The excursion to Ephesus is included in our package and was noted by both Elena and Christiana as a highlight of our trip.
They were not kidding!
Despite the late night we are all up and on time (good thing too) for our tour of Ephesus, in Turkey. Which means it’s not just another country for me: it’s another continent!
Our tour guide (whose name I can’t spell but it is pronounced like “John”) is delightful. He tells us, on route to the ruins at Ephesus, about his experience over 20 years as a tour guide. About common misconceptions about Turkey, about his family, and about the site we are visiting.
Ephesus was a major port in antiquity (Paul having visited there in the first century and subsequently written a rather famous letter to the church there), but the site wasn’t discovered for a long time despite having been sought for decades.
A river that also emptied into its harbor had silted it up, ultimately diminishing the city’s usefulness, and tricking modern searchers so that those looking for the port city were looking miles away, near where the water is now, rather than here where it once was.
Discovered by accident, we are able to visit the 10% of the site that is recovered, and see the markings of the outer city where they hope to continue to reveal what was once here.
Oh there are so many great and interesting facts and finds our guide shares with us. About the reconstruction process. About the section of town we are effectively strolling through. About the public baths and the library and the market beside it (and the brothel across the way) and about the ancient “billboard” advertising it. We see the amphitheater en route to the end of this fascinating site.
Then we are onward to learn about the history and process of Turkish rug making, to apple tea and cheese rolls and just in general a warm feeling about this place. It really is a highlight of the cruise, as advertised.
It has already been a full (feeling) day when we get to the ship.
There is at least a brief nap in my future…