Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pickle Juice

Izmir was not terribly interesting for me. My hosts were, again, university students and mostly busy. Izmir is the 3rd largest city in Turkey and once ancient Smyrna, birthplace of Homer and all sorts of ancient history. Despite all that, there is almost nothing to see or do there. There are no ruins or anything. I walked around a bit, guided by my host and another guest from Spain. I have found the best drink for my family. Pickle juice. There was actually a guy on the street selling it. It is just the juice from a jar of pickles in a glass with lemon juice added. Add a few pickle slices, pickled cabbage and carrot and there you go. It is pretty hard to just down a glass but I managed somehow.... The most exciting thing was the HC meeting that night where I ran into Dave and Malika again. They were the hitchhikers I met in Istanbul that convinced me to hitch through North Cyprus. We were both headed the same way and we met up again the next day in Ephesus. Ephesus is the most famous and important Roman ruins in Turkey and some of the best preserved in the world. The city itself was the capital of Asia minor at one point and home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the original wonders of the world. All that remains of that temple is the base and one pillar though the rest of the ruins are very nice. Tons of columns and well preserved streets. Personally I prefer Pompeii.
As with all things, I was corrupted into hitching again but as three people it isn't easy. We ended up splitting up with me in front a ways so that Dave and Malika could tell the driver to stop and pick me up after they were already in. Pretty good scam. Did I mention that the buses here are really expensive? The train is half the price or less so we took the train to Denizli and stayed with a doctor host and his family. I think we intimidated him or something because he was nice the first night but the next morning we were forced to move on by his wife. From there we hitched to Pamukkale, a popular tourist destination just down the road. I ended up getting picked up almost instantly so I lost the other two and never found them again. Such is the way I guess. It was fun while it lasted. Pamukkale has more ruins and huge white rock terraces that form bathing pools on the side of a hill. Interesting but I thing you really have to be here in summer to appreciate it. It is far too cold for swimming and the town is empty.
Tonight I will take an overnight train back to Istanbul and then get on my plane home. Just a quick stop in Amsterdam left to go. I guess I'll see some of you soon.
Ammon

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