This post is for a special sort of person. You know who you are. The train enthusiast.
Yes, this one is for you.
In a town up in the mountains of Turkey above Ephesus there is a town called Çamlık. And in this town is one of the finest steam engine museums you can imagine.
The museum doesn't show up in Lonely Planet guidebooks, nor on TripAdvisor.com. This is a major oversight (and one we're going to get corrected). All outdoors, among copious roseplants bursting into bloom, there are more than 30 steam engines, some from the late 1800s, and in impressively good condition.
Here's the best part: you can climb up into them to your heart's content.
We went there entirely on a whim, thanks to a write-up in our cottage naming sights in the area. "Good for boys of all ages," our host had written. It took some driving around and stopping to ask for directions by our Turkish driver (I'll introduce you to him next time) and a few misturns, but finally we found it. And what a find. Old steam engines, as far as the eye could see.
I didn't know he even knew the word "stoke". This was better than Disneyland.
Some of the trains had rusted a bit, and you had to be careful, but there was no dampening our enthusiasm. That, my friend, is what tetanus shots are for.
One thing we learned about ourselves this trip is that we really, really love to have a place essentially to ourselves, to explore and discover on our own. This place fit that desire perfectly. Even when a huge field trip of children arrived, there was plenty of space to be off having your own train fantasy.
In addition to the trains there was a big open shed of tools, the railway car Atatürk, the great leader and hero of Turkey rode in, (though he died in 1938, many women in Turkey are still in love with him, the men striving to live up to his manliness), and other bits and bobs, all labeled and lovingly restored.
This snowplow engine was a real favorite.