“We’ll have to leave early in the morning and walk to the train station tomorrow because the bus can’t pick us up. “ instructed our Intrepid Travel guide Yenner. “The Saturday market is setting up in the morning and all of the roads are closed.”
I looked at the main street in front of our guest house with cars and motorbikes buzzing by it in a constant state of motion having a hard time believing that it would all be shut down tomorrow. But Yenner had said the magic word to me – “Market”.
“Really – it’s that big?” I asked.
“Yes, they begin to set up late on Saturday night and sometimes it takes all night.”
I continued to ask Yenner more questions about the Saturday market and my excitement grew. That night I packed everything up ready to go to the train station the next morning and set my alarm early so that I could go check out the set up of the market and see how the street and town of Selcuk would get transformed.
Selcuk is a charming little town that is the closest town to famous Ephesus ruins – one of Turkey’s biggest tourist attractions after Istanbul. Strangely many tourists just take the bus in to see Ephesus for the day but don’t actually stay in the town. Their loss is our gain – I found Selcuk to be one of my favorite stops on my Intrepid trip. It has a lovely little museum, the Basilica of St. John, and the Temple of Artemis – but the restaurants, shops, and pace of the town was what I enjoyed most. Also – a short drive away up into the hills is the more touristy town of Sirince known for it’s fruit wine. This I could have skipped, but the views and cooler air up there were nice.
The next morning at 7AM I walked down the stairs to the lobby and could hear the sounds of metal poles being tussled around, a rippling of unfolding tarps, the rumble of idling engines, beeps of motorbike horns, and a hum of voices. This was the weekly creation of the Selcuk Saturday market – every week the same dance. I always find that early mornings are the best time to photograph markets as the vendors are not as busy, the light is nice, and you get more of a chance to interact with the locals.
I spent an hour walking around the market watching them set up, polish tomatoes, carry watermelons, round up chickens, and stack eggplants. After a short hour I had to get back to meet the group and walk to the train station. I came back with some fabulous shots and a bag of peaches that a vendor insisted I take with me. It left me wishing I could stay all day and soak in the market atmosphere.
I took a bite of my juicy peach and appeased my longing to stay by reminding myself that there would be more markets in my future – many more.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Intrepid Travel for this experience, however the opinions expressed are all mine.