Turkey: And you thought it was only for Thanksgiv
Trip Start Jun 18, 2006
18Trip End Jul 02, 2006
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Where I stayed
HAL's Amazing Noordam!
On deck, Turkey lays before me. We have just docked, and there are three other ships here as well. A Wind Star sailing cruise ship, a sailing ship called the Flying Cloud, and another small cruise ship. Not too may others, since they are all dwarfed by the Noordam!
Kusadasi is beautiful... steep hills rise form the port and are covered with houses, shops and hotels...
Somehow I make my way, after taking photo's and having breakfast, to the lounge at 10 of 8 and Michael is waiting outside with my sticker (each day on tour we get a small round sticker with the lines logo and a number on it for which tour group we are in.. today we are WHITE 4) and Bob is saying c'mon, lets go... they've called our group! I don't even have to sit and wait, what service! All this rush and hustle today.... Down the stairwell and out the gangway to shore. Again I get my picture snapped by the ships photographer with a "Turkish" sailor and then we are herded, I mean we board an air-conditioned bus and are off on our way to Ephesus, a city that was destroyed somewhere around 500 BC (give or take a few hundred years) by an earthquake. It was never rebuilt since the centers of trade and the Empires that ruled over it had shifted. Bad for the city, good for archeologists and tourists alike.
Now, we had all heard stories of how pushy the bazaar sellers could be, tales of them dragging you in and basically not letting you go until you bought something
A brief visit to the loo (they provided a voucher for us, I'd had to pay ½ a euro to get in the one at the beginning) and then it's a few minutes of free time by buy stuff. Bob h ad bought an Ephesus "plaque" just inside the grounds, and went into a shop in the bazaar just outside the gates to look for magnets. I followed him and the same thing he'd paid 12 euro for was 15 in the bazaar. But then it quickly became 12 as I looked at it, and then 10 when I started to leave.... I couldn't resist and it left with me, although had I bargained more it would have been 7 or 8, but I was happy with 10. Back on the bus, it makes you grateful for air-conditioning.
Off to the local archeological museum. It was filled with items found in the ruins of Ephesus. Lots of statuary, including the one I sent you a picture of yesterday. In case you haven't guessed, I'm pretty much a day behind in these letters. We took pictures, admired the finds and relaxed in the courtyard with a cool beverage before we once again headed out
Next we went to St John the Evangelists church, which lies in ruins after an earthquake some 500 years ago. It was never rebuilt either since most of the local inhabitants are Muslim. Only 10% of turkeys population are Christian or other religions. It was interesting to see the ruins of the church.... it must have been quite spectacular in it's time. Our guide assures us that Turkey is very tolerant of other religions, and in general a nice place... he himself only moved there 3 years ago from Rhodes.
From there we went to a Railway Museum and a fabulous Turkish lunch provided as part of the tour. We dined al fresco and the food was F A B U L O U S! Michael and Carol were especially in heaven. There was also a show of local dancers and then we were left to explore the museum, which is mainly a collection of steam locomotives. It is situated in an old steam engine yard, that had been improved with lawns, flowers and gardens manicured to near perfection, my description does not do it justice. From there I napped on the bus, these tours and my lack of rest is getting to me. Back in the port, we were herded, literally, into a rug shop for a talk on different types of carpets and a brief refreshment. I did not like being herded and left the group at that point, visiting several shops looking for sandals and such on my way back to the ship.
Once aboard, I went to the cabin and quickly fell asleep
The rest of the afternoon was spent finishing yesterdays missive, and the contest which you already know Arghavan Almony won, leave it to the doctor to get the "condition" question right. I am working on another question for tomorrow, and promise that one and another before we return home. This one is even going to be more difficult, I hope. Especially since Arghavan answered with in 60 seconds! Way to go GIRL!
I dressed for dinner, and changed three times, I could not decide what to wear. Ah the difficult decisions. It was followed later by what to eat...... But in between I joined Michael, Carol and Bob in the Sports Bar to watch the World Cup. It was PACKED! And a lot of fun, lots of hooting and shouting at the monitors. But no place to sit, and you know me, I'm all about comfort. So, a turn on the Promenade deck seemed in order. I stopped by the rail to watch the Flying Cloud set sail and struck up a conversation with Phyllis, a woman from Ft. Lauderdale who works for Holland America there. They too have to sail "STANDBY" as I have to fly, so she said she and her husband had paid to come on the cruise because they didn't want to risk it. She also said every cabin was booked. Why doesn't it feel crowded? I LOVE THIS SHIP! I stopped into the Ocean Bar and had a Grolsch beer and listened to the Jazz combo.... watching Kusadasi outside the windows.
Dinner was wonderful, an amazing garlic soup, and then we went up to the Lido deck to play Canasta..