Pamukale, Selcuk/Ephesus and Ankara, Turkey travel tips

Archway at Heiropolis, Turkey
Archway at Heiropolis | Photo by Lauren Girardin

Where we ate:

  • Edjer Restaurant, Selcuk – They had vegetables. I’m not talking tomatoes and cucumbers – real vegetables like pickled beets and sea beans and…well, ok, they’re not the most desirable of vegetables, but after weeks of too much doner kebap, you’ll be digging it too: YEH
  • Donerci Kural, Selcuk – A little place near our hotel that was doing a bumping business, they made a nice doner: YEH
  • Okmus Mercan, Selcuk – The hummus was tasty, though the beans and schnitzel were just ok: MEH

Where we stayed:

  • Kervansaray Pension, Pamukale – The room was tacky, with bright yellow walls, orange sherbert polyester curtains and bedding. They said they had WiFi, and they didn’t. When we went to ask about the internet, there was no one at the hotel. We napped-and-dashed after four hours, escaping to another hotel: NAH
  • Venus Pension, Pamukale – This place is such a great deal, I can’t imagine that the prices will stay so low for long. The food from their kitchen is not that good, but there are not a lot of other hotel choices in town: YEH
  • Jimmy’s Place, Selcuk – Well located two blocks from the bus station, unfortunately they’ve let themselves go. Needs a new paint job, bathrooms are dirty, and WiFi doesn’t reach the rooms. However, the hours-long generous Turkish breakfast buffet almost makes up for all the flaws: MEH

What we saw:

  • Travertines, Pamukale – The entrance price doubled in Spring 2008, then went up again in August when the price of all sites in Turkey doubled. Take Sam’s advice, go in the late morning, bring snacks, and stay through sunset: YEH
  • Heiropolis, Pamukale – Included in the entrance to the travertines, this is a sprawling area of ruins – almost too much. Take your time and explore: YEH
  • Ephesus, near Selcuk – Go at lunch time when the tour groups vanish. A nice set of heavily restored ruins, though they didn’t blow us away: YEH
  • Ataturk Memorial – We broke up a long bus ride with a stop over in Ankara, and just about the only thing to do is visit the Ataturk Memorial. It was a bizarre, propagandist site, filled with mobs of kids and soldiers on field trips. The museum has various collections of nationalistic paintings, overly-detailed historic displays, an unnerving wax figure of Ataturk and even more unnerving taxidermied figure of his dog, and collections of Ataturk’s fancy-schmancy personal possessions. Hugely entertaining: YEH