Sailing away from Turkey
Recap of our Mediterranean cruise Day 6
I have to say I didn’t know what to expect when we went to Turkey. Most people I know who have done the Mediterranean never went to Turkey. They lovingly talk about Greece or Italy but that’s it. My husband went to Turkey as a kid. All he seems to remember is eating kabob from a street vendor and his grandma getting stuck in the elevator at their hotel. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, the excursion we planned was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most.
We were to visit St. John’s Basilica and meet an eccentric professor and help him solve a mystery. We borded our bus and were on our way. It took a little while but it was a nice drive and familiar. The area looked a lot like California. The dry hills, similar plants. Now when I read the New Testament I’ll know what some of the locations looked like, the foothills. We got to St. John’s and were greeted by storks. They were nesting around the area and flying everywhere. Our guide told us that we were lucky because they have a saying that if you see a stork in it’s nest you will not travel that year, but if you see it flying, you will travel a lot. we saw a bunch of storks flying so I guess we’ll be on the go. We had a brief tour of the ruins and a chance to wander on our own, but soon the mystery began. We were introduced to the archaeologists (actors) working the site and told that they had found some clues but couldn’t figure them out, and needed help from all the kids to solve them. We were put into teams and sent off on a scavenger hunt. Everyone was running around looking for the next clues and every once in awhile you’d come up on another tour. They were definitely missing out on the fun with just a plain tour.
About to solve the mystery
We found the last clue and brought it back to the professor. He assembled everything the groups had found and it made a mosaic with an ichthus (fish) inside. Later we would see the ichthus carved into the stones in Ephesus, showing that Christians were there. It was a lot of fun. The Disney excursions with kids activities are really great. The children love them and you get to interact with the location in a more meaningful way. Next we were headed to Ephesus. No special kids stuff here but it didn’t need it. I don’t really know how to describe it.
The library of Ephesus
It was amazing that they could have built such grandeur long ago, still beautiful in it’s ruined state. I could really imagine how it had been with people everywhere living and working there. It’s really wonderful to see something you’ve only read about in the Bible. Soon we left and went to Ephesus Park. It’s a recreation of what the towns would have been like long ago. They have a silly production with Cleopatra, dancing girls and a brief gladiator fight. I wish we hadn’t watched it because we didn’t have a lot of time there. We did get to eat some kabob. I wanted to try the Turkish coffee shop but it was so hot, I couldn’t do it. I really think Disney should add to their excursions a coffee experience. They should have a guide well versed in coffee take you to the best places in Venice, the Greek Isles and Kusadasi to try the local specialties and learn more. People are so coffee crazy I think it would be fun. After lunch we ran to the shop to try and find some souvenirs but we did’t have a lot of time. We did by a pottery cat. There were so many cats in Ephesus that it was a perfect reminder of this part of our trip. We took so long shopping the guide had to come get us because it was time to leave. I’m glad we chose excursions that showed the history of each location but we didn’t have much chance to do any shopping. Every excursion was so long. A lot of the European families on board, including our dinner companions, didn’t take these long trips. Many of the cruisers had been to these places, or they just came for the beach and the sun. We learned that Kusadasi is a very popular resort town and people come from all over to vacation there. But, how could you pass up these experiences, although relaxing would be fun.
Colette trying to make a knot
On the way back to the ship our guide took us to see rugs being made. This wasn’t part of the tour but most of the group went. It was interesting and we got to experience Turkish hospitality. They gave us cheese pies and we tried raki, looked at tons of beautiful rugs and almost bought one. The ones I really liked were way too big for our house and because of that, way out of our price range. The sales men are good though, they kept saying its a great investment for our daughter, she can have it forever and take it into her marriage one day. I’m for a nice hope chest but we’ll start out smaller, I’m teaching her how to embroider tea towels right now.
We finally got back to the ship and got ready for Prince & Princess night. Colette wore her Elsa dress and we went see “Twice Charmed” it was a cute Cinderella show and then bed. It had been a long day, but I had been pleasantly surprised by Turkey. I would really enjoy going back again, and maybe relaxing a little more this time.