Hey everyone! I’m back from my Izmir/Chios vacation. This post will be a bit long, but mainly because I have so many pictures. In retrospect, I did a lot more than I thought I would. At some point in the near future, I’ll share how I got to all these destinations in case you want to visit.
So my roommate Keanna and I flew to Izmir from Ankara last Saturday. Izmir is the third-lergest city in Turkey and is on the Aegean cost of Anatolia. We stayed in a hostel in the center of the city, which made our daytrips easy to plan.
The first day, we took a train from Izmir to Denizli in order to see Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Hierapolis is an ancient Greek city that was popular for its thermal springs and the mineral pools of Pamukkale. As hot water flows down the mountain, the loss of carbon dioxide leaves limestone deposits and results in a white appearance. It’s forbidden to wear shoes while walking down the slopes, but the water feels amazing.
The second day, we went to Selçuk, a small town about an hour outside of Izmir. Selçuk is known for a few things: the Basilica of St. John, the final house of the Virgin Mary, and Ephesus. The pictures I’m showing are only of Ephesus. Mary’s house turned out to be quite underwhelming. Between Hierapolis and Ephesus, the latter is my favorite. It was founded in the 4th century BC, and much of it is still standing. I shamelessly walked around with my guidebook, calling out facts to Keanna about the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the Gates of Hercules and the huge theatre carved into the mountain. Seriously, go to Ephesus.
On Wednesday, Keanna and I took a ferry to Greece. We almost missed to the boat, so the trip could only get better from there. And it did. Chios is a beautiful island, and the food was some of the best I’ve eaten since coming overseas. We spent Thursday wandering the island, but it would have been better if we rented a car. Some of the towns in Chios include Mesta (the whole town is a labyrinth with a church in the middle) and Pyrgi (many of the buildings are painted in a Byzantine style sgraffito).
I won’t be taking another trip until the end of the month for Republic Day (a major Turkish holiday). I’m not sure where I’m going yet, but I think it’ll be back to Berlin. I’ll let you know!