Ephesus and the Cafe

Running a cafe is a lot of work.

Yes, you probably already knew that - and to an extent, we did too. But even our stint in the cafe in Sweden hadn't fully prepared us for the sheer weight of running a seasonal cafe in a tourist area.

We have friends who run a seasonal cafe that has no employees. Together Doris and Mihail are the Host, the Chef, the Barista, the Waiter, the Janitor, and the Book-keeper by turns. Jacob and I stepped into the cafe prepared to serve and help as much as we were able. I won't lie - it was hard. We worked long days and fell asleep exhausted every night. We had little time to explore the surrounding area, but we managed to steal a couple of hours here and there to get away and see the sights.

We learned a lot during our time at the cafe - the ins and outs of cafe management, several wonderful Swiss and Turkish dishes, and a crash-course in Swiss-German culture.

And of course there is always the entertaining (and somewhat insulting) things that cafe guests will say to their waitress (Me).

A British man to me: 
"What's your name?" 
 "Chelsea", I responded.
"....I was born there."

Ah. Not sure how to respond to that one.

A German woman to me: 
"Do you speak Turkish?" 
"No", I say.
"And you don't speak ANY German?"
"No, just English and French."
She looks blankly at me, then at her husband. " Nothing. She doesn't speak anything."

Silly me. I forgot Turkish and German are the only real languages.

A British man to me: 
"You know, the first time I saw your face, I thought you were the spitting image of an actress from a soap opera named Coronation Street. Have you ever heard of it?"
"No", I say.
"Yes well you look just like one of the daughters. She's a real tart you know."

Hm. Thanks for that.

During the times Jacob and I were able to explore, we really enjoyed walking around Selcuk, the picturesque town that has cropped up outside of Ancient Ephesus. Selcuk is littered with incredible bits of ancient history. Ephesus a mere two kilometers away. The remains of the Temple of Artemis, once counted as one of the seven wonders of the world, (now reduced to rubble and a single standing column) is two streets away from our house. Up the hill is St. John's Basilica, the remains of a beautiful ancient cathedral that still houses John's tomb. Further up the hill is a Crusader fortress.

Literally everywhere you look, you see glimpses of a rich and dynamic history.

Walking between home and the cafe was full of pretty sights like these:

St. John's Basilica is one of my favorite places in the world. If it were still standing it would be the seventh largest Cathedral in Europe. It is still a magnificent place, even in ruins. Jacob and I have appreciated the ruins in Turkey for this reason - you can go almost everywhere. In Western Europe most valuable ruins are strictly corded and sectioned into walking areas, with guards watching your every move. In Turkey it's more like a giant play ground.

While most people interested in Biblical history know that Paul lived in this area for many years, fewer people know that John (ie: the disciple who wrote the Gospel of John) lived here too. Christian tradition states that he wrote his Gospel on the very hill next to the Basilica. And his grave is actually in the Basilica - pretty incredible if you think of the significance of all that history packed into this one little place.

And then of course there is Ephesus.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you how excited we were to be visiting there. Ephesus is largely considered the best preserved ancient city in the world, not to mention an important site in Christian history. It was packed with tourists - loud, hot, bright, and crowded.

Probably not unlike Ephesus back in it's heyday.