Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ancient Ephesus and the house of the Virgin Mary

Our cruise ship stopped in Turkey for half a day and we joined the english tour group to see Ancient Ephesus and the nearby house where the Virgin Mary was supposed to have spent her last days

Jack upset about being woken up at 5:30 am to catch our bus.
After this, he would tell Luke every night "don't wake me up again Daddy"
Our first stop was the town of Kusadasi where it is believed John took Mary to spend her last days
Outside of the Virgin Mary's house. No pictures were allowed inside, but
there wasn't much to see anyways. We were led through one door and
out the other in a straight line with less than a few minutes in the house
Outside of Mary's house. I wanted a picture with Jack, but one
of the workers wanted to get in our picture. We were to quickly
learn that Jack was pretty much a celebrity in this part of the world
since I guess they don't see many kids with blonde hair.

 The whole experience was very touristy. We were herded around with about 50 other people in our group in and out of the house, then quickly to see miraculous spring waters and then back on the bus.
Next to the house is a natural spring whose
waters are said to be miraculous and the hordes
of tourists stopped to fill up water bottles
Feeling miraculously good after drinking the water
The next stop was Ephesus. The ruins here were amazing, they seemed to stretch on for miles.
I was amazed at how freely we were able to walk around and explore wherever we wanted
Our tour group dutifully followed the tour guide and got in depth explanations of all the historical sights.
Jack had no interest in the history of Ephesus and was disturbing the group so we set off on a more interesting tour... finding all the cats in Ephesus
Thankfully there were hundreds of cats to keep us busy and every once in a while I could rejoin the group and hear some interesting information

Wandering around this city was truly amazing. Ephesus is said to contain the largest collection of Roman ruins in the Eastern Mediterranean and only 15% of the ruins have been excavated.

The Library of Celsus dominated the ruins and was an impressive sight

Attempting to stick with our tour group
The Great Theater where Paul preached against the pagans
After leaving the ruins we had to walk through several shops with very pushy sales people trying to sell us their goods
Jack had to ride on the camel
We all loaded up in the tour bus again ready to go back to the boat, but instead of taking us to the boat they dropped us off at a Turkish rug store. Here all the tourists were forced to go inside, thankfully Jack and I had to pee so we escaped. Luke decided to go in on his own free will and after waiting for at least 45 minutes he finally escaped to tell us the details

Jack and I waited for Luke at a nearby cafe with
Turkish coffee ready for him when he made his escape

Jack being silly

Trying to pass time waiting for Luke

Hoping Luke didn't come out with a $3,000 rug
Apparently once you enter into the building you are treated with coffee and snacks and then let to a room where guys are putting on an elaborate show of their very expensive ($3,000+) rugs. Luke said they were throwing and spinning these huge rugs in the air. He said it was impossible to escape as there were men guarding all the doors. Somehow he finally managed to escape and join us for one of my favorite lunches of the trip
On the left is a kebab platter and on the right is Lahmacun
(thin dough topped with spicy minced meat). I think I ate
almost that whole platter by myself.

Ready to get back on our cruise ship
I would have loved to spend some more time here and eat more Turkish food, but alas our cruise ship was waiting and we hurried back on to sail to the next island.

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