I slept seven hours in the night bus, so i was ready for an intense day in Ephesus. As i didn’t wanted to miss anything I got an organized tour. The first surprise: I had a guide that talked in English, well, he was Spanish. There were also an Argentinean couple in the bus that we became friendly with. The two Korean girls seem like they didn’t have much fun in their English tour.

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About Ephesus I’m not going to tell you much as Wikipedia tells it better than me.

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Cruise: noun. Big boat that has the skill of instantly filling up any monument with en enormous amount of people. In the background the remains of the library.

The most interesting thing about this area of Turkey is the Roman and Greek past. The Romans can be found in the ruins, the Greek is a bit more hidden. The Greek expansion had a big repercussion in the Mediterranean coast, this was part of Greece so part of the Greek thinking was born here. For example, a bit to the north, in Mileto the philosophers started thinking about the works, the beginning of philosophy, they speculated of what the cosmos consisted this being the first time anyone would think about it and the first time calling it : cosmos. The philosophers were not even thinking about men yet. Tales were from Mileto who created a trigonometric theorem, was also a great philosopher, the first of the seven wise Greeks.

Pergamum library between Mileto and Ephesus grew so much that Egypt prohibited exporting papyrus to it as it was starting to over-shadow it’s great libraries and that was a way for them to stop creating books and grow. So Pergamum had to develop their own form of writing material, creating something similar to current books and not being rolled as papyrus.
Thoughts are more dangerous than armies that’s why I’ve gone through so many burned libraries, from Sarajevo to Alexandria and now here, also Ephesus library was destroyed. As the book about Greece and Turkey I’m reading says( Ulysses Heart from Javier Reverte), ‘Burning books is as old a sport as writing them’.

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Doesn’t it remind you to the pharmacy symbol? Yes, it comes from here.

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Artemisa´s statue hidden in a room. Don´t know why they hide one of the best sculptures they had. My guide pointed it to me.

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The amphy theatre.

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We went to visit the place where virgin Mary was supposed to die. It was discovered by the dream of a nun. On the wall you can see the papers of people that ‘make a wish’… I mean… ask for something.

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Ruins of San Joan monastery, the Artemisa sanctuary was destroyed and there’s only one column left, when it was built it was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

If you want guides around Turkey, Andrés and Derya know everything, Derya is Turk and talks English and Spanish perfectly, she´s an official guide in French and Rumanian. Here are their mails in case you want a tailored trip with them, around turkey or just Ephesus. They know someone may call, they’ve got the mail from here. dibiri@hotmail.com and a_velmon@hotmail.com.

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Isa Bey Camii mosque. Normally mosques have a big carpet that covers all the floor, here rugs are donated, much more cozy, some of them are really elaborated ones.

The tour finished and as good Spaniards and not knowing very well how we ended up having a beer. Cristina and Isabel had to wait to go to the airport and we were having a chat in a bar in the seaside.

A beer, let’s go to the bar of a friend, why don’t we have a swim in the pool at home? Spain this and that, why don’t I get some Spanish jamón with water melon(typical Spanish summer dish)… astonishing! Spanish ham, so good!!! Andres was cold turkey of Spanish blood and me, without knowing it too. A little reminiscence of Spain with a beer, jamón and laughs. Like an episode of “Spaniards around the world”(a Spanish TV show that goes to different countries to meet Spanish expats). Andrés, two years in Kudasai, tourist guide, he’s got breakfast with a ColaCao(Spanish brand of cacao for breakfast) on the table and watches TVE International, the Spanish TV, so he’s updated on what’s going on in Spain.

I met some of his friends, he talked to me about his job and the relationships with Turks, we compared the food, the customs, the bards, we talked about Madrid… the night became long. In the background “Faithless” music was pumping, I asked for something fast, after the night bus and the long day I needed some energy.

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Ladies beach at night. An english quarter.

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Andrés showed me all the bars in town, a much bigger variety than what I could imagine. The most extreme for me was seeing the bars where English ladies around 70, dressed as if they where 14(in England when they are 14 they already wear heels, mini-skirts and make up…) went to experiment what Andres called “Turk passion”, and I think it may be as an exchange of some liras…

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DJ Box.

I’m curious to see how was it for Cristian and Isa. They were going to be 3 days in Madrid before going back to Buenos Aires. They want to eat well so I made some recommendations that they didn’t know about.
– They wanted Spanish ham so I sent them to eat Joselito ham to “Sula” in Jorge Juan street.
– They wanted Tapas so I sent them to the most curious tapas in “la Gabinoteca” from the same people as “Las tortilla de Gabino”.
– They wanted Japanese so I sent them to “Kabuki”.
– To send them to something intermediate between Asian and Mediterranean, I sent them to “Nodo”, already a classic that in summer they have a fabulous terrace. Mmmmm that pork ear dim sum is one of the rarest and best things you can eat.
– And even they didn’t ask for anything like this I told them to go at night to “Pan de Lujo” asking for a table next to the window, a real lux.

I hope he sends me an e-mail and tell me if he’s liked the places

Next visit Pamukkale.



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I’ve got my Iranian visa!!!!

It has not been that complicated, but like to get any visa I have had to fill up the common forms giving my information several times. Going to an embassy to get a visa is a process in which you have to abstract yourself and not think, put the head down, do what they tell you to do and not try to find the meaning to it. That they have the passport there for a week… OK. That you have to bring a photocopy of it… they could do it with the 60 Euro they are charging but…OK. That you have to put the money in a bank that is 15 minutes walking uphill… OK. Each time I go to an embassy(consulate technically) I have the feeling of being a kid in school that does things just because you have to do them, I feel like Bart Simpson writing 100 times in the blackboard “I want to get into your beautiful country and I promise not doing anything bad”,  someday embassies will make you do that just to get a visa.

I had doubts on coming to Istanbul this year but Istanbul is the European capital of culture and I couldn’t miss it…. Well, ok, I got to know it when I was there…. I thought that doing a trip along the silk road and skipping Istanbul didn’t make sense. I´m very happy about having come to visit for a few days so I arranged all to get the precious visa there. Now I’m super happy for having come here. I came here 7 yeasrs ago and it´s been interesting seeing the change, now it´s a LOT more liveable.

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The first day we went to a Turkish barbers, it was surprising how much care they put on it, however I have to say I get a better shave when I do it myself.

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From the typical things to visit, what i liked the most was the Byzantine Birbindirek cistern with the impressive dimensions of 65×143 meters with 335 columns. To bring the water here they had nearly 20km of accueducts.
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Details of a column with a sidewise medusa.

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Near Grand Bazaar. I didn´t enjoy the grand bazaar at all, just 4 types of shops repeated with nothing authentic. Most of it fake designer clothes.
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Istanbul is a total metropolis, thinking that around you there are 16 million people is somehow disturbing.

Have I told you I have the Iranian visa????

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Turkey is doing some big efforts to get closer to Europe. It all started with Ataturk that secularized the legal system and now Turkey is changing the laws to be more European. The question of if Turkey can become part of Europe is difficult and I´ll give my opinion once I leave Turkey.

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I love corn. Ideal for a snack and not searching for a restaurant being starved, that’s the worst.

When you are travelling and you say you are Spanish everybody asks you about football. I know about football as much as about nuclear fusion so my football conversations are pretty sad. For you to get an idea, in Montenegro I got to know that Messi was playing in Barcelona and the other day I saw him playing with the Argentinian team, surprise for me because I thought he’d be Catalonian.

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Under the Bosporus bridge with 1047 meters. Just next to it there’s an ideal area to have something in the evening with a real Turkish atmosphere, most of the tourists don’t come that far. The speciality is stuffed potato with absolutely anything you can think of inside. We went by bicycle, an extreme sport in Istanbul traffic.

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We got the metro to the last stop, the area is called Masak, we were not sure what awaited us there, a posh area with designer cafes and restaurants with salads for Turks in suits. It was in fact quite similar to any other neighbourhood but with glass buildings, also there were tons of  garages, ah, and of course, a Starbucks.

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Some taste of an American city.

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I’ve been reading the book “The book of silk”. As it was pretty big I coudn’t bring it too far. The edition is very well done with a lot of pictures and examples.

The book is structured by geographical area and tells the story, how it was descended in Geographic and history from the unknown Chinesse masters to current designers.
It also tells how most of the countries has tried to start a silk indistry in their borders. Places like Syria, Egypt, Scandinavia, England, Ireland and United States has tried to plant mullberry trees to grow the worms.
Here in Istanbul it tells how unwanted wifes were strangled with silk scarfs in the Topkapi palace, but it also tells what has been found in Burgos, my home town. Very interesting.

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In the port area under the Topkapi palace. “With so many fishermen I´ll sure grab something to eat”

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What the cat was looking at.

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Fish caught freshly in the Bospherous is cooked on the boats at the Quay side and sold to the public every night. It looked really well but with the amount of ships that cross the Bsophorous every day I had some doubts on the healthiness of eating it. I had it and it was good.

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I love being around the Galata bridge when the call to pray, the song of each mosque arrives but not exactly at the same time. To come here in the tram a girl with scarf on her hair and last Adidas model had the music loud in her headphones and I could hear Katy Perry’s song “I kissed a girl and I liked it”. I think I need another shave.

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Ancient Lighthouse at the entrance to the harbour. The most beautiful view of Uskudar, the asian area, is near the Kiz kulesi lighthouse. This was my last view of Istanbul before leaving to the bus station to get the night bus to go to Efesus.

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Never ever in my life have I seen so many buses than in the Istanbul bus station. It´s also true that I´ve never been in a bus factory.

Let´s see how much I sleep!
By the one that has an Iranian visa in his passport.