Resuming our Eastern Med voyage, nothing could prepare us for the glory that was to come in downtown Ephesus.
Before we get to that, a curious outcome, the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul has just been reconverted to a Mosque. This is big news in Turkey as it is apparently being done to shore up political support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Many do not think this a good idea. Living history for sure.
Our ship put into Kusadasi, Turkey on a perfect sunny day. We boarded a private tour bus for Ephesus, a 30 minute drive from the port. Yes Ephesus is the famous Greek city mentioned in the Bible many times in Saint Paul’s epistles. It was one of the ancient 7 churches of Asia and had come under Roman rule in 129 BC. The Christian Council of Ephesus was held there in the 5th century that confirmed the Nicene Creed and condemned Nestorius. Today it is a favorite tourist site. Its extensive antiquities are still being uncovered and lovingly restored.
Our first stop was the House of the Virgin Mary. While not formerly recognized yet by the Catholic Church as verifiably authentic, pilgrims visit the shrine based on the belief that Mary was taken there by St. John to live out the rest of her days after her son Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. As we were a group of Catholics, it was spiritually meaningful for us to visit this site and for each make a written prayerful wish and leave it on the wall with thousands of others.
We then continued on to Ephesus which was very crowded. What an experience it was strolling down the main street of a Roman formerly Greek ancient city. There were dozens of buildings and monuments in good to excellent condition. They are constantly uncovering and restoring more. We marveled at the facade of the Library of Celsus and chuckled when our guide pointed out a tunnel running under the street to the brothel. We tried out the open air public toilets for size. We sat ourselves down in the huge open theatre and could hear the echo of Saint Paul preaching. Even though it was very busy, it was a beautiful marvelously maintained historic place to visit, to experience and to ponder about its mysteries. We will not soon forget Ephesus.
Tired, we headed back to Kusadasi for some shopping which was pretty good. In fact it was so good Dave decided to by a ring for Marie. We picked out a nice one and the proprietor said to come back in an hour or so and it would be ready after it was polished and adjusted. So Marie went back on board the Nautica and Dave wondered around a bit and then went back to the store for the ring. Well it wasn’t ready yet…. Not to worry. Dave waited and waited and finally it did come after servicing.
But now Dave had only 10 minutes to get back to the ship before its scheduled departure. Sprinting like O.J. Simpson in the Miami airport to the Hertz counter, he hurtled plant stands, dodged street vendor wagons as he bee lined it for the dock. Running onto the dock, the crew were just about to winch up the gangway when they saw him coming. They cheered him on with “Come on, you can make it!” just like in the ad. At last he jumped up onto the gangway just in time. A little too close for comfort but in the end we were happily reunited in time for happy hour. It was such a great day! Lol!
To be continued.