The scale is astonishing as one walks along the weathered marble road into the center of Ephesus. At the fulcrum a massive amphitheater, once capable of seating over 25,000 roaring onlookers still stands its ground triumphantly welcoming visitors. The largest preserved citadel of ancient Mediterranean civilization, Ephesus is a sprawling maze of temples, housing complexes, libraries, markets, and public spaces. It’s a tangible testament to the might civilization’s early champions wielded. Perhaps the most notable structure of the city’s remains, The Library of Celsus, is a reconstructed marvel of the exceptionally ornate Roman architecture of the early first century AD. Marveling at the obscene detail carved into the imported marble it is not unreasonable to argue that this caliber of architecture hasn’t been created since.
Another long bus ride, some hitchhiking, and a few fierce bouts of dolmus fare bartering got me to the brink of a refreshing dip in the strikingly blue Mediterranean. I had exceptionally high hopes for the famed body of water. The vibrant color gradient had been adorning postcards since I entered Turkey, and the relentless heat made it all too appealing. Following a trail of internet forum posts I arrived to the Saban Treehouses in the town of Olympos to begin my coastal exploration. Sort of an unpolished bungalow situation, the tree houses offered private accommodation, breakfast, and a truly spectacular dinner each evening for a price that simply could not be passed up. From a budget backpacking, beach destination, stuff your face with tasty Turkish delights perspective, there is simply not a better deal on the planet. I settled in for a few days to rest some weary legs.