Is this thing on? Hello? (Brushes dust off of photo files...)
Oh, hello. You might remember me, I'm someone who goes places, takes photos of said places, and puts them on a blog. No? It's been nearly a year since I was here, with some photos from a trip now a year and half back, to Turkey for work and then fun. We went to France last spring, and I just got back from Belize (sigh....) and I can't start on that magnificence until we finish up with trips prior. Shall we continue our romp through Turkey?
Traveling in Turkey alone was a daunting thought. Not the solitude, but a bevy of other semi-formed, half-irrational fears. Thankfully, it's that first day alone, that single empowering day proving to your harshest self-critic, that sets the tone for the rest of the adventure. And with that, it only makes sense to set out for Şirince.
Şirince is a quiet place of a tumultuous fate. Said to have been settled by escaped Greek slaves when the much-lauded port city of Ephesus (photos in the next post) was abandoned in the 15th century, half a dozen miles down the valley by winding road, the town looks as though it were cobbled together step by rocky step, building by crooked building, like a jigsaw puzzle against the hillside. It's stone walls are thick, cool, and whitewashed with fading blue trim. When the Greek inhabitants of the town were expelled in 1923 as part of the religious-motivated Greek and Turkish population exchange, the town was given it's current name, balconies were added to the stone houses in turkish style, and the church became a monument as the mosque anchored the new center of town. Today, the town is known for it's wine making. Day tourists roam up and down the staircases, through narrow winding streets, tasting wine and maybe buying some. Not, mind you, because it's great wine, but because... hey, they make wine here, and that's unusual. I spent three nights here, in the Kirkinca Guest House. I highly recommend. The cook brings you a breakfast feast while you are sitting high up in the tower of the stacked guest porches. The sun pushes heat into your sleepy bones -- and in the summer, that happens FAST, so don't miss that golden hour of perfect morning, and it's twin, dusty dusk.
Perched on a hillside, the sun comes up slowly, with a wan pink light in the morning, and descends almost regrettably, grabbing once or twice more at the town with hot orange fingers reaching up from between the hills of the valley to the west, towards Selçuk, and from the long-abandoned Ephesus. This is when the heat fades, when the town has color, and scent, and sound. There's a donkey braying in the trees, tied up until tomorrow's labors begin anew; there are couple of goats bleating their annoyance from a pen of branches and tarps; there's a dog fight out near the cemetary; there's spice in the air and woodsmoke; the dust in the air reflects gold and glittering peach; now the whitewash is searing orange, now thin pink, now a pale blue-purple as the light dies. THIS is where you remember how much you love to wander.