The line was already starting to form as we pulled up to the ferry port. People were walking down the road pulling overstuffed suitcases. Everyone was looking for coffee, but we had to wait until we were boarded.
We queued in line and started talking to a couple from Athens. She was in her car and he was riding his GS. Whatever works, I guess. Tickets in hand we went back out to the bike waiting for the ferry to arrive. Several people were standing around that looked like part of a group, with a couple photographers along. My curiosity got the best of me and I went over to talk with them. They were taking part in the UK version of “The Amazing Race” called “Race Across The World”. They were starting their second leg of their journey. Melanie is a fan of the US version, but had already boarded the ferry and was up on deck.
Finally it was my turn to board so I rode up a very uneven docking made worse by thick hemp ropes filling in the cracks. Once on board I lashed Yellow Donkey to the rail and headed up to find Melanie. I told her of the people on board and we ended finding each other, both interested in the others trip. We enjoyed conversation and shared coffee, my gift to them, since they are traveling on very limited funds. It was just great. In the end we were also asked a few questions by the cameraman and had our picture taken.
A short 30 minute ferry ride had us in port at Cesme, Turkey. Shortly after riding off the ferry we found an ATM and a small cafe for our first of many Turkish coffees. The owner was fascinated with our trip and loved that we had decided to come to his country. He proudly showed us where he lived above the cafe and his pride and joy, his motorcycle in the clean alley behind the store. The owner made wonderful coffee and pastries.
Back on the bike and headed to Seluck and the ruins of Ephesus. We had found a small hotel that seemed to have a view of the city on booking.com. We climbed and higher into the hills and the roads went from bad to worse, then to, well nothing. It seemed the hotel didn’t exist. Back down the hill and into town, closed roads and the market. We finally found a hotel that was quite nice, but way out of our price range. Across the ally was a hotel named the Australian/New Zealand Pension. Rooms were nice and the new owner had bought it from the Aussie that had opened the place.
After booking in to the hotel we set out on foot to explore the city and find a bite to eat. Passing a small cafe with seating on the street with an attached rug store, we were ushered by the owner to a nice table with a colorful umbrella providing shade. He recommended a wonderful lunch and sat and talked with us. The business was his and his wife’s. She did the cooking and he spent his time between Seluck, Istanbul and the United States. Every year he would spend a couple months driving through the US selling his beautiful rugs.
Later that evening as we walked the streets looking through the shops we passed another cafe and the owner came out to talk to us. We had a fun banter which resulted in him calling me his brother. Deciding this was where we wanted to eat we sat down to order. After we ordered our meal, dishes would come to the table which we didn’t order. He was very proud of our food and wished to share them with us, including dessert and and Raki. The bill only included what we ordered. the rest was his gift to us. Going back the next night the same thing happened. At the end of the night, many hugs were passed around. We ate in the shadow of an ancient aqueduct in the shadow of the Temple of Artemis, (built around 550 BC), and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The next day was spent exploring the ancient city of Ephesus. Built in the 10th century BC, it is close to the coast and is one of the 12 cities of the Ionian League. Among the ancient building is the Library Celsus and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators. Ephesus was an important center for early Christianity from about 50 AD. Ephesus is one of the seven churches of Asia that are mentioned in the Book of Revelations. It is believed that Gospel of John was written here and Mary lived out the last years of her life here. The place is spectacular are took several hours to walk through.
The next morning we headed out without a real destination, just south. At a stop for fuel and coffee we were sitting at a table and a car pulls up. A man jumps out and runs inside toward us. The conversation went like this. Him: “Is that your bike outside?” Me: “Yes.” Him: “Are you from the US?” Us: “Yes.” Him: “I want to talk to you and get to know you. I don’t have time right now, I’m with my boss. Please meet me at the Mayday Bar in Gulluk, down toward Bodrum, about three hours away at 3 PM.” Us: “Okay. See you there.” And he ran out, jumped in the car and sped away. We both looked at each other and said, why not? Who can really turn down an invite like that. We spent a couple hours exploring the city of Bodrum since we had some time to kill.
And that is how we met this fantastic man and friend, Ferhat.
We sat at the bar, run by a lady from the UK, and talked, drank, ate and met his friends throughout the night. He had an amazing philosophy on life and working. He was a Tug Boat captain and you could tell, loved life. He was such a kind soul. He found us a place to stay at the nicest hotel in town. At the end of the night he gave me the ultimate compliment by “placing me at the top of his head”. If I needed ANYTHING, he would be there for me. Little did we know that would happen two days later.
But thats for next time.