Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Turkey! Did someone say we're in Asia now?

Thursday, June 13th, Ephesus

It was another early morning! The bright side is that I’m sleeping really well though. I seem to be waking at the crack of dawn, every day! No complaints here though.

So, once up, breakfast arrived right on time and it was another enjoyable meal out on the balcony.

Today we’d be meeting Yelda from KSG Tours, otherwise known as Kagan Kosagan’s tours. I found his name also on Cruise Critic. There are several tour companies mentioned and mixed in there I found a review that mentioned his name. Then maybe another and then someone else mentioned Yelda as a fantastic guide. I did a search on Trip Advisor and he got great reviews, mainly in Istanbul, but a few popped up for Ephesus. But Yelda’s name kept popping up. Especially for tours with families. I contacted Kagan back in September, specifically requested Yelda and we were all set. Throughout the year, I’d get friendly emails From Kagan wishing us Happy Holiday’s or mentioning that they were looking forward to our visit. If you're not aware, Turkey is known for their "Carpet Making Tours".  Which if that's all it was, would be fine.  But often then end up as high pressure sales to buy a Turkish Carpet.  The last thing anyone in our group wanted to do was spend precious port time trying to be persuaded to buy a carpet, which we all knew we'd have no intentions of buying.  So, we were quite pleased that in preparation of this day there was never a mention of a carpet tour – we never indicated we wanted to visit one and they never asked if we wanted to. I let Kagan know what sites we wanted to see and that’s where we went.

So – we met Yelda right on time at 8:00 am. We had a short walk to our van and once in, the driver was off and Yelda started telling us all about Kudasai and Turkey. We could tell this would be a very interactive day! First was the question – are we in Europe or Asia? Why, Asia of course! About half of our group of six got this one right! On our way to Ephesus, Yelda told us about this part of Turkey today, a brief history and about where were on a map and where we were going. 

I can’t really say enough good things about Yelda. She was fantastic! She had so much knowledge about seemingly everything! The history, the architecture, the religions – which play such a role in this part of the world. She kept us all engaged.

The forecast was for rain, we even felt a few drops as we came off the ship, but we were lucky! The rain held off and for most of the day, the sun was shining. We had perfect weather!

Now, Ephesus. I can’t even begin to describe it, but to say it’s impressive!

What made Ephesus different to me from visiting Athens was that this was an entire city.  The life of the civilization was laid out right here.  In Athens we went from one ruin location to another.  But here you could envision the whole civilization that must have lived out their daily life. The technology of the time was just amazing.  Also we were basically in the country instead of seeing ruins in a city setting.  It was very different!

This is Athena Nike...some say that they can see the "Nike Swoosh" here in this picture - and that's where Nike got their logo....hmmm - could be!  

Next up....current excavations of the Terrace Houses!  

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