Subject: 2 Weeks in Turkey - Part 2 Overnight coach & Kusadasi
Hi All,

Evening of Day 4  17 September

At 7.00 pm I was dropped off at the central bus station (otogar) of Istanbul. Totally confused I just stood there for a few minutes trying to orient myself. Luckily in Israel we too use huge central bus stations in the larger cities, so it was not totally unfamiliar. After looking around for a bit I saw what looked like they must be booking offices.

Went over there to see. Unlike Israel the different companies each have their own booking office, so looking at my ticket and the largest word on it I was able to locate the correct company  felt really good, I had managed so far. LOL

The man at the desk was very understanding  apparently accustomed to tourists. Without a word passing between us he changed my voucher for a ticket, showed me where the bus would leave from, the correct bus, showed me where I could store my bag till the time printed on the ticket (8.30  still an hour to wait), and left me feeling great. Body language is amazing!

Searched around until I found a place that made toasted cheese sandwiches (tost peynirli) and found a banana. I always travel with a large bottle of water, so I was set!

Long distance coaches in Turkey are large and comfortable. They have a steward that goes around offering drinks of water, tea or instant coffee for most of the night. Only they don't have a toilet, and the rest stops did not appear to me to have any logic. Some were 15 minutes apart and others 3 1/2 hours apart. The driver amazed me. He drove for 11 hours straight! Here in Israel no driver works those hours!! I felt absolutely safe the whole trip. About 3 hours into the trip we were held up for at least 1/2 an hour. I had no way of discovering what the hold up was, but the bus was surrounded by dozens of large trucks. Then suddenly we began moving  surprise  it was a very pleasant ferry ride! Time to get out and stretch one's legs, breathe fresh air and enjoy a midnight ferry ride.

Day 5  17 September Arrived in Kusadasi about 7 AM. According to my itinerary I was supposed to be allowed a short stop at my hotel. No way! I was met, my luggage and self were transferred to another bus and away we went. Thank heavens for the coffee and cake served on the overnight coach!

A marvelous tour of Epesus (Efes). Located near Selcuk, this is a truly ancient city. It dates back to 2000 BC. It has been settled by the Lelegs and/or the Carians it has been conquered and ruled over by the Ions, the Kimmers, the Lydians (Lycians) and the Persians. Alexander the Great conquered it too, and later the Pergamons, Rome and Byzantuim. St Paul visited here 50 AD, Justinianus ruled it in the 6th century AD.

It is an amazing place to visit. I recommend to anyone that can do so to visit on your own and to take your time. This should be a full days trip on it's own. The most famous structure is the library, the remains of which are awesome. At one point it was the largest and most famous library in the known world. After the great library in Alexandria (Egypt) was destroyed most of the remaining scrolls were brought here.

The secret tunnel from the library to the brothel for the 'relaxation' of the scholars is fun!

The St John Basilica, the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the ancient world and the house of the Virgin Mary are both within visiting distance.

Finally got to my hotel that evening and collapsed! More than 24 hours with no sleep, and walking all day had done me in. I was in the Pine Bay Marina hotel. I do not recommend it. There was no hot water to shower. The food though was excellent.

Debbie - Israel