Kusadasi & Ephasus


(10-18) Today we docked at Kusadasi, Turkey – a lovely, lively port that has adopted tourism in a big way.  We took the tour to the ancient ruins at Ephesus – guided by Nuran – an extremely bright and dynamic Turkish woman – very liberated, “happily divorced” --- an outstanding experience!  In perfect American English (she studied in the States) she led us through this fascinating site, which is under extensive restoration.  The walk ended at the fantastic ancient theatre where one of the ship’s singers, “Staci” (from Baltimore!) thrilled us with part of an aria with incredible acoustics.  The tour ended back in town at a huge rug shop, where we enjoyed some traditional hot green apple tea during a lecture and display of the Turkish carpet industry.  Countless carpets were ceremoniously spread on the floor around the room, including classic designs, tribal designs, and some priceless silks – all exquisite and of high quality – with beautiful designs and colors.  Tempting, but we decided not to endure the shopping and bargaining required to purchase one…..

            We then headed to the Internet Café near the ship terminal and were warmly greeted by Yusuf (Joseph), who spoke excellent English.  (He studied English in school and for one year took ALL classes in English – then graduated from college as a food processing engineer.  However, because their economy is in a major crisis since April, he took the job here.  He is applying for a student visa to come to the US for graduate school.)  He invited us to the roof of their building for a wonderful view of the harbor – then, of course, introduced us to the jewelry store downstairs… We were pleasantly strong-armed into looking at many beautiful pieces…. And finally succumbed and I chose my Christmas present – a gold bracelet with many small emeralds – beautiful workmanship, but only an appraisal will tell whether we got a “deal”!….

            We asked Yusuf to take us to his favorite place for lunch (OUR treat), and after walking ~ 20 minutes through town and past many vendors, we arrived at “Summer Sun” – a popular spot for locals and visitors (esp. British and Dutch), where the owner ordered a typical Turkish meal for us, accompanied by local wine, beer, and a strong ouzo-like drink called “Raki”.  Lunch was delicious – small “cheese cigars”, followed by a dish of thin strips of beef cooked with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, hot peppers and spices – served on a large flat pan over flame and accompanied by delicious bread soaked in the sauce, Turkish rice, sliced tomatoes, and some English “chips”.  (Video of lunch).  Everyone is SO friendly – eager to know what we think of their country, and assuring us that they like Americans.

            On our walk back we made a few small purchases – bargaining aided by Yusuf!  We said goodbye after an exchange of photos and email addresses – then returned to the ship – eager to share our adventure over wine at poolside.