Our second Turkish port, Kusadasi, held with it a different type of charm than did Istanbul. The markets, while vast and spread out, are more modernized than the traditional feel of the Grand Bazaar. We were definitely hassled much more in the markets of Kusadasi than in Istanbul though.
We booked a crew tour a while ago to see the House of the Virgin Mary and to walk through the ancient city of Ephesus. I have been fortunate to see so many places throughout the world, some having hundreds of years worth of history, but until I stepped off that bus I had not been in the presence of structural ruins from thousands of years ago. It’s an indescribable feeling to be on the precise grounds that stood the mother of one of the most recognized, not to mention worshipped, figures of all time – Jesus Christ. No, the structure that stands today is not completely the original from 2000 years ago, but the base of it is. The drinkable water from the natural springs that ran into the front room of her house (now piped out into fountains) is delicious and refreshing. I would love to say that it has remained a special place untouched save for the rebuild and upkeep, but that would be a false. There are now souvenir stands and a small café as well as restrooms and a large parking lot. But take those away and the 900 meters above sea level to reach the site would leave us with a very long, exhausting hike.
Our next stop took us to Ephesus. I had never heard of this place that contains so much rich history and evidence of a thriving ancient civilization. Everywhere you look there are remains of structures built so carefully and exquisitely – it’s overwhelming. The parliament building – beautifully constructed columns reaching up to support the nonexistent roof; the public toilets – set in an L shape for conversational convenience; the shops – the entries still inlaid with detailed mosaic patterns; the library – stretching way up into the sky detailed with many statues and carved filigree amongst the marble columns; the stadium – open aired and carefully constructed around a petit stage. The city is still undergoing excavations as it had been covered by debris after thousands of years. The entire site blew me away with the incredible architecture that survived all those years, now guarded by an army of cats that I’m sure work hard to scare off evil.