This is the second part of my post on how to travel with kids in the agean. For the first part, dealing with transport and entrance fees, go here.
The sites are all hot. Ruins don't exactly provide much shade... So make sure you're taking plenty of water. And I mean plenty: go for one litre per person per site. Even for the smallies. Also, you might want to bring snacks for the children just to keep them going.
Efes is particularly hard going for a child. It is less 'wild' than Priene, for instance, so there's less climbing allowed, it is a steep climb in the heat to visit the theatres, and the site itself is long and uphill. You might want to consider taking a horse drawn carriage at the entrance. It will take you round the back, pausing at the cave of the seven sleepers (an attractive ruin of a church with some fun legend attach to it). You then get on the site from the top, which makes it a lot less painful to see the whole site. The price of the ride is not negligible, but, believe me, it's worth it.
So very hot...
Opinion is divided on whether you should bring them to sites or not. We've taken pushchairs to Efes and been glad of it everytime. It's ok to leave it at the bottom of a theatre and pick it up again when you come down. In priene, no, because the path up is too rocky for any pushchair. But if you have something lightweight you don't mind carrying and eventually replacing, by all means, bring it. We've never regretted it.
Pergammon is on a cliff. You'd be well advised to discuss before hand who's going to chase after who and what your policy about climbing interesting stones near the edge should be.
There are sometimes snakes on the sites (although mostly, you'll find tortoises), dogs which may be rabid, and of course, wasps and bees. If you can, bring a small first aid kit for bites and bruises. Lemon cologne works quite well on wasp stings, so keep any wipes you get given in restaurants.
Hats, lots of cream will help prevent sun burn and sun stroke. But make sure you reapply the cream often as you will sweat in the heat.
Keeping kids amused on the sites.
People still find coins, bits of jewelry and pottery on the sites. Whereas it's illegal to take them with you if you find them, it's not a bad idea to tell children that they have a chance of finding something. Children can walk for hours in the hope of finding a bit of ancient treasure!
The sites are hard to read, so don't expect children to look around and get a picture of how people lived. What you can do to help is find out a bit about the legends surrounding the sites, and the way in which people used to live. If you can tell an exciting story as you're walking throught the sites, you'll make everyone's experience more pleasant, including yours!
Some sites are close to the beach. From Efes, hop into the same dolmus that took you from Selcuk. In just under 5 minutes you will be in Pamucak, washing off the ancient dust with sea and sun!
Looks like Ancient Parents knew how to keep their Ancient Kids amused!
Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.