Amazing Ruins! Aphrodisias
Aphrodisias Travel Blog› entry 15 of 19 › view all entries
January 5th, 2009 – by: Eric
One of the things I didn't like so much about Ephesus was that it was packed with tour groups and people. Although the ruins and buildings were well preserved, we had gotten used to exploring countless ruins on our own, and the experience wasn't as immersive with tons of other people around. What made Aphrodisias so great was that the ruins were in spectacular condition, and there were almost no tourists (this is during the offseason).
My favorite part of this place was the Stadium. After you've been around Turkey for a little bit, you'll quickly discover that most ruin sites consist of theaters and broken columns. I think this is because these were the only structures monumental enough to survive 2000 years of weather, earthquakes, and looting. But, after the 134th theater, they all start looking the same. The Stadium is what, for me, separated Aphrodisas from all the other ruins. It is enormous -- 300m long, and incredibly impressive to see first hand. To imagine it filled with tens of thousands of spectators, watching a sporting event or gladitorial battle, is truly an amazing thought. Especially when there aren't any other tourists there to take away from the image.
In fact, the only other living things there were dozens of stray cats. Literally 15 cats swarmed us when we first arrived. One followed us around for over 15 minutes and seemed particularly fond of Phil's leg, much to his displeasure.
Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to see the museum, which was a shame as the exhibits and presentation of some of the works looked spectacular. I'd recommend setting aside at least an hour or two just to see the museum.
Aphrodisias is a little bit out of the way of almost anything else, and it was difficult to get back. We went to the main road outside the site, which stretched for miles in either direction before the nearest (small) town. A dolmus is supposed to pass by every hour, but after waiting for a bit we didn't see one.
It was a fairly depressing walk. The rain was not hard, but it was relentless, and the road was so deserted that we would only see a car going either direction every few minutes. All of us would turn around whenever we heard the sound of a vehicle approaching, but inevitably it would turn out to be some commercial truck. After about an hour of walking we started hitch-hiking, but the few vehicles going our direction just sped past, throwing up water from the road as they passed. And a crazy big dog jumped out of the bushes on the side of the road and started snarling at us , which provided some excitement.
Eventually we reached a crossroads with a small covered bench. I don't think either of us really knew what to do at this point so we just sat down, out of the rain, and stared out at the road. I was holding a pathetic dirt-covered stick in my hands that I had found on the side of the road, the idea being that I would miraculously save my friends from certain death by beating the dog if it reappeared. The dog didn't return, which was fortunate because the stick was so weak that I basically broke it in half just by swinging it in the air repeatedly out of boredom.
Finally, a small car approached from the distance, and Phil held out his thumb, more as a joke than anything else, because realistically none of us was expecting a car to stop for 3 guys. But then, miraculously, it stopped! There were two men up in front, and in the backseat they had piles of blankets or quilts that they must have been planning to sell somewhere.
They were going in our direction, and things were going great until they dropped us off at the bus station. At this point the driver indicated that not only did he want to be paid, but he wanted to be paid 2x more than what it would have cost for us to take the buses to get there! Considering that in the beginning he told Phil that the ride was going to be free, we were a bit upset. If he had told us from the first that he was going to charge us, that would have been fine by me, but to change it around like that smacked of dishonesty. We ended up paying about half of what he was requesting, and he seemed satisfied with that, and drove away in his rogue stealth taxi to find other customers, I presume.
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