The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cruise: Turkey

Good grief, I'm such a slacker. Back to cruising and photos. We spent another day at sea after Israel and then ported in Kusadasi (KU-SHA-dah-SEE), Turkey. Indy and I were going to do a long rigorous tour that included loads of walking over uneven ground and cobblestones, so Gigi and Han Solo went off on their own little easy tour. Turkey was freaking HOT. Seriously. It was around 98 and the sun was merciless. Yay.

This is the view of Kusadasi from our balcony.  Lovely, isn't it?

Here's my sweet little Han Solo getting ready for his big day with Gigi!

Gigi and Han Solo set off for their tour about 30 minutes before we did, though their's was only 3 hours.  Ours was 9.  Indy and I hopped on the bus, crazy excited, and met the most fascinating tour guide ever, Ilker.  He was not only knowledgeable, but he was funny and very personable.  We drove from Kusadasi to the ancient town of Ephesus, which blew my mind!

Hey, there's Ilker!  Seriously, a great guide.  You can't see it in this photo, and apparently, I didn't get one of it, but there's a really high mountain off to the far right that once held the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

 We entered through one of the top gates of the city and worked out way down to a bottom gate.  It took over 4 hours to get from one end to the other, with a stop at the terrace houses.  Ephesus is HUGE and Ilker told us that only 10% of the city has been excavated.  Holy cow!  He said it was the New York City of the ancient world in its heyday.

See that pipe on the ground right behind Indy?  That would be part of the original water system from the Roman era of the city.

One of a dozen or so temples we saw.

Okay, this is really interesting.  This is a relief of Nike, goddess of victory (Nike is Greek for victory).  This is apparently a very famous rendition of Nike.  If you look very closely at the folds of her dress, just above her leg and below her right arm, you might see a very familiar swoosh.  This is apparently where the Nike swoosh emblem comes from.

This is the back side of the Hercules Gate.  That's Hercules.  Not how I pictured him, but, whatever.

Part of the tile floor for their main shopping district.  At one time it would have been below a portico.

Another temple.

A closeup of Medusa on the temple arch.

We left the baking sun (yay!) and went into the terrace houses, which are where the wealthier citizens lived and is now, to protect it, covered, making it about 15-20 degrees cooler inside.  Whew!  Since it is terrace housing though, there are loads and loads of stairs.  This section here contains workers who are trying to put together what they call the world's largest jigsaw puzzle.  There are literally millions of pieces of tile, marble and columns that they are trying to piece together.  There are rooms and rooms containing crates stacked 4-5 feet tall full of pieces.  Job security!

Part of a mosaic floor.

This was the dining room of one of the houses in the lower terraces.  The red parts of the frescos are done with pomegranate based paints and they are still a deep, rich red today.

A kitchen.

Indy about 1/2 way up the terraces/

This is really funny and I wish I could have gotten a better photo.  If you can zoom in, try.  They found a wall with a child's drawing of gladiators on it.  One gladiator (near the orange section at the bottom) is on the ground and the other is still standing to the far left.  Kids.  They're the same no matter when they live.

More murals.

A mosaic floor.

Close to the top of the terraces.

So, we left the relative coolness of the terraces and went back into the sun toward the Library of Celsius.  This was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world.    Across the street, to the right of this photo stood a brothel.  There was a tunnel under the library, leading to the brothel, so men could go to the library and not be seen going into the brothel.  Classy.

Indy in the library.

We left the library and headed to the main amphitheater of the town.  You can see how huge it is.  The last concert given there was by Sting, but the music was so loud the amphitheater started crumbling.  They have not held concerts there since, and Sting has given loads of money to help in the restoration process.  Go Sting!

Broken pieces of buildings and columns as far as you can see.

They put on a little show a couple of times a day depicting Egyptians and Roman.  It was quite fun.

Gladiator battle!

We finally exited the city and got to the souvenir area.  Man, the Turks know how to sell stuff!  They give you things so you'll feel obligated to buy more.  Smart people.  We came away with several gorgeous scarves, some postcards, a picture frame and small figure of the amphitheater.  Oh, and some Turkish Delight.  It's Delightful.  :)  The shopping area was incredibly fun.  This sign was my absolute favorite:

So, remember the Temple of Artemis I mentioned back in the beginning?  One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?  Yeah, of course you do, because you're entranced by every word, right?  Yeah, so, we left the city and drove to the top of the mountain to see this, the one lone pillar, which is actually made up of fragments from a few different pillars, that is the only remaining bit of the Temple.  I should mention that this temple was a larger version of the Parthenon.  From the scale models we saw, this baby was HUGE.  450' long x 250' wide x 60' tall.

We then went to a really cool museum, but my camera battery was dying, so I didn't get any photos inside.  Boo!  It had several of the statues of the Ephesus Artemis.  Interestingly, she has 24 breasts.  Why?  No idea.  We were in the statue, sitting in front of the model of the temple and one of the statues was behind it.  Indy leaned over and whispered "I'll bet it was hard for her to find a bra."  I almost fell off the bench laughing.  That's my boy.

It was then time for lunch!  We headed off to the Cleopatra Hotel (Cleopatra visited Ephesus a few times with Marc Antony), where we had a Roman style meal, complete with costumes.  My camera had a little juice, but not enough for the flash, so this was the best we could get.  It was fun and the food was really good.

Our ship from the terrace of the hotel.

The opposite terrace of the hotel.  Turkey was stunning.  It was far more than I expected.

Hey, there's my little sweetie!  He was having a good time with his Gigi!

 And finally, we made it back to the ship and this was the view as we left port.  Turkey was my second favorite stop (after Egypt, because nothing can top that!).  I would love to go back and explore Ephesus more thoroughly and visit Istanbul (not Constantinople!).

 Our next port was Piraeus, Greece, where we hopped the bus to Athens and climbed a billion stairs (maybe slightly less) up the Acropolis to see the Parthenon.  I'll have that day.

If you missed any of our cruise, you can see the other posts here:

Egypt: Day One

Egypt: Day two


 Thanks for stopping by!


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