I had seen real Trojan gold in Moscow, Trojan ruins in, well, Troy, and now I was going to see the jeweler who made a lot of the jewelry in the movie “Troy” when I visited a little town called Sirince.
After my visit to Troy, I took a bus to Izmir (formerly called Smyrna for those fig lovers among you). I spent the night there, not being able to face the extra hour it would take to get to the town of Selcuk, my base for visiting Ephesus, after my night bus to Troy. In the morning I hopped on a dolmus (mini-bus, thus far much easier than in Russia because I’ve taken them for inter-city rides) and was off to Selcuk.
I decided to take a tour to Ephesus the following day as I’d heard that the site signage wasn’t great, so I had the afternoon to spend in Selcuk. I first set out to see the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World but now only one lonely column and some tumbled marble blocks in a pool of water amid crowds of tourists and a few oh-so-persistent souvenir sellers.
I then decided to take a dolmus up to the Greek town of Sirince, perched on the hills less than ten kilometers from Selcuk. Just the ride up there was amazing, over a steep road climbing through olive trees and some vineyards. It reminded me a lot of Tuscany. And in fact Sirince is known for its fruit wine, one of which I sampled with lunch. (Quince wine, cool and sweet.)
I enjoyed clambering around the rather steep streets. I had a couple of interesting encounters, too. One older lady sitting on her stoop asked me if I were looking for the Orthodox Church, told me it was under renovation and the gate was closed, but that I could cut through her garden to see it. She also asked me if I were married and had any children. I cut through her garden and enjoyed a lovely view, but I’m honestly not sure whether the church was actually a site or just another church. Does it really matter? I had a memorable time, anyway.
After lunch I passed a jewelry store which had a quote from Lonely Planet about the fact that this store supplied a lot of the jewelry for “Troy”. I wanted to look in the window but of course ran into someone who worked at the store, one of the nephews of the master jeweler. And so we chatted, I had tea, tried on some jewelry that was extremely tempting. He did a great job – I was very close to buying something, but managed to walk away unscathed. I’d rather spend the money on a balloon ride in Capadocia.
Some pictures from Sirince: