The Gang Leaves Istanbul

Posted on January 24th, 2012 by

This morning we departed at 5:30 for Izmir[Iz-meer].  For some of us, that meant a scramble out of bed at 5:16 and hurried packing, exhausting all of the energy those 4-5 hours of sleep had provided.  After the world’s shortest flight, around 350 miles, we arrived.  Upon greeting our tour guide, we entered what we all can assume will not be our last bus.  Forgoing any hope of sleeping upon arrival, we pushed forward- to sightseeing!  Our first stop being a café and after a mad dash for some food, we remounted and resumed.  Our true first stop was a debated home of Mary, the mother of Jesus (in Turkish: Isa [Eesa]).  This building was discovered near Ephesus, after a German nun had visions of it in the 1800s and it was discovered after her death by a French priest.  The House of the Virgin Mary is a small structure, almost a hall, with an altar at the end.  From here we ventured onwards towards the ruins of Ephesus.  Ephesus, or in Turkish: Efes (the namesake of Turkey’s largest and, by default, most popular brewing company and beer), is an ancient Greek and then Roman city.  The highlight of Ephesus was certainly the ruins of Library of Celsus, a spectacular site with its grandiose architecture and most importantly, its secret passage to the old brothel.  The wives of Ephesus were clearly mistaken in thinking their husbands were so studious.  Ephesus also sported a massive theatre seating 25,000 and between plays and gladiators, was almost undoubtedly packed.  Another highlight was our tour guide showing us one of the first advertisements, carved images directing sailors to the previously mentioned brothel.   Our tour guide delivered a humorous quip about needing “money” for a “honey” and then back aboard the bus to lunch.  After some much needed gorging at our first Turkish buffet we traveled to the Temple of Artemis, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Unfortunately, after its destruction less than 2,000 years ago, it is now merely a field of broken columns and blocks of marble.  After our departure from the Temple we arrived at our hotel in Kuşadası [Koo-sha-da-sih].  And after remarking about the view, you can’t always see a Greek isle from your window, and the coldness of both the showers and the rooms we set in and caught up on that missing sleep.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  The events of this post took place on January 22nd.


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