EPHESUS (Oct. 26) — We journeyed back to ancient Roman and Greek times by visiting Ephesus. Our guide for this excursion, Berkan, started by taking us to the House of The Virgin Mary, the site where it is believed John took Mary to live after Jesus’ death. After a tour of the house, a drink of sacred water for good health and placing a wish on the wishing wall, we headed to a very well respected local pottery maker, who has been commissioned to restore the tiles at the Topkapi Palace. It was no surprise to us how beautiful the pottery looked. We watched a demonstration of pottery making and observed the painters at work.
Next, it was time for the ancient ruins of Ephesus, which is filled with ancient Greek and Roman cultural treasures. This is one of the most expansive archeological restorations in the world – and much is still being uncovered and restored. We could see the remnants of how majestic the city once was. As Berkan relayed his knowledge of these relics, we marveled at the history beneath our feet. Julius and Augustus Caesar, Cleopatra and Anthony, and President Obama are among the well known figures who have walked these grounds, and now our names can be added to this “A List.”
To complement the history seen at the ruins, we visited the Ephesus Museum, which houses many statues and artifacts recovered from excavations of the site. It is incredible how well preserved many of the items remain.
Our tour was completed with a quick visit to the Basilica of John the Evangelist. It was a perfect addition to what was seen at the House of The Virgin Mary. Even though the Baptistery is in ruins, original mosaics and frescos are still visible.
We returned to the hotel, where Mustafa was preparing a lavish barbecue of lamb and chicken. We joined him by the grill as he was carefully tending to the tasty sizzling morsels. We skipped lunch for the sake of our day’s itinerary, so the family cat was not the only one licking her chops. And the meats were fantastic! They were complimented by appetizers of green beans in a tomato puree and yogurt with parsley. How could we ever tire of this?
Tour posts, in chronological order: