It all started with a Peach….
Well, okay, maybe not quite a peach, but it had a lot to do with my early impression of living Turkey.
I met my husband while he was working in the US in the mid-90’s. A couple of years later, he received a job offer in Istanbul, his home “town” and politely asked if I would join him. I figured better to go than to wonder “what if”. Needless to say, for many reasons, I am glad I moved.
When we first moved to Turkey in the summer of 1997, we took a road trip from Istanbul along the coast, down the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. We had to end this two week adventure in Kas (pronounced Kash), and head back up through the middle of the country to get back to Istanbul to start our new life.
Although short, it was an amazing start. It was the first time I experienced Turkey outside of Istanbul, and I fell in love with it for many reasons. Everywhere I looked, something significant had happened on the same soil hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. As we continued south, it was during a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus that the grandeur of it all began to sit in – the history, culture and… the peaches.
Ephesus is probably best known as an ancient Greek and Roman city, but it is much older than that. It is tangible proof that ancient civilizations we grew up reading about really existed. It is larger than life. I read that even though it has been consistently under excavation since the late 1800s, that only 10% of the area has been excavated.
I have visited a few times, and it is always interesting to see what has been uncovered. I will also forever be in awe of the Library of Celsus and never tire of sitting in one of the theaters to imagine what it would be like to have been there before.
In addition to this ancient city, another thing I am in awe of are the peaches in the region. In general, the produce in Turkey is like no other. But the peaches here, they are amazing – the best, biggest juiciest peaches I have ever tasted. They are just too good for words. Perhaps it is the ancient soil that fertilizes those trees.
Wanting to introduce my son to his Turkish culture, we stopped at Ephesus this year. We parked at the back entrance this time and took a horse and cart around to the main entrance. (Which was not a bad idea with a small child to walk downhill through the city.)
The ride took us around the peach orchards. It left me wondering why there is no ecotourism here where people can do a farm stay to work on a peach farm in trade for a room and fresh farm breakfast. I would be happy to stay for several days and just pick peaches!
Pictures of Ephesus to follow soon…