This is part of a series that recaps my family’s recent vacation.  For more posts, check out Rome 1, Rome 2, and Split, Croatia.

Our second port of call was in Turkey, a country that I never would have anticipated visiting.  Our schedule was a little more relaxed as we had the entire day in port.  The cruise had different excursions that you could sign up for.  My mom and sister Jessie chose to visit a Turkish Bath while my Dad, sister Rachel and I went to historical Ephesus.  Thanks to Rachel for some of the photos to follow.

Ephesus is an archeological site of the ancient city.  It took about 1 hour to walk the site, yet only about 1/3 has been unconverted.  It was one of the largest cities on the Mediterranean in the ancient world and was the home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient world.  Cruise 243IMG_1744Temple of HadrianCruise 231Cruise 233Cruise 259IMG_1766

Library of Celsus.  I front has been entirely reconstructed, pieced back together from the rubble found by archeologists.


There were cats EVERYWHERE!


IMG_1734Remains of the ancient baths which included public restrooms.IMG_1794

IMG_1741IMG_1762IMG_1751Pomegranate tree!IMG_1749Ephesus was originally a Greek city, then taken over by the Romans, and finally, became part of the Ottoman Empire.Cruise 225IMG_1789

Pictured in the 2 photos above is the theater, built in the third century BC.  It was used for concerts, plays, gladiator and animal fights as well as for religious, political, and philosophical discussion.  Christianity had a presence in Ephesus, established by John and then developed by Paul (disciples of Jesus).  As the Christian gospel spread, artisans that crafted silver likenesses to Artemis felt that their trade was threatened.  They publicly addressed this issue in the theater.  Paul’s disciples did not allow him to address the crowd (possibly for safety concerns) and shortly after left the city.  Never the less, Ephesus become the third most important city for Christianity, behind Jerusalem and Antioch.


IMG_1802Aaand the tourist trap leaving the city.

Part of our tour included a carpet presentation.  Turkey is known for their carpets, so we were taken to a dealer.  While there, we observed a woman hand making on carpet.  This craft is traditionally made by women.  It is a dying art in the age of mass production so the Turkish government subsidizes the production to keep the tradition alive.

Carpet WeavingA small one, 3X5 feet, can take one woman up to 8 months to complete.  They showed us all kinds including different sizes, colors and materials.  The quality is judged on a couple of criteria.  Material: wool, cotton or silk.  Colors: in one carpet, the yellow thread was died with saffron.  Thread count:  in a square inch, the count can range from 200 to over 1000!

Carpet Presentation 3Carpet Presentation 1

The dealer joked that Turkey does not have any famous painters, but that they are known for their carpets.  In a small frame, there was one that took 3 years to make and had a thread count of 1,400.

During the presentation, the employees came around with apple tea, beer, wine and small pastries.  According to them, it is Turkish custom to give your guests a gift.  Definitely enjoyed that custom Smile.Carpet Presentation 2After the presentation, they invited us to look around.  We had no intention of making a purchase, but in the end, we bought a BEAUTIFUL carpet for my sister Rachel.  The photo doesn’t do it justice.  As part of the government and Royal Caribbean subsidies, there was no import tax so she was able to bring it right into France.  They packed it up so small, it fit into a bag the size of a typical day to day purse.  Pretty cool.Cruise 456

After the presentation, we still had some time.  We grabbed lunch and continued to souvenir shop.  I purchased some really intricately painted bowls (which will be featured anytime soup, yogurt or oatmeal makes an appearance on TBN).  I also bought an evil eye magnet.  This image was everywhere and is used to keep evil away from you, not to inflict it.  We always get a magnet from wherever we travel for my mom (we may need a new fridge soon).Bowls Collage


Our final adventure was to go find the beach.  The water was just sooo clear and blue and the weather was perfect.  We got directions from a local and set out.  We had to walk about a mile down the road.  then our instructions took us down a footpath, over rocks and down a crumbling set of marble stairs.  A bit sketchy.  But when we got there it was so worth it.

After an hour we packed up and set off for the ship.  Fortunately this time we got much better directions and followed an actual road back.  No more hiking!

Once we were back on the ship, we rejoined mom and Jessie, who had a great time at the bath.  Apparently very large, very intense Turkish men were in charge of the massages so it was fun as well as relaxing.

And that was Turkey! It was beautiful and all the people were so kind.  We all had a great time.

Do you collect any special souvenirs when you travel?


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