We woke up and we were already at port. Karl had found a group on Cruise Critic who were getting a little outing together for a FRACTION of the price from the ship.The leader of the group was a man named Donald Nalian. We thought there would be 10 or 15 people. In the end there were three full buses.
We arrived in Kusadasi Turkey. We were supposed to land in Ismir, but there were some terrorist threats in the area so we ported in Kusadasi instead. (There was a terrorist attack in Istanbul a nearly 50 people were killed in the airport there. It was surreal to be so close to such an attack. It would be only one of the culturally significant things that happend on the trip. But I digress.)
We got off of the ship and found the big group.We got on the bus that passed this awesome golden statue of Mary. The itinerary for the day was to include 4 stops.
First the House of the Virgin Mary. Which will explain the huge statue.
We were exited by our new surroundings. The weather was warm and sunny.
Our tour guide. His English was very good, as was his education on Political mattes. He was very political.
We walked through a small square with a restaurant, and a couple of gift shops. Then along this long path.
We pass a mostly forgotten hole in the ground. According to our guide some people think that is was a baptismal font. Others say is was just a fountain.
We came to the traditional home of the virgin. No camera’s allowed inside.
Me out front.
It was a muggy dark room with Mary iconography everywhere. There was gold and mold everywhere. At the end of the home there was a table and shrine.
I took a picture of a picture of the inside.
Later I found this image online:
We lit a candle as we came out.
Tradition says that the water here posses special properties. It is said that it provides healing and fertility.
Our guide said to just splash it on our faces.
Then there was this wishing wall.
Pilgrams come and leave wishes tied up or in little paper rolls.
We had so many wishes coming true. NO wishes needed.
We had a minute before the bus left so we did a little shopping and grabbed a drink. They actually had Coke Zero! Score!
Back to the bus, and we were off to our second stop.Ephesus.
The ruins at Ephesus are bigger tourist attraction.
SO there was more a hullabaloo.
What a place!
The ancient market place was still intact.
There was a small amphitheater.
There were crazy carvings everywhere.
“The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city’s importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD.”
Then we headed down the main corridor.
Everything that is standing has been rebuilt. Archaeologists have put things back together using what they find and cement.
The rebuild continues. The Austrian Architecture Institute is the main contributor to it’s continued reconstruction.
This is Nike. The Goddess of speed and Victory.
This statue is said to have inspired the Nike Swoosh.
Continuing on more ruins.
I loved to see the ancient Greek and Roman writings on the stone. I loved the lettering.
(Also that almost says I love elvis)
The hill started to get a little steep, and it was so cool to see the ruins ahead of us.
The ancient gates of the city of Ephesus.
They look like lions.
Seriously this writing.
There were cool mosaic walkways all up and down the road. BUT they had blocked them off from people walking on them.
Another rebuilt structure we were told was a fancy shop.
These pillars. Such cool carvings.
Then we came to the public toilets.
I just can’t. Different times I guess.
Then to the famous Library.
The Library of Celsus
In writing for the blog, I found this cool sight that had done some virtual renderings of what it would have looked like back when it was first built.
After lots of pictures, we got closer.
Again with more amazing stonework.
I found this online, a rendering of what it would have looked like in it’s glory.
There was a manora carved into the steps, our guide said that it was in honor of the Jews that funded the project. Who knows if that was right.
We entered into the building.
I got up there. It was higher than it seemed.
We headed up to the large amphitheater.
According to our guide, Paul taught here.
The sun was getting higher, and the day was getting hotter.
A tunnel directed us out towards the end of the ancient city.
On these streets, Cleopatra and Antony walked together. According to our guide.
Well now, so have Karl and Allison.
The view fro here was even cooler.
All of the water was gone.
Our third stop:
The Church of Saint John.
Through the front gates.
We had been yelled at in Athens for getting near a pillar, here, no such issue.
The Tomb of St. John.
An old baptismal font.
There were these little planters that looked like coffins all around.
There were no explanations, just random boxes.
It was quiet and lovely, and there were no people there. And there was shade.
We could see the Temple of Artemis from the hill.
And there was even a functioning church down the hill.
So much history. So much to know. So much unknown to us. Our stop here was only about 30 minutes.Fourth Stop, The Temple of Artemis.
It used to be:
It was considered one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.Now just one lonely lonely collum in the middle of a marshy field with a huge bird’s nest on top.
After all of that viewing, we were beat and hungry and ready to eat!
We were presented with a real Turkish Feast!
Those are stuffed zucchini blossoms.
Everything was SO good.
We asked for a Coke Zero, and it was only after Karl had finished the can did he realize that it was Pepsi Max. Haha.
After a rest. We were back in the bus. The county side was hypnotic.
There were Bougainvillea everywhere!
We were heading in for the day, and we could see our massive ship in the distance.
At port there were places to shop, so we took some time.
We even got the most delicious fresh Turkish Delight!
I bought some dishes in this shop too.
We got back to the room and we crashed! The room was dark and cool and there was even an little buddy waiting on our bed for us.
I was missing the kids pretty badly at this point. I found a pair of socks smooshed in my garments, and I kept them out and would hold them when I missed my babies.
Water, and Turkish delight was all I needed.