9th Day of the Cruise

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Saturday, September 17, 2011

17/09/11 Saturday

Up early this morning as we are back in Turkey and here until 7.00pm tonight…this time we are going to throw the dice and hopefully get a cheap taxi ride to 'Ephesus' and Mother Mary final living place…the ship has an excursion but they are charging $70US each and we were sure that we could get a taxi for the four of us for under $50US.

Anyway we had a quick breakfast after excusing ourselves to Monica from our 8.00am Tai Chi…and quickly made our way back to our rooms and got ready to go. Unfortunately, Mary was not feeling the best and decided that she wasn’t coming and would rest it off (and no, it wasnt 'hennoed')…I said I would stay with her but she would have none of it. So I took off around 9.30 with B & T ….made our way down the gang plank as usual…and walked through the terminal…we were not even out of the terminal before a man on a balcony caught our attention with his screaming of tours to exactly where we wanted to go at 20EU each and they were leaving soon. That sounded perfect to us …so with a little trepidation we walked up the stairs and after more confusion with how much change was required…we finally were directed to our tour guide and the minibus that was taking us there.

Straight away we felt good about this…the bus was airconditioned and very comfortable…there were only about 12 people…and the tour guide seemed very friendly. The tour was to firstly go the the Virgin Mary’s last resting place…then to the oldest remaining ancient city and best preserved …Ephesus…

The first trip from the ship to the Virgin Mary’s chapel only took about 30 minutes and it was a very special place …worshiped not only by Catholics but by Muslims as well. For them ‘Jesus’ was one of the great prophets and therefore so was his mother. The area was full of tourists but it had an air of peacefulness and tranquillity. The actual area of where Her living place was is now apparently under a Chapel that was built around 100-400 AD. Took lots of photos and really enjoyed it. The temperature was now starting to really heat up and the bus thermometer was telling us over 40 degrees and it was a really dry heat at least so we weren’t perspiring too much.

The trip to the city was much closer and didn’t take too long…and for the next 1 hrs our tour guide took us through the most amazing place I have ever seen…so well preserved from terrace homes to brothels and public toilets…from tunnels leading from the most incredulous looking library into the brothel…from ancient graffiti to street signs …from little alleys to glorious 500 metre long streets all the way to where the sea used to lap at the shores 2000 years ago... from large Grand Theatres to public baths and gymnasiums. It was all there and unbelievable. I’m still unsure why the seas all of a sudden receded or why the city was left to go to ruin but I think it all may have something to do with the frequent earthquakes in the area. All sad but terribly unbelievable and amazing. Again…a place that I never knew even existed 24 hours ago to a day and a place I will remember all my life. The only downer was that Mary couldn’t have enjoyed it with us.  

I took so many photos but I still don’t think I’ve captured the feeling of the place…I hope so!!!

Well…after 3 hours the tour took us back to the ship via the 'customary' 30 minute stop at a Turkish Rug factory/shop to show us how silk was made from cocoons to the final products and watching women making it. It wasn’t something we had really wanted to witness but it was a good end to the day. Amazing skills and quality…you can see why a 1 metre silk to silk rug will set you back $1000 US.

We returned to the ship in the heat of the day, Mary was able to join us for some easy lunch and to watch the second half of the Carlton v WCE final direct from Perth…very exciting game at that…glad we saw it but felt for Carlton coming from behind to only lose by 2 points. Oh well …I hope they can take it another step next week and beat Geelong to go from last one season to in the Grand Finals the next season…we will see in due time.

We all separated after that with some going to balcony…others to pools…others back out again and others (namely Mary) to the oregami napkin folding class. (they all 'laughed' at me until they needed me to fold the napkins later in the cruise!! :))   At 5.00pm I took off for my Tai Chi class…in this heat it was no easy task but I felt I definitely needed it.

Tonight we booked ourselves back into the Tamarind for another scrumptious dinner…great restaurant indeed. The staff again was so nice and accommodating… we all ate very well after enjoying a surprise cocktail from Luis.(Our mixology teacher). We ate and talked into the night before going back to our rooms and Brendan & I, meeting out on the balcony for a nice whiskey …looking out into the Mediterranean and enjoying the warm sea breeze…perfect end to another day.
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