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Sailing Through History VII-Mykonos Greece & Ephesus Turkey

An island bathed in white and an Ancient Greek and Roman city

After a nice day of rest at sea aboard the Emerald Princess, we arrived at our first port of call in Greece, Mykonos Island. In my mind’s eye, whenever I thought of Greece, this island is what I saw. Like a picture postcard, this seaside village was awash in low white buildings bordered by a deep blue sea.

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Mykonos Island is part of the Cyclades islands group in the Aegean Sea. Mykonos is, with Santorini and Crete, the most famous and popular of the Greek islands and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Mykonos is famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, exciting nightlife, picturesque whitewashed houses, blue domed churches, luxury hotels and magnificent sandy beaches. Our ship was docked within walking distance to the town, so I chose not to book a tour but instead explore the environs on our own.

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Among all the white, there were splashes of color everywhere. Beautiful flowers, colorful pattern tablecloths in cafes and painted roofs, railings and balconies. We strolled through the town taking in the atmosphere, looking inside the numerous shops and taking photos. Mom found a jewelry store she liked and spent a great part of the morning selecting a gold gemstone ring to take home. Reggie, Yolonda and I wandered around the shops until time for lunch, when we collected Mom from the jewelry store and found a nice café for a noontime meal.

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Lunch was wonderful. Hot fish chowder, Greek salad, hot bread and tea really hit the spot. The rest of the afternoon passed by slowly as we took our time walking back through town to the ship. We did not get to sample the nightlife on the island, but the slow languid pace of Mykonos during the day was a nice change of pace. We sailed away from Mykonos later that evening having had a very enjoyable day.

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The next day found us in the port of Kusadasi, Turkey. I had only heard a few things about Turkey, therefore, I had no idea what to expect. Walking out on deck the morning we docked in this country, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lovely sundrenched city by the sea. Situated on the west coast of Turkey - 90km south of Izmir, Kusadasi, is reputed as one of the most attractive cities of the Aegean, as it is close to the important historical sites including Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis, built in 550 BC and one of the 7 Wonders of the World, the Goddess Artemis, and the House of Virgin Mary. The area is ideal for sightseers and history buffs. Kusadasi has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters and is bathed in sunshine for 300 days of the year.

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With so much to see in the area on only a day to see what we could, I chose a tour that would take us straight to the ancient city of Ephesus and its renowned Celsus Library ruins. The ancient city of Ephesus located near the Aegean Sea in modern day Turkey, was one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor. Ephesus is also a sacred site for Christians due to its association with several biblical figures, including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary. The facade of the Library of Celsus is one of the most spectacular sights in Ephesus. Built by a Roman in memory of his father, it faces east so the reading rooms receive the morning light. Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here and it is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard. I was very excited about seeing these famous historic sites but I was still not prepared for what I saw as we exited our tour bus and climbed a small hill to the ruins. The view was jaw dropping in the extreme. I had seen photos of this site in glossy travel magazines, but seeing it all live and up close was an absolute thrill.

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We followed our excellent tour guide down the now broken pavement of the ancient Roman city mainstreet, listening with great attention to her discription of life in this historic place and the significance of each building or facade. Down the street we went, getting closer and closer the the Celsus Library at the end of the street. What a sight it was standing out against the lush green turkish landscape. It was just magnificent. I climbed the steps to the interior of the Library and read the inscriptions on the walls, trying to soak up as much of the sights and atmosphere as I could. Every student of history dreams of seeing such a place and once again I could not believe my good fortune to actually be there seeing it all myself.

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After leaving the Library we made our way out of the city, past the huge 44,000 seat Theater, the probable place where St. Paul preached to the pagans in Acts. Saint Paul was dragged into this theater to face the crowd because of his famous letter to the Ephesians. It is still in use for concerts and large events today.

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Heading back to the ship after spending the morning in Ephesus, we stopped off downtown to do some shopping. We visited a rug factory and saw how the beautiful Turkish rugs are made, and then I found myself in a jewelry store where I purchased a lovely diamond cluster ring. Not at all good at bargaining, which is a sport and expected in Turkey, I was lucky to have my friend Yolonda with me that day. She haggled with the shop keeper like a pro and got me an excellent price on my ring. I wear it every day and think of Turkey when I look at it. Then it was on to the other shops and souvenir stores, laughing at the funny shop keepers trying to lure us in to take a look at their merchandise. I found this part of Turkey to be a very warm and friendly place that I would like to visit again.

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My first visit to Turkey was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget. Now it was on to Santorini and the symbol of Greek Mythology, Athens.

To be continued......

Posted by Gerriv 12:21

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Comments

Very nice pictures, Ephesus is a great place to visit, thanks for sharing it.

Sevin Kuzik
http://monetatravelturkey.wordpress.com

by sevin kuzik

Hi Sevin!

Yes, it is an amazing place.

Thanks for commenting!

by Gerriv

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