We stopped on a local restaurant for a buffet lunch with our tour guide. We were served with Aegean dishes and it’s all good! From where we ate, we could see the hill where we are going next–the ancient Greek city of Pergamon.

Before driving uphill, we had a quick stop at Serapis Temple, also known as Red Basilica. It was dedicated to Egyptian god Isis and/or Serapis but was later on converted to a church as it was described/”named” as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

After that quick look, we continued driving up to the ancient Greek city, passing by well preserved Greek houses and an awesome bird’s eye view of the city down below. The tour guide also pointed out the Byzantine aqueducts tucked in the middle of the city. We reached the top after a few minutes and saw a cable car station. Sadly, we weren’t given a chance to ride the cable car and admire the fantastic view from it. Our time is limited and we can’t afford to stand on the queue.

The tour started as soon as we walked past the cable car station. One of the best sites in the ancient city is the ruins of the Temple of Trajan. The lovely Corinthian order adorned the once fascinating temple. Interesting.

This hall with “rooms” where they keep the animals for the gladiator fights for sure looked so eerie way back then. It’s just below the Trajaneum.

The Roman aqueducts our tour guide was telling about were pretty much visible from this vantage point.

Pergamon’s ampitheater is one of the steepest in the world. This Hellenistic theater seats 10,000. During the old times, gladiators “perform” on the orchestra.

There’s nothing but a lonely pine tree in the Altar of Zeus or the Great Altar of Pergamon. The Germans took it out and have it exhibited in Berlin. I’d be very happy if they’ll put it back where it really belongs.

Home to approximately 200,000 volumes of manuscripts in parchment, The Library of Pergamum is the second largest library in the ancient world.

Our tour guide seemed to be so biased with Greeks as he kept on pointing out how advanced and well-studied they are in the field of architecture as oppose to Romans. Apparently his ancestors are Greek…

We later on embarked on another long drive to Selcuk where we stayed for the night. Selcuk is a small and pretty town with lots of things to see and undeniably friendly people. Since we felt it’s a bit too early to end the day, we roamed around and checked out some shops whilst looking for an exchange office. Unfortunately since it’s Bayrami, all offices are closed for a week so we had no choice but to get money thru ATM machine. Luckily we found an HSBC machine; not our bank of choice but at least a name we know.

What a sweet street name!

Looking around, we found this fancy restaurant named Eski Ev Old House Restaurant and had dinner there. They served a fantastic meal with a complimentary apple tea!

A few hours of walk later, we went back to our hotel and ended the night cause tomorrow’s gonna be a long day!

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