Wednesday 22nd August (Pamukkale and Train to Selcuk)
Nothing planned today except a train trip late afternoon, so I had the luxury of going to bed last night and not setting my alarm. Got up about 8 this morning, and after a leisurely shower, ambled to the breakfast room. Just about everything you want here in the buffet-style breakfast. Even down to a choice of 3 minute or 5 minute boiled eggs.
I now have a wait till 2pm for my pick-up for the station. This means I have been forced to sit by the pool reading a book and having a beer. I suppose it shows that a journey like this can't be all fun!
Picked up promptly at 2pm. I think the driver was short on time from the way he drove. He must have been no more than ten feet from the car in front, travelling at around 60mph. What was even more disconcerting was he was driving like that one handed round hairpin bends while on his mobile phone!
|The Station Buffet|
We went via the agent, who tried to talk me out of going by train. It is slower and not air conditioned etc etc. Finally he convinced me that I was crazy to take the train, and he went off to book the bus.
The bus was full, so back to the train. Another mad drive, this time to the station. Not to the main terminus as I was expecting, but to a small halt. At the station level crossing, the driver turned and drove down the line and on to the platform. I suppose it's easier than carrying the luggage! The ticket master had never seen a Eurorail pass before, and there was some discussion as to how the whole thing worked, but in the end he decided I was legit.
|The Train Interior|
As I had 30 minutes to wait I went along to the "buffet" for a drink and some water for the journey. Having bought those, I went further along the platform to take some photos, when I was called back to the buffet. The guy running it had made a cup of tea and invited me to join him.
The train arrived, and I was ushered on. The journey this time is only a short one at three and a half hours. The train was quite comfortable, more so than the UK equivalent. Although there was no baggage storage area, the passageway between the seats was wide enough for both people and baggage.
|Air Conditioning, Turkish Railways Style|
Shortly after leaving, I had a little wander round to take some photos. When I went into the join between ourselves and the next carriage, I was surprised to find the carriage doors wide opened. And they said there was no air conditioning on the train!
The journey was quite relaxing, and as we got closer to Izmir, the vegetation became greener, and the terrain a bit more rugged. The last few miles involved a long uphill flog over the coastal mountains, followed a helter skelter style ride down the other side. On the approach to the town of Selcuk, I could plainly see part of the ancient city of Ephesus, my destination for tomorrow.
At Selcuk, I was greeted by a man who said he was to take me to my hotel. He had "tout" written all over him. That and the fact he asked what hotel I was staying at. Eventually found the proper rep who soon had me on my way to where I'm staying at Kusadasi.
Kusadasi is about 90Km south of Izmir on the coast of the Aegean. The first view of it is through a mountain pass, not unlike the approach to Kyrenia. The hotel looks quite comfortable and has spectacular views across the bay. Unfortunately I'll not have a lot of time here as I'm off to Antalya on the night bus tomorrow.