Dreaming of the Turkish Blue Coast – Selcuk, Blue Coast, Turkey

Dreaming of the Turkish Blue Coast
Selcuk, Blue Coast, Turkey

The cold winter rain is drowning Oregon, and I am wrapped in a wool sweater planning how fast I can escape the mud. While Oregon is heaven for twelve months of the year, in the thirteenth month it’s hell. When you live even temporarily in hell, you start planning to go to heaven.

As a traveler, I have my heaven all picked out: Turkey. Turkey, the wonderful land of warm sun, great food, friendly people and lovely beaches. I have traveled enough to fill two passports, I know the backstreets of Rome better than downtown Portland, but when I think about the best place to be, it is the small town of Selcuk, Turkey, near the beaches and the famous Ephesus ruins. Selcuk is located in the middle of the west coast of Turkey, a long day bus ride from Istanbul, or a half-day boat trip from the Greek island of Samos.

I first visited Selcuk in 2002 with my mother and sister as traveling companions. As we left Bodrum on the bus, our pension owner (The Rainbow) said he would call ahead for the Artemis Guest House to pick us up. The cell phone is such a blessing, because that bus did not go to Selcuk, but the driver dropped us in a car lot about ten miles from town. Our van from “Artemis Guest House” was waiting for us.

Visiting the Ruins
Visiting the Ruins
Every traveler returns from a trip with memories of the perfect place to stay. Artemis House in Selcuk is the place we talk about when we are sitting in the garden in Oregon. When we arrived, tired of buses, and the traveling life, the owners met us with cold drinks to refresh us while we arranged accommodations. The swimming pool cooled us down, as the temperature rose. We sat in their lovely onsite dining room and snacked on fish and pide. We settled into our clean rooms, with ultra hot water, with the happy sighs of travelers who know they have arrived in heaven.

Artemis Guest House arranged our tour to the ancient city of Ephesus. Bron, the guesthouse owner also arranged for my mother to go to service at Mother Mary’s house, which made her trip special. The local market was the best market I went to in all my travels. The choice of linens and clothes was overwhelming. I crammed even more table linens into my bag. When I heard about a concert at the Ephesus amphitheatre, Bron at the Artemis helped arrange tickets and a driver for several of us. The highlight of my trip was seeing the City of Ephesus by moonlight while hearing the Bolero played by the Istanbul symphony.

Topaki Palace
Topaki Palace
The city fathers have worked hard to make the center of the town as inviting as possible – it’s a “No car zone”, filled with great restaurants and pubs. Selcuk is just the right size of village, walking across the center takes about 7 minutes. The vendors are friendly without being right in your face. The small museum near the center of town is a world class museum. The Discovery Channel used it as the base for their documentary on Roman gladiators. The special exhibit was amazing!!

We stayed five days on our first trip, and five on our second trip and now I am considering a month at least to see all the sights and enjoy the company. So how can you fill the days and nights? The beaches are ten minutes away by inexpensive mini buses.

The huge harbor town of Kusidasi is about 20 minutes away; it’s a rather high-priced concrete jungle of a tourist town, with far too many of those tedious touts. But the belly dance show at the Caravanasi in the evening is wonderful fun.

The calciumed white cliffs of Pamukkale are a wonderful day trip. We hired driver to take us to the Temple at Didmya, then to the beach. The hill town of Sirence seduced my sister, between the wine cellars and the views, she started dreaming of her own small villa. Five other major Roman/ Greek ruins are in days trip distance. With such an extensive list of fun things to see and do, and all the friendly people, Selcuk is a city that has hijacked many travelers’ plans to move on.

Dancing in the Belly Dance Music Store
Dancing in the Belly Dance Music Store
The friends I made at the Artemis House continue to stay in touch by email, asking when I am returning. My new friends at the Belly Dance store complain that I don’t come often enough. My friend at the travel agency promised to fine me the perfect Turkish husband when I return. Having friends and acquaintances changes the quality of travel, while I visited Europe many times, I was never able to make the connections that came so easily in Selcuk. Now I have friends, my social calendar was so incredible full the last time I was there! So let it rain in Oregon, I am off to Selcuk.

If you come to Turkey from Samos, Greece, Artemis House will pick you up and bring you to small town Turkish heaven if you just call from the ferry docks. For detailed directions of how to get to Selchuk and what to do while there, visit the extensive Turkish information page at Artemis Guest House.

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