Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kusadasi & Ephesus Turkey Day 4

Today was a wonderful day. We woke up late again as our wake up call didn’t work. We got up at 8:00 am and had to be to the excursions by 9:00 am. We hurried and ran up to breakfast. The Wittwer’s, Dalton’s, and Christensen’s were all there, so that was fun. We all finished up breakfast and headed down to the buses.
For the first part of our tour, we headed to Ephesus (correctly pronounced "eh FEH soos") (I had to think of "Festus" and " Dr. Suess"to get the sounds down) to tour the House of the Virgin Mary. This is supposedly the house where Mary, the mother of Christ lived following His death. She came here with John, the Beloved, whom Jesus said, "behold thy son....behold thy mother" to. So John took care of Mary and brought her to Ephesus. Ephesus at the time of Christ was a large city of 250,000 people and in the Roman Empire. They came because the large number of people would give them a great missionary opportunity. However, they also didn’t like Christians very much, so Mary’s home is built in the hills away from Ephesus and secluded where it would be harder to find. As a matter of fact, the story goes that a nun had a dream about this house and saw Mary and knew it was her house and where it was located. The nun lived in England or something, so she never visited, but her story was written in a book and years later someone who had read the book traveled and began looking and found this place in the exact detail as given in the book. Earthquakes and time have destroyed much of the home, but a lot of the foundation was there, so a replica was built atop the old foundation. It was pretty interesting. I really wanted to feel the spirit there, but it is a little weird when there are candles and statues and such– more like a shrine. Sis. Dalton came up to me (she was on the other tour, but saw us there) and said, "didn’t you just feel the sweetest spirit in that place?" So then I felt really bad, so I went back through and just tried to reflect on how Mary would have felt living there after seeing her son die. That was a little better for me, but I am a reflector and often feel things after I have done them and begin to reflect.
Our second stop was in the old ruins of Ephesus itself. WOW! What a place! I could have stayed there for a couple of days just wandering around there. There are so many things preserved and still being uncovered in that neat place. The library was HUGE and just Awesome! Then we got to stop in the theater (Colosseum). This is where Paul preached to the Ephesians. I stopped and sat down and read Acts 18 & 19 while there. That was REALLY cool! It was interesting trying to imagine Paul preaching to the vast number of people who were so wicked and idolatrous. They had many Gods. The one they loved in Ephesus was Artemis (or Diana, the goddess of fertility). There were a lot of statues there because of their worship of Gods. The Theater holds 24,000 people. WOW! For back in that time, huh??!! I couldn’t help but think of the Conference Center... I just loved this place.
After Ephesus, we went to lunch in a little town called Sirnce (pronounced SHA rench JAY) or something like that. It was a cute little place in the hills where they grown olives, peaches, grapes, and such. Turkey is also one of the biggest producers of figs. We had a salad that was different from ours, some olives, and eggplant something, and some really good bread for appetizers. The lunch was a lamb kabob, a chicken kabob, and couple of Turkish meatballs, some rice and french fries. For dessert they served melon and Baklava– which was really good and very rich. We were told that Baklava originated in Turkey and the Greeks stole it– kind of funny. Our guide said, "how could this be Greek? Only we produce pistachios and hazelnuts. We are the largest exporter of hazelnuts. The Greeks don’t even have them." Then she said she couldn’t talk for a minute because she was mad. She was laughing and so were we. Oh, the country rivalries. We did mention that we liked Memot Okur, just so we could get in good with the locals. A couple of people told Brian Paxman (who runs the blimp at the Jazz games) to tell Memot "hi" for them. Yep, you bet– the next time we see him, huh?? Funny!
After lunch, we visited St. John’s Basillica. This is the ruins of an old church that they said John the Beloved died at, but they could not find his body. (Go figure– he’s still around according to our scriptures, huh? AND if you go see Forgotten Carols......) Well, it was a neat place. She said that the "legend" is that John was visiting with God and He told him that he would not be here for much longer, so John dug a hold and laid in it until he died. A few days later, some apostles found the hole and a smell, but did not find John. There were supposedly some caskets uncovered, but I didn’t hear the date as I was contemplating that he was translated, so I’ll have to check Sheldon Wittwer’s notes on that and update later. Anyway, the ruins were still pretty cool and they looked out toward the old city of Ephesus and toward the hill where the House of the Virgin Mary is, and also toward the Mediterranean Sea.
After this stop, we went back to Kusadasi (pronounced "Koosh A dawsee") and went to a store where they make carpets. We watched how they grow the silk worms, then kill them, then spin the silk. There is one mile of silk in each cocoon. He showed us the various natural dyes that they use to color with. I was pretty tickled to see our good old red root among them, as well as saffron, indigo, daffodils, and even rock salt. Then we saw the lady who was tying knots and creating a rug. WOW! What a process. We could have bought a rug really "cheap." You know, they are on sale since we are one of the last boats of the season and they are trying to get rid of stock. One couple bought a 4x6 rug for $1,100 and they threw in three purses, too. Yep, we have to get blinds first. But it was fun to know that Turkey is the capital of the world for handmade rugs. Pretty neat.
Now we are back. Paul is up on deck getting photos of the port and eating ice cream. He hasn’t come back since I started typing, so I assume he found someone to visit with. We will go to the show at 8:15 pm, then to our 9:00 dinner.
Tomorrow we are in Greece......until then.......

Picture 1: Library in Ephesus

Picture 2: Theater in Ephesus

Picture 3: House of Virgin Mary side view

Picture 4: Roman Latrines-- they were only for the men-- a 42 holer

1 Please comment here:

Wes & Tiff said...

Looks like you guys are having so much fun! I'm so jealous. Maybe one day we can go too. :) I keep telling Wes we need to go backpack Europe and Greece and Isreal and all of that. He gave me the excuse that he didn't think he could get 3 months off of work. ;) Hahaha, I told him maybe he could if he invited the boss.

Anyways, things here are good. THe kids are doing well, we check on them everyday. And it was funny cause when we went over there on Saturday evening, Wes asked Amanda if the boys were being good, and she said, "Oh yes, they haven't even fought this entire evening." So I guess you have to be proud that they went an entire evening without fighting. :) No, but really they are all being really good and helping out.

Can't wait to hear more stories. Love you guys! Be safe!