Istanbul to Dubai
October 31 - November 21, 2022
Mike and Judy Henderson
In this installment, we visit Ephesus, Kos and Antalya.
11/2/2022 (Wednesday) We arrived at Kusadasi this morning early. Our tour to Ephesus leaves fairly early so we were up bright and early to get ready.
After breakfast, we met in the theatre about 8am, and then went to our assigned bus. Our tour guide was waiting for us.
Ephesus was founded in the 10th century BC by Greeks. It was important as a trading and commercial center, but its importance gradually declined as the harbor silted up. It is one of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelations.
Ephesus is built on a hillside, and the tour is arranged for us to enter at the top and walk downhill. There were some merchant stalls outside the upper entrance, as well as restrooms.
Tim and Maria were on the tour with us.
We entered on a flat area with ruins ahead of us. Here are the ruins of a temple, and a theatre.
This road led down from this upper plateau. It was paved with marble stones, and was slippery.
As we moved down, we encountered many ruins. I'm sure the guide told us what they were, but I didn't hear or remember most of them. I'll include pictures of some of the ruins, but there are lots more.
Carving of the goddess Nike.
A couple of statues.
Judy at the Hercules Gate.
Curetes Street, one of the main streets in Ephesus. At the end of the street you can see the famous Library of Celsus, which once housed 12,000 scrolls.
Perhaps a temple to some god.
Temple of Hadrian.
A closer view of the Library. The facade of the Library was destroyed by an earthquake in the 10th or 11th century but was re-erected by archeologists between 1970 and 1978. It's a good thing they did re-erect it, because it's the "face" of Ephesus - the thing that people come to see. It's similar in that regard to the Treasury in Petra.
From here, we went to the Terrace Houses. The Terrace Houses were the homes of wealthy citizens, and the remains of the houses display the rich ornamentation.
They've built a covering over the excavation area to protect the site from the elements. Picture taken from the web.
We were able to enter the structure to see the remains of the houses. A separate ticket is required to enter the structure.
The atrium in one of the houses. The size of the atrium reflected the size of the house and the wealth and social standing of the owner.
A vaulted room in another house.
A closer view of the frescoes.
They had built a walkway, with glass bottoms, to help tourists see the site but still preserve it. It led us up the hillside. Here's a view down the hilside.
Up and up we went.
Another richly decorated room.
A mosaic of a lion.
More richly decorated rooms. This large home was probably originally built for one family, but as the family grew, they added rooms. If they wanted to change the wall decorations, they plastered over and re-painted the walls.
I have a lot more pictures but I'm going to stop here. If you want to see more, there are sites on the web where you can see additional pictures.
We exited at the top of the structure and walked down along the side.
Then we went to the Library. Here's Judy's "I was there" picture.
In this picture, Judy was in heavy shade and the library was really bright. I had to do a lot of work in PhotoShop to get it to what you see. There are a few artifacts from the editing.
One last picture of the Library.
We exited the Library area through the arch on the right side of the above picture.
When we got to the area of the theatre, we found Garfield waiting for us. He's the famous cat, Garfield of Ephesus, who has his own Instagram page.
Judy got this picture of me getting ready to take a picture of Garfield. He has quite the presence, surrounded by visitors.
As we headed to the exit along Harbor Street, there were some re-enactors putting on a show. Two soldiers were fighting while being watched by high officials.
After the act was over, the re-enactors walked out.
As we were walking out, I did my best to get a picture of the theatre. I was shooting into the sun so it was difficult. I believe they re-constructed the theatre so that it can be used.
When we got to the bus area, I was amazed at how many buses there were waiting. Here are about half of them.
And the other half.
We boarded and headed back to the modern city of Ephesus. It was time for another rug presentation.
Their prices were better than in Istanbul, so Judy and I decided to purchase a runner to match the rug we bought in Istanbul. It's natural wool, not dyed, just like the other one. They will ship it to our home, same as the one we purchased in Istanbul. I'll update this page after we receive it.
[Update: We received the rug but it took a while to get it. It was in excellent condition.]
After that, we went to see the weaver who was working on a silk rug, about 2.5 feet by 4 feet.
Here's what she's already done - picture taken of the rug on the loom.
I suppose I pushed the most, but we decided to purchase this one, also. She won't finish it for six or eight months. And she will sign it as I showed in the picture from Istanbul. I just thought it would be special to have a signed rug that we watched the weaver/artist working on. I'll update this page after we receive it.
Of course, then we had to take pictures of everyone. Here's the weaver and Judy by the area where they process the silk cocoons.
A group picture at the loom: Judy, the salesman, the weaver/artist, and me.
[Update: The news was not as good on this rug. We hadn't heard from the company for many months and they didn't respond to our email to them. Finally, I started a "dispute" through my credit card company and that got them to contact me. They claimed the weaver became ill and couldn't finish the rug, but I believe someone offered them more money for it and they sold it to that person. But we did get our money back through the credit card company. BTW, a silk rug with a weaver's signature is fairly expensive.]
After that, we headed back to the ship. We had dinner and then to bed. Tomorrow we go to Kos, Greece, and set our clocks back an hour.
11/3/2022 (Thursday) We arrived in Kos this morning. Kos is in Greece, not Turkey, and is one hour off from Turkey so we had an extra hour of sleep. Our excursion this morning goes to the Asclepeion and the city, noted as the birthplace of Hippocrates. The remains of his healing center have been scavenged by later builders, including the Knights Hospitaller, who most likely took many of the stones to build their castle.
There are three levels to the site, with modern steps between the levels. Here are some drawings depicting the site showing the levels - from an information plaque at the site.
This picture shows the steps. (Wikipedia picture)
The first level is fairly barren.
The ruins of a temple remain on the second level.
I went up to the third level. Here's a wide angle view looking back on the two lower levels. Nothing much left except a few columns.
There was a major temple on the third level but it's pretty much gone - just a few stones left in place.
Since the site is so destroyed, it would be interesting if they would build it back to what it probably was in antiquity. That would allow people to really experience it.
We departed the Asclepeion and headed back to the city of Kos. We walked to a small square.
In the square was a very old olive tree.
And at the base of the tree, in the crotch between two main trunks, was a small cat. It looked like it was very comfortable.
From here, we walked through some of the small streets of the city.
When we reached the main square of Kos we saw some children playing.
Then we entered an archeological area.
And walked to the Tree of Hippocrates, which, according to legend, is where Hippocrates taught his students about medicine. It is located in the Square of the Platane and is sometimes called the Platanos Tree.
The tree is quite old, but not old enough to reach back to Hippocrates. There's a metal structure around the tree to help hold up some of the branches. It could possibly be an offspring of the original tree.
With that, our tour was finished and we walked back to the dock, where the tender brought us back to the ship. One striking thing about the area was the water - it was so clear you could easily see the bottom. Just beautiful. I can understand why most of Kos' tourism is beach related.
That evening, we had the Captain's Gala where he introduced his senior staff to the guests.
Then it was dinner and to bed. The end of another day.
11/4/2022 (Friday) When we looked outside our cabin this morning, we were already docked at Antalya. I did a panoramic view of the area by combining two pictures.
There's a cable car to the top of that mountain, but we were not able to schedule that in.
Our tour this morning is a walk through the town and a visit to the Archeological Museum. As the bus was driving to the drop-off place, I noticed tanks on the roof of many of the tall, residential buildings. These are solar water heaters. According to the guide, someone who owns a unit in the building can pay to have a solar water heater installed on the roof, which can reduce their energy bills. She explained that summer heat is extreme, and that made hot water very inexpensive.
We were dropped off at Hadrian's Gate.
Our tour guide for the day. She was very good - friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. She said that the old town has seen a renovation in the past few years. Before that, it could be a dangerous place, especially at night.
We began our city tour through the narrow streets of the old town.
There were many small stores along the way, selling a variety of goods. One popular item many of them carried was variations of the Nazar, an amulet of an eye with a blue center to ward off the "Evil Eye".
Many local people put one on the door to their house.
Judy and I bought a small one with a magnet and put it on our cabin door.
A view of one of the streets with a minaret in the distance.
As we walked along, we saw a building that had a cello body design on the doors. I had to take a picture of Judy at those doors.
Along the walk, we encountered this man walking with a load of simit. It's a round bread covered with sesame seeds. We saw a lot of these in Turkey, especially in street stalls. It's known as a Turkish bagel in the United States.
He walked along very nonchalantly with the load balanced on his head.
We stopped at a small restaurant for a soda and a view.
Note the cat above the door. There were many cats in the area, but they appeared to be well fed and cared for.
There was a nice view of the harbor from the restaurant.
Maurice, from Richmond, VA, joined us.
Here we are at the table.
A street with many stores.
We walked by a mosque with a very unusual, but interesting, minaret.
A view of the town, with that peculiar minaret on the left.
This is the National Ascension Monument, a statue to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkey.
Then we boarded the bus and went to the Archeological Museum. It's quite a museum, with an extensive collection of items beginning with pre-history and including massive statues and sarcophagi. I'll only be able to show you a few of the exhibits.
Here's some pottery.
A Greek style vase.
A partial bronze statue.
This bull's head is an oil lamp.
Then we entered the statuary area, where they really had a lot of exhibits.
The head of a well preserved statue.
A couple of statues. I didn't make a note of who they were suppose to represent.
The head of a larger statue of a horse.
Then we got to the area of sarcophagi.
A sarcophagus for a dog.
One final sarcophagus. Amazing detail. Amazing preservation.
After exiting the museum, we took the usual path to the museum shop. Here's Judy and our tour guide in the shop.
Then it was back to the ship and the usual evening activities.
Tomorrow we head to Limassol, Cyprus.
Our adventure continues here