From Ephesus to Kusadasi

Trip Start Oct 03, 2006
Trip End Oct 15, 2006

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

On the way to breakfast this morning I pay 5 YTL or $3.25, for yesterday's issue of USA Today - I want to find out what the weather was like back in the states. Yesterday it was 39 degrees back in the Twin Cities. It is much nicer here in Izmir where there was a rain shower last night.

There is a wonderful variety of breakfast choices this morning - cheeses, fruits, meats, olives, yogurts, breads, tomatoes and cucumbers. Fruit juices, tea and coffee round out the choices for the meal.

I discover what roasted chickpeas are supposed to taste like - my attempts to make them at home had left a lot to be desired. The white Urfer cheese is very salty.

There are slices of meat that are rather fatty. Even after I take off as much fat as possible the meat still has a greasy feel in my mouth. I'm not able to decide if the meat is cooked or raw.

The bread display includes a freshly baked loaf of phylo with a cheese filling.

Today is an important day for the Turks. The French Parliament is voting on whether to make denial of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks a crime.

It is also the day the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

On our bus ride out of Izmir we pass the headquarters of Sabah, Turkey's second largest newspaper. And we pass IKEA. Later we pass the same fortress on the high hill that we had driven by on Sunday. We are on our way to tour Ephesus. [Revelation 2:1-7]

I see some of the ruins of the Ephesus city walls on the hills as we near the city.

Most ancients would have probably approached Ephesus from the west, from the sea. But we are entering the city from the southeast.

Two cats are on the red-tiled roof of the building as we walk by the Magnesia Gate and the ticket kiosk.

There was a Greek city here, or rather north of here, at the time of King Solomon. It became a center for the worship of Cybele.

King Croesus of Sardis had built a temple to honor the same Anatolian Mother Goddess. Croesus, greedy for Ephesus' wealth, attacked the city around 600 BC. He destroyed the city and moved the people inland to the south, where they built a new city.

The temple was destroyed by a fire in 356 BC but was rebuilt. It became recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

All that remains today is a single column, erected in 1972-3 out of different pieces of different columns. The single column does not reach the height of one of the original 127 Ionic columns.

The harbor silted up and the city had to move to the western side of Mt Pion, where the ruins of the Roman city remain.

Walking on past the ruins of the baths we reach the beginning of the colonnaded street lined with Corinthian columns. Walking down the street we stop to examine the Odeon. This was a small theater that sat about 2200 people and was used for town meetings and musical performances.

We reach the narrow Gate of Hercules and look down. We have a view of the Roman city below us and beyond the library and theater to where the river harbor would have been. The river has since silted over and one has to go at least four miles before reaching water.

Curetes Street sloped down toward the Library of Celsus and like all good Roman streets, was paved with stone.

Near the terraced houses the group goes up the slope on our right to see the Baths of Varius. I decide to meander down the street and examine the mosaics at my leisure.

Stopping at one of the stands I buy a poster of the library - it was the only poster I saw during the whole trip. Posters from various places I have visited hang as art in my living room at home.

The group photo is to be taken at 2 PM at the theater so I just continue walking and looking.

The original library had been built in AD 114-117 by Tiberius Aquila in honor of his father, Celsus, the former Roman governor of Asia Minor. Celsus was buried under the western side of the library. At one time the library held 12,000 scrolls but it was heavily damaged in an earthquake nine hundred years after it was built.

Eventually I make it to the theater. My knee appreciates it when I sit down in the shade of the wall. I watch people while keeping the theater cat company. He decides to curl up on a marble slab and sleep.

After lunch, we stop at the Turkman Weaving Center. Having done spinning and weaving, I find the stop quite educational and not at all boring.

The center is owned by a doctor who decided to do what he could to preserve the local traditions of rug weaving. A young woman sits down and demonstrates the art of weaving on an upright loom while a guide explains what she is doing.

I miss the silk demonstration because I ask the young woman if I can take her photo while she works. She had moved to another loom to work after the demonstration. I don't know how many knots she ties per minute but she makes it look so easy. I'm glad this tradition is being maintained even though it is tedious work.

Then it is on to the large show room where rugs were hanging on the walls, not a bare spot of wall was to be seen at eye level. It is a feast for the eyes.

We sit on benches lining the walls; everyone has a clear view of the bare wooden floor.

Apple tea is offered. The owner explains that apples are dried, ground and packaged for making apple tea. Put a spoonful of the apples in a small tea glass and add hot water. A man gives each of us a saucer and a woman then offers each person a glass of tea from her large tray.

And the show begins! Starting with the 'simple' rugs, as men literally roll out the carpets, the doctor tells us about the design, the weave and the area each rug represents. It is a fabulous show that ends with the most beautiful silk carpets.

Just seeing the rugs and having an appreciation for the work is enough for me. While deals are being worked out I wander around the property.

But I do have to get serious about shopping for gifts for my family. And that was what I do later in the afternoon while in Kusadasi. But the only things I buy are bookmarks, a small deck of cards and colorful small ceramic bowls made locally. Used to shoppers from the cruise ships that dock in Kusadasi, the shop owner deftly wraps my bowls for transport.

Near sunset we board the bus and make our way back to our hotel in Izmir. We then wander over to the adjacent shopping center. We eat our evening meal at a restaurant with a Mexican motif and Italian items on the menu. I try pomegranate sour on my salad instead of vinegar. Interesting taste - pomegranate sour has potential in my kitchen.
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