Ephesus, Virgin Mary, & Basilica of St. John
One of the stops on the cruise was a city called Kusadasi. Unlike Istanbul, I had never heard of this city before but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to tour some of the amazing spots surrounding this city. It is one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean and had some of the most beautiful remnants I had ever seen.
On our tour, we went to three places: Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary, and Basilica of St. John. My pictures of the House of Virgin Mary and St. John’s basilica didn’t turn out as beautiful as my other pictures so I didn’t want to include them in my blog post. Instead, I only have images from Ephesus because they are much better quality. However, I will still explain the Virgin Mary house and St. John’s basilica a bit for people who don’t know about those places. The house is a pilgrimage site located on a mountain and is said to be where the Virgin Mary lived after Jesus died. On the site, you can walk through the house, drink from a water fountain (a lot of people were doing this so i’m guess it’s blessed water ?), and if I remember correctly, there was a pool/giant bathtub where St. John preformed baptisms. Pretty cool. The last thing we did that day was visit the remains of St. John’s Basilica which overlooked Ephesus. St. John the Apostle is believed to be buried there and we got to see the actual burial site on the tour.
Ephesus is considered the Seventh Wonder of the Ancient World! In this ancient city was a Greek temple that was dedicated to a goddess called Artemis.
On our tour around Ephesus, we were given headphones/headsets in order it hear our guide. It can get very crowded inside Ephesus and he seemed worried that someone would get lost never making it back on the bus. I guess it happens a lot?
The crowds can get a bit crazy because there is at least 20 giant tour groups walking around at once. This can be an issue when taking pictures or if you don’t like crowds in general. But I think I’ve mastered my way through enough tours that I have a technique down. I’ll walk with my tour, listen to the guide, but once everyone starts walking away I’ll stay to take my photos. Sometimes I’ll even walk a little ahead of the groups to an empty spot to sneak in a few pics.
Walking around this open air museum made me feel like I was on a Greek Island and a little bit like I was in Egypt. Part of it was because of the magnificent ruins but also all the cats laying around on the stones reminded me of the Cat Goddess from Ancient Egypt.
At some point on our tour, while people were watching a play being preformed by the Great Theatre, I decided to walk a little ways down the road to take pictures of some red poppies. I wasn’t worried because I knew everyone would head that way when the play was over to get back on the bus. While I was almost done taking these photos, I could hear in my earphones the tour guide wondering where I was and Grace telling him I walked back to the bus. This wouldn’t have been a problem but Grace pointed to the other direction where the bus dropped us off! In Ephesus, the entrance and exits are on two different sides, and if you went on a tour the bus would be picking you up at the exit. When I heard this conversation, I had to run down to my tour guide so he wouldn’t have a panic attack thinking I walked all the way back to the entrance. Anyways, thank God for those handy headsets they give on tours, eh?
Overall, Ephesus was an enjoyable place for me. Maybe it’s my sentiment for the past or maybe it’s my love of cats.