Today started much later than the rest of the trip–we didn’t actually get into the port of Kusadasi until 1pm. Therefore we got to sleep in, although 8am was the best I could do. When I looked out the window, all I could see was grey sky and water. Meh–re-runs.
It–the weather and the scenery both–got magnificently better later.
Boy, were we lazy this morning! Breakfast, then back to the cabin to watch “Inside Out’, then back up for lunch. I’m glad I don’t actually live like this.
(Oops–didn’t get any playing cards yesterday. So much for adding to my collection…)
We were up top as we pulled into Kusadasi–kind of a long wait, but I enjoyed watching the first part of the land as we floated past. Plus, if I was lucky, I would occasionally see fish rising to the surface of the water. They were moving fast–and straight toward the ship. I foresaw many fishy headaches if they didn’t swerve soon.
Once the ship got tied off, we were all sorted into our respective herds and trotted off to our buses. Our particular tour took us to the House of the Virgin Mary and then to Ephesus.
Once we got out of Kusadasi, we rode through hilly country, green and lush. So very different from what we’d been seeing for the past few days.
The first sign we saw of Ephesus was also the last–but I get ahead of myself.
(No, not the truck, silly! That bare spot above it–that’s the amphitheatre.)
Our bus wound higher and higher up what is called “Partridge Mountain”. We passed a large statue of the Virgin Mary–our guide told us that it was a gift from the Muslims to the Christians of the community. Muslims have a great respect for Mary–did you know she is mentioned six times in their scripture, while Mohammed’s mother is not mentioned at all? This from our Muslim guide.
In short time, we reached our first stop, which was the aforementioned House. Fortunately for us, the harbor of Kusadasi can only hold two cruise ships at a time, so the crowd of tourists was minimal. Just the people from our own ship, mostly. Still, quite a lot of bodies milling around.
We got in line with everyone else, while our tour guide gave us some info about the house.
Again, we had our own individual listening devices. Handy things to have.
It really is a very small place, Mary’s house. The story of its initial discovery was interesting. Here’s what Wiki has to say:
The House of the Virgin Mary (Turkish: Meryem ana or Meryem Ana Evi, “Mother Mary’s House”) is a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos (Turkish: Bülbüldağı, “Mount Nightingale”) in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Selçuk in Turkey.
The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano after her death. The Catholic Church has never pronounced in favour or against the authenticity of the house, but nevertheless maintains a steady flow of pilgrimage since its discovery. Anne Catherine Emmerich was Beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004.
Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption (according to Catholic doctrine) orDormition (according to Orthodox belief).
No pictures were allowed to be taken inside, but we sure took a lot from the outside! It took only about two minutes to walk through the three tiny rooms and out the exit. It was absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of the crutches and corrective shoes that were hung on the wall by the entrance, mute testimony left by those who no longer needed them because of miraculous cures.
There are four fountains outside and below the house, and I filled my water bottle with the water that flowed constantly from them. Tasted really good.
Then there was the wall of prayers:
I left my own intentions there, of which I have a lot. (Consider yourself prayed for.)
This from our bus–whaddaya know, a vendor with a sense of humor–or honesty…
Ephesus was next. We drove back down the mountain…
and parked near the ruins. With our guide leading us, we spent about and hour and a half on the ancient city’s grounds.
There are a couple of things I remember about what he told us. One is that only ten percent of Ephesus has been unearthed–and they’ve been working on it since the 1800s. Secondly, St. Paul walked these very streets, and spoke in the amphitheatre that we saw on the way here. (Not one of his more accepted speeches either…)
Let the pictures tell the story:
These road pavers were really slippery–when they were installed way back at the beginning, the surfaces had been pocked with holes to keep pedestrians and horses from slipping on them. Good idea–kind of worn out now though.
Again with the toilets…what fun to visit with your neighbors whilst doing your most private stuff. No thanks…
Lots of cats once again. I took lots of pictures of them. They were as arrogant as I’m sure Bastet would be–I know, different religion and background, but I couldn’t help but think of the Egyptian equivalent of this time in history.
At the end of the journey through Ephesus, there was a Caesar/Cleopatra re-enactment, with dancers and a couple of sword-clashers.
We didn’t watch all that much of it–my attention was diverted by a side path which directed visitors to “The Church of Mary”.
Good that it was short, this path, as we didn’t have a lot of time (oh, what a surprise…). We came across the excavation of this church site in a very short time, took some quick pictures, and hoofed it back to the bus.
When we got back to Kusadasi, we were treated once again to a rug demonstration–but this time we got to see how they were made.
The process they use to separate out the strands of silk from the cocoon is fascinating! They have to flash-steam them to kill off the worm inside, then they put the cocoons through a bath, which loosens the fibers. After this, they stir a brush into the water to catch up the ends of several cocoon fibers at the same time. These they spin together to make one continuous thread. Such a simple process–but so time-consuming.
We had a little time to kill after the demo, so we stopped off at a little cafe to have a beer and watch the sun go down. We were right on the water, so naturally we took several pictures here too.
Back to the ship, a nice dinner, then up to the top deck to watch Kusadasi twinkle out of sight.