Saturday, Sept.19, 2009 – Izmir-Ephesus, Turkey

     Known in Turkey as”Beautiful Izmir” the city lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf furrowed by ships and yachts.  The climate is mild and in the summer the constant and refreshing sea breezes temper the sun’s heat.  Behind the palm-lined promenades and avenues which follow the shoreline, the city, in horizontal terraces, gently ascends the slopes of the surrounding mountains.  Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey and its port is second only to Istanbul.  A cosmopolitan and lively city all year round Izmir bursts with an added vibrancy during the late Summer International Fair.

     The historical sight of Ephesus was an Ionian Greek city in ancient Anatolia, founded by colonists from Athens in the 10th century BC.  Today’s archaeological site lies 3 km south of the Selcuk district of Izmir Province, Turkey.  The ruins of Ephesus are favorite international and local tourist attractions partly owing to their easy accessibility from Adnan Menderes Airport and via the port of Izmir.  Ephesus hosted one of the seven churches of Asia addressed in the Book of Revelation (2:1-7).  It is also the site of a large Gladiator graveyard.

     There were singers and dancers to greet us as we got off the ship.  We signed up with Coreen on the Cruise Critic boards for this cruise.  We met our guide, “Bill” from just after 8 am on the dock.  There were 13 of us, 1 had to miss it because of a bad back.  It was only $55. each and we saw Ephesus including the Odeon, Temple of Hadrian, Roman Baths, Celsius Library, public toilet and the Theater.  We also visited the terrace houses which most ship tours don’t go to because they can’t take in a large group.  Bill was very knowledgeable about everything.  He said there are more Greek ruins in Turkey than in Greece!  They put a roof over the terrace houses to protect them.  It was almost like they had built condos into the mountainside.  Some of the mosaic floors are original as well as frescoes and marble walls.  They cut the marble into thin sheets using silk.  We saw a little show as we were leaving the site.  We also saw the temple of Artemis, went to a rug-making place and had lunch there.  They showed us how they obtained the silk from the cocoons of silk worms.  Watching the ladies tie the knots on the rugs was amazing.  I saw a runner I liked, but it was $2,000.  Lunch was surprisingly good.  You know me, the picky eater.  I tried most everything.  The yogurt and chopped cucumber was good, salad, goat cheese twist, beef and lamb meatballs and chicken.  There was also cold green beans with cheese, eggplant and stuffed pepper.  Bill said they grow all their own food in Turkey.  It was the last day of Ramadan, but Bill ate with us.  We then went to a little museum and saw the statue of Artemis, (Diana).  Can you find the Nike swish in the fifth picture?

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IMG_5049   Maybe this is why they wore togas?

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Temple and statue of Artemis and rug making.

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     This was our view from our dining table as we sailed from Izmir.

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     We had two shows tonight, Smokey Joe’s Cafe by the singers and dancers and the comedy of Tony Stevens.  Both were very good.  It was Monte Carlo night in the casino and my coupon ticket won 3 works of art from Park West.  Now we don’t have to go to the auctions to get them!  Good thing Ray was in the casino when my number was called.

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