After our stay in Istanbul, we made our way through a few more Turkish towns, the next of which were Selçuk and Pamukkale.
Selçuk was a charming town with much to offer. Everyone we met was incredibly kind and hospitable and there was plenty to explore, not least of which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. It was fascinating to walk through this city and imagine the Biblical stories I knew as a child happening within the streets, temples, and the great theater.
Selçuk also claims to be the origin of the Virgin Mary, and you can visit her supposed home, which is 7 km outside the town. We planned to ride bicycles, thinking 7 km wasn't so far, but we didn't realize those 7 km were almost entirely uphill. We stopped at a statue of the Virgin Mary a couple kilometers up the hill and called it good enough! The ride was still a highlight of our stay, as we came across several flocks of sheep and even a ewe who just gave birth to triplets! We also stopped by the cave of the Seven Sleepers.
Our next stop was Pamukkale, which was one of the places I was most excited to visit since I had seen incredible pictures. Unfortunately, it wasn't as grand as we expected because its famous white travertines are drying up and had little water during that particular time of year. Still, we enjoyed taking some artistic shots in the reflections of the pools that remained and we were also able to explore the ancient city of Hierapolis.