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Turkey

Cruise Day 13 - Ismir & Ephesus

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Day 72 Friday 26 November - “Cruise Day 13 – Ismir & Ephesus”

We sailed into the port of Ismir – the fourth biggest city in Turkey – arriving at 9 am. This was the first time we'd booked a 'Shore Excursion' through NCL. We paid US$ 60 each for a six hour tour to Ephesus leaving the ship at 10 and returning at 4 pm. The coach was very comfortable and we were escorted by a Turkish guide who spoke excellent English.

We travelled South through mainly agricultural land with some impressive hills along the way. Most of the one-hour trip was on a multi-lane divided toll road stopping along the way at a 'service centre' which sold a variety of items including Cashmere Shawls, traditional shirts, guide books and olive oil. The tour guide bought two cans – one for him and one for his mother-in-law. (to keep her happy).

We arrived at the ruins of the city of Ephesus which was originally founded in the 10th century BC. Much of the visible ruins are from the third building of the city during the time of Christ. Much of the structure was of local marble in a variety of colours. Many of the infrastructure features – running water, central heating and water borne sewage – were well before their time. There is also evidence that the people of the era were aware that the world was a globe and not flat.

One of the most striking structures is the theatre with a seating capacity of an estimated 24 thousand. Archaeologists estimate that the capacity of these ancient theatres represented about 10% of the population. Based on theses estimates, Ephesus was a city of about a quarter of a million, not bad for it's day.

Down from the theatre was an area where local Turks re-enact the scenes that would have occurred at the time when the Romans rules the city. There are also a number of connections with the early Christian church and a local tourist attraction is the house where Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived out her life.

The city bustled with life today as almost half of the 2,500 passengers from the Jade crowded the marble paved roads. Guides are equipped with short range radio sets which are tuned to receives issued to each member of the group. Provided you were within about 50 meters of the guide you could listen to the commentary though the supplied earpiece. At least 20 groups of about 40 people crowded through the ruins.

After the tour we were given some time to browse the local stalls selling a range of items, the most honest of which advertised it's wares as 'Genuine Fake Watches'. Yes, fake high end watches alongside real Turkish Delight, dried figs and Baklava. A short distance out of Ephesus we visited a traditional Turkish Rug Weavers. The co-operative is supported by government subsides in an effort to sustain the traditional skill.

We were shown the art of extracting the thread from the silk-worm cocoon and then the knotting of the traditional rugs. They range from cotton based with wool of various grades to all mercerised cotton up to the finest rugs made from 100% silk. Rugs can take as much as 18 months to complete. We were supplied with various refreshments whilst the rug dealer displayed examples of the various grades.

There was no hard sell and were told that the government subsidy covered packaging, shipping, insurance and import duty, COD to any address in the world. Sounded like a great deal but the prices started at about US$ 1,200 up to US$ 30,000 for a large 100% silk carpet to cover a large room.

The trip back to the ship was quite relaxed and despite the threatening clouds we experience no significant rain. Back at the ship we enjoyed another great dinner and then attended the Stardust Show 'Journey South' featuring Andy and Carl Pemberton who made it to the big time in the UK TV show 'X Factor'. They've been touring the world for the past 4 years and were certainly one of the best acts we've seen.

I'm posting this blog tonight because my Internet time is half price. I know, I'm cheap.

Sea day tomorrow, then Egypt on Sunday the weekend of general elections! I wonder what effect that will have.

Posted by greynomadm 12:16 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

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