Thursday, November 13, 2008

Touring around Selcuk

I'm in the middle of a tour of Turkey. I'm staying at Selcuk at the moment, and I'm seeing a few ruins over a few days - Ephesus, Hierapolis, Pergamon.  

In some ways, a tour's a good idea. You're bussed around to all the places you want to see, tour guides explain the history of a place while you're there, and you're given decent hotel rooms. After 3 months of sharing dorm rooms with snoring, stinking, noisy backpackers, it's nice to have the privacy of a private room. It's liberating to realise that I could blog in the nude if so inclined. 

But in many other ways, a tour's a bad idea. You definitely feel dumber on tour. Because everything is basically just a footstep away from the tour bus, you lose all sense of location. You live in a cocoon of buffet meals, air-conditioned buses and large floppy hats. I'm staying in the middle of Selcuk, but I haven't been further than a block around the hotel because.... well, there's really no point. Most of everything I require has been provided by the tour, and I can't really summon the motivation to have a gander at the town. 

So now, I've done travelling one way, and I've done it another. And while a tour's much more comfortable, it really doesn't compare with the discomforts and petty irritations of solo travelling. I'll never do it this way again. 

That said, it really is something to walk down the main street of Ephesus towards the Library of Celsus. And the view from the theatre is magnificent. You really get an idea of how grand and imposing a city like Ephesus would've been back in its heyday. And the age of the place is simply staggering. I was sitting in the latrines, and it was awe-inspiring to realise that toga-wearing dudes were sitting in the exact same spot, doing much the same thing, 1500 years ago. 

Or maybe it's just me. I've got a low threshold for awe. 

The youngsters beat Wigan 3-0 last night, with Jack Wilshere and Carlos Vela showing the world why Wenger's not as deluded as we were all thinking a week ago. I didn't watch it, so I can't comment. I wish Wenger would play Vela in the first team, though, because I'd like to see the guy play. 

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