3:45am: Beeep Beeeep Beeeep. We get up earlier on vacation than we do at home. I throw my pants on and hope the front office is open with some coffee, and it isn’t. I can’t blame them (although I wish they put electric kettles in the room.) I knock on the kids door in the dark and wake my daughters from their teen cave. (Literally.)
The driver hurries us along, and we seem to be the last to arrive. The balloon operation “butterfly’ is pretty big. There are at least 100 people here eating cake (at 4:30am, blech) and coffee. We sit next to a sweet Australian mom who is visiting her daughter doing her year of travel abroad after University.
The hotel keeper drives us to the airport, I think in part because of the mix-up we had on the way in with his absent-minded driver. Today we backtrack to Izmir and then Istanbul again before arriving at our final destination of the trip: Cappadocia.
The Izmir airport is again empty, and with no trouble at all, we find our plane. For once we’re happy that the plane is late because it give us a chance to buy food. The early morning departures often have no opportunity for coffee or food, which eventually makes us grumpy. But we refuel.
Most of our favorite experiences involve ancient civilizations. Adventure rides in nature and animal experiences follow close behind, but Petra, Karnak, Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu are all in our top five. Rome itself was awesome, but it loses some of the experience because it’s surrounded by a city. The other three are in a natural environment that itself would be worthy of a top ten list.
For that reason, I wake up with high expectations. It might not compete with any of the aforementioned must-see sites, but Ephesus is certainly in the top fifty world wide, and probably top 25. At one point, in the first century AD, Ephesus was second only to Rome in importance and size.
It’s been pouring all night, the walls of this apartment are so thin that I can hear each thrust and moan, and I’ve had about 250 minutes of sleep. Amanda punches me in the shoulder and grimaces. I know she’s thinking “This is your fault.” And she’s right.
My advice to Amanda when she was planning, was to strive at all costs to get early morning or late night flights, so we could keep the days intact for travel. I stand by my strategy, but goddamn it’s painful today.
It’s not the first time this happened, and it won’t be the last. We hit a wall. It’s only a small wall, but a wall nonetheless. Our goal was to get up at 7:45 am and be at the Blue Mosque, for which there was an exceptionally long line on day one. We skipped it, but today is our last day and it’s a must-see in Istanbul.
Amanda fumbles for the alarm clock and shuts it off clumsily. Her first drowsy words are “If I move quickly, I can make it back here for a nap this afternoon.” It’s not a promising sign when one of us wakes up dreaming about a nap. The girls are completely passed out, they weren’t even awakened by the alarm. Her second words are “Meh, I’ll never fall back asleep anyway.” which are followed by snores. She’s back asleep.