Published: October 1st 2009July 22nd 2009
Day 27: 22nd. July: Week 5: TURKEY: MAMARA: ISTANBUL: Temp 29C: Today as we approached Turkey we could see the beautiful skyline of Istanbul then onto the coach we drove across the Galata Bridge and went on our booked "Walking Tour of Historical Istanbul". That amazing first view gave way to traffic chaos where nothing was moving, horns were being honked and we were caught in the middle of it near some old walls so our guide had the driver park elsewhere and we walked up extremely narrow stoney footpaths and roads to our first place of interest and cemetery, onto the Sokulla Mosque then admiring the minarets of the Blue Mosque as we walked to it. We strolled on past St. Sophia to an historic Ottoman House where we had refreshments, then back to the street and waited and waited for our coach to arrive. The traffic was at a complete standstill and even the Ambulance with siren screaming, waited in line for traffic to move. Next stop was a carpet demonstration - not how they make them - men throwing and swirling carpets by the dozens down on the floor as we sat and watched the performance as
a view through the wall
we sipped our offered drinks - THEN the show was over and more men came in, knelt down in front of us and pressured us to buy the products. Most intimidating. So pleased to be out of there as at least on the street we could walk on past the sellers. Back on the ship we dined once again on sumptuous food and later as the sun was getting lower in the sky we sailed away from Istanbul.
Day 28: 23rd. July: TURKEY: AEGEAN: KUSADASI - EPHESUS: Temp 34C: After another early brekky it was up, off and out with a really good guide on the drive from the harbour, through the town and countryside, up the winding mountain road with sweeping views of the surrounding area before arriving at the shrine in the Solmissos Mountains that is recognized as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. We stood in the queue for what seemed like ages and went through the shrine in a flash. Back down the mountain we stopped at Ephesus. We were warned to get water before going any further, and with the heat as hot as all Hades - we did. We entered
through the Magnesia Gate and then a few steps later - breathtaking. Here we were about to walk a part of the Silk Road in a city that was once a harbour city and crossroads of trade routes.
We strolled down the steep and broken marble road, stopping every so often to marvel and meander among the ruins which must have been amazing buildings in 41 AD when Anthony entered Ephesus with Cleopatra and where they lived until 32 AD. Amongst all the ruins there we came across a latrine of the times. Down the road are the ruins of the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan, the Odeon Theatre, the Celsus Library and further along is the large Amphitheatre still in use today and able to be seen from miles away.
Even the heat of the day didn't take away the magic of it all.
Next stop was St. John's Basilica up on a hill and up some steps into the ruins - built over the tomb of St. John the Apostle, once rivaled St. Sophia in size..
There are more photos below