After 6+ hours of driving yesterday, the 90 min drive to Efes (Epheseus) was much appreciated. We got up, got the hotel breakfast and then made sure the phone with Google Maps got fully charged. I also had to go to the drugstore and get some personal items. The poor guy who helped me probably wonders why I didn’t look right next to the cash register first. After this, we drove to Efes.
Epheseus has huge history, it is where Cleopatra and Anthony honeymooned and where Paul, one of the biblical apostles wrote letters and preached (Ephesians sound familiar? :). So in going to Efes, you are truly walking down historical streets. Well, us and the probably 600 other people coming on tours from cruise ships.
The first thing to see in Ephesus is the Theatre. This one is much taller than the one in Afrodisias and they are doing some work on it now with full size cranes. Not exactly what you expect to see at an historical site.
We then walked around to the parts that I don’t think most people see which are Mary’s church, the gymnasium and the baptismal font in Mary’s church. The baptismal font had stairs on either side that you could still see, so that you could walk in or out either side.
We wandered around throughout this area in order to see where all of the other sites were. From the construction there were some specific areas that were marked off limits. From the theatre it looked like you couldn’t go further than that and it felt like we were just going into a lot of dead ends. But Earl took another look once we got back to the Theatre and saw the road to the rest of the site. And we quickly found what all the fuss was about.
Behold the Library of Celsus and the Gate of Augustus.
We continued to walk up the main streets past the remains of the temple of Hadrian, gates of Hercules, a building formerly known as the “brothel”, but is now just considered house, up to the Odeon, etc. As we got closer to the top, we again got closer to the huge tour groups from cruise ships that took over the site at about 2 PM.
So, I was very glad that we started at the bottom so, that we could quickly make our way back down through the throngs of people. There were probably well over 500 at the peak time. They were also doing a model photo shoot so, if you see Ephesus, Epheseus or Efes on next season of “America’s Next Top Model”, don’t be surprised, know that I warned you.
After we went to the car, we were lucky we didn’t have a tour bus parked behind us, and we were able to get out.
We were looking to see if we should go to the Grotto of Seven Sleepers for the House of Mary, where Jesus’s mother Mary was purported to have lived out the end of her life. But with the mass of tour buses, we decided that heading back to Izmir was the thing to do.
Earl drove back to Izmir and we again were reliant on Google Maps to get back to the hotel, since again, it doesn’t do you any good to know the street names in Izmir, just what neighborhood you are going to. So, without a huge knowledge of neighborhood geography, the best map in the world won’t help you. So, now you are treated to a huge number of blog posts today and we were treated to dinner in my new office, the Hilton Executive Lounge and a beautiful sunset of the water in Izmir.
Tomorrow is a travel day as we leave for Istanbul to arrive tomorrow night and then leave on the 5th for Bangkok.