May 17, 2015

Mediterranean Cruise: Day 7 (Izmir/Ephesus)

Our morning was pretty stressful--the ONE morning we had a set agenda, the sit-down breakfast service was a disaster! We waited forever for a high chair for Seanin, and we never got menus--which was fine, as we had our orders prepared, but we had to keep asking for our orders to be TAKEN! We were half an hour late meeting our tour guide, which meant that we didn't get to see a Turkish carpet-making demo at the end. So disappointing.

BUT! Our tour was amazing! Our tour guide "G" was fantastic...I can't remember her real name, as she told us to call her Rosie, since the G word means "rosebud." She was so good with the kids. Her informative talk made the 1-hour drive to Ephesus just fly by. We rode in a nice, comfortable van, and it was wonderful to have our own private tour guide and driver. Rose told us where the less expensive shops were and where NOT to buy Turkish delight, plus she was very aware of our interests, time constraints, and the needs of the little ones. We shopped a bit first, since the stores at the beginning point were cheaper than at the main gate where we exited. Then, it was on to exploring the ancient city of Ephesus! So, so amazing!! This was definitely one of those dream-come-true adventures for me. I'm trying to fix the details in my mind of our walk from upper to lower Ephesus--the higher points, where the officials and upper classes would meet and have privileges, down the main roads toward the library and the famous theater where Paul caused rioting as the Ephesians chanted about their goddess Artemis for two hours! Though the forecast for Izmir was rainy, Ephesus remained sunny and beautiful. The wind was chilly, but there were points I just had on my t-shirt.

We left for a quick lunch then at a kebab house, which was good--but I think Ted and I would have really appreciated more of a sit-down, traditional spread; however, given the circumstances (pressed for time, tiring kids), it was fine. From lunch we went to the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus, which had just opened 9 days previously after extensive updates and additions. There was saw one of the actual little Artemis statues that the metalworkers were so worked up about in Paul's day--he was threatening their businesses! We flew through the museum, hitting the highlights with our guide, leaving just enough time to see the very underwhelming remains of the Temple of Artemis. Thankfully we were warned to keep our expectations low, ha! One column out of 127 is all that's left standing, with a smattering of pieces left scattered about. I guess that's what happens when someone decides to make himself infamous and burns down the structure! The wood burned first, heating the lead that had been poured into the holes of the column pieces and melting the "rods" that had kept the structure intact.

During our brief time at the temple remains, we heard the haunting call for Muslim prayers. So sad--centuries later, people still worship false gods...

We only had time for a very short nap before dinner; you could tell it had been a full few days in a row, as Seanin was not very happy during dinner and Zaden had a meltdown regarding carrots! We opted to skip the show so we could get a decent rest in preparation for another very full day in Athens, our longest day in any of the ports.

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