This week I am

travelling in Turkey, feeling humbled by the age of the archeological sites. Late Bronze Age, pre-Hellenic, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine….I particularly liked Miletus and Didyma, Miletus with its wonderful Greek theatre, and the theatre bench seats with lion’s feet legs, and Didyma, which was a sanctuary and has exceptional sculptures of Medusa heads. Ephesus is the largest site, attracting huge numbers of people – exceptional insights into how the ancient world changed as rivers silted, wars were fought, earthquakes damaged cities…. Where to stay? We stayed in a small town called Sirince, not far from Selcuk, where the street trees include orange trees. In Sirince, the hotel is called Nisanyan, www.nisanyan.com  (the surname of its writer-owner).

The hotel has been built using traditional methods, stone and timber, and is on various levels in many buildings, set in wild and wonderful gardens. There are owls, and a donkey, chickens, cats, and peacocks in the gardens. Nearby there are goats, whose neck-bells sound like the noise of spoons clinking against little Turkish glasses of tea. The hotel, like the town, has irregularly paved pathways and uneven steps. Wifi, but no television.

Breakfasts here are extraordinarily generous. The first day, I noted platters of fruit and pots of tea and coffee, and thought it was a pleasant, if modest choice. We sat down. Then breakfast arrived: many white cheeses, platters of tomatoes and cucumbers, fritters, breads of various kinds, olives, peppers, lots of conserves (strawberry, apricot, orange),all house-made and all exceptional. Oh, and eggs were offered, too.

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