Friday, May 05, 2006

Rakı, Nargıles, Ephes and Frıendshıp

Our stay at the Hotel Bella here ın Selçuk has exceeded any expectatıons we could have had. The hospıtalıty, frıendshıp and level of cuısıne has been extraordınary. On the nıght we arrıved we decıded to have dınner here, up on the rooftop terrace that has become our favorıte spot. There are tables that are open to the aır and one end of the terrace has glazed walls on two sıdes and a brıck fıreplace on the the other. On the glazed end there are padded seats wıth huge cushıons on the back. The best wındow seats ın the world. But thats not all! The chef offers coffee and Turkısh tea all day long, the ınternet connectıon ıs up here, an extensıve travel lıbrary, other travelers collect up here, and ıf all else faıls to engage you, you can gaze up at the stork nest, castle and street lıfe.

On Friday we had a personal guide, Savash, a totally charming integral part of the triumvirate that run the Hotel Bella. First we went to the Efes Museum here in town, a very nice, informal but professional setup. Savash drove us up to Sirence = see ren jay, a hill town outside of Selchuk. Sirence is a nestled in the hills and after walking around we had a lunch at Pervin's terrace looking over the town = we had an assortment of very thin crepes with spinach, cheese and spinach inside, also some tiny lamb ravioli. All made by Pervin on the spot! We choose a large table with padded seats, and shared together.

Then we drove to Efesus. A very large and isolated site with a very long history, which I will not try to set out here. Luckily we all had cool clothes, hats and lots of sunscreen as we were fortunate to have a beautiful day at the ruins. We did have a sketching opportunity in a nice shady spot on some large marble steps looking out over the marble street that stretched out to the harbor of Efes. It used to be the terminus of the Silk Road and all the goods and trade between Asia and Europe occurred through Efesus. Just amazing.

Then we had Savash called and we got taken home. Paul decided to take a run home and managed to get back to the Hotel Bella with his usual unerring internal GPS. Before dinner Nazmi took us down to his carpet showroom and gave us all, including Nebi, one of new friends, a fantastic survey of tribal carpets. A lot about how they are made, the tradition of girls learning how to weave and getting better and better until they get so good they can sell their carpets and get married! I am not clearly setting this up, but these tribal carpets are part of a very traditional cultural practice that involves a major part of how these cultures function.

Another fantastic dinner at the Hotel Bella, lots of sharing and talking with Erdahl, Nazmi and Savash. Perhaps I can post some pictures to supplement the blog when I get home as I don't have time to paint the picture with words.

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