Stepping back in time.
10.05.2013 - 10.05.2013 20 °C
Once we get to Kusadasi tonight we say goodbye to Yigit and Yusef and join another tour group for the final 2 days. That's going to be interesting.
We left our hotel at 8.30am and are now on our in a north westerly direction along the coast. We've stopped for morning tea at a roadside cafe right on a lake - hazy but peaceful. I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed our stops along the roadside. These places vary in size and cleanliness, but this is where you meet everyday Turkish people - special experiences.
Our next stop was one of those obligatory shopping stops - a leather outlet. I'm over these I have to say. They just want your money! We came inside to a darkened room with our apples teas and us 6 bedraggled Aussies were treated to fashion parade on a catwalk. Each leather coat that was modelled by male and female models displayed a number, and if you liked that coat you marked that number on a card - so that you could try it on later. The fashion parade lasted about 15 minutes. Paul and Lesley were pulled out of our little audience group and they modelled coats as well. This was really entertaining. At the end we were taken in to the showroom. I had written down a number and of course I was pounced open by a salesman. It was beautiful. The original price was $2,300 US, the wholesale price came down to $985 US. He eventually came down to $650 US. No deal - couldn't justify it. We all left without making a purchase, and noticed that the smile on the host's face had diminished somewhat.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, we made our way from the leather outlet to Ephesus and St. Mary's Cottage. This is reportedly the home where Jesus' mother Mary spent the last years of her life. Her home is now a small shrine - a beautiful, peaceful and holy place. The little building is set high up in the hills about 6 kms above Ephesus. When we came outside we lit candles for Red's Mum and my Dad - a moment for quiet reflection. We drank some water from the natural spring there, the same spring that has been providing water in this area for thousands of years.
We had lunch at the cafe just below the cottage and then drove back down the hill and to our long anticipated tour of the ancient ruins of Ephesus. After seeing so many ruins over the last couple of weeks we all wondered if this might be an anticlimax. We need not have worried. This was like walking down a street a few thousand years ago - just spectacular. The remains of baths, churches, shops were on either side of the street. There was one stretch of mosaic tiled flooring that stretched for about 100 metres - in front of what would have been shops. At the end of the street was the magnificent facade of the Library - visually overwhelming! I didn't know where to look first. Yigit took photos of our group in front of the Library and then a bit later on with the Amphitheatre in the background.
We spent over 2 hours at Ephesus - we won't forget it.
Then to another shop - this time a Turkish Delight shop. Now, this one I didn't mind. This was great fun - tasting the different flavours. We bought some to take home.
A final stop in Ephesus - at St. John's Church - at the foot of the Castle of St. John. One last history lesson from Yigit. There are many storks nesting in Ephesus and a couple of them had made a nest on top of one of the ancient columns. It was an unusual sight to see them flying over the city.
On to Kusadasi - a beautiful town right on the Aegean Sea. We checked in to our hotel and bid farewell to Yigit our guide and Yusef our driver. Yusef looked and smiled just like Peter Sellers. They both did a brilliant job - we will miss them.
We had dinner in this amazing hotel. Dinner was buffet style and probably the best I've ever been to. The desserts were like nothing I've seen before - very different and absolutely delicious.
We met some of our new travelling companions over dinner. Our little group of 6 (we are family now) would have been very happy to continue on to Istanbul - but we had no choice - will be on a huge bus in a group of 40 travellers - for the last 2 days of our tour.