Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cruise Port Review: Ephesus, Kusadasi and Sirince, Turkey

Disembarking was right on time at 8 a.m. And our tour guide from Vanguard Travel Services was waiting for us right outside the port terminal doors. We had a very comfortable minivan and quickly set off for Ephesus.

The ride from the port was about 45 minutes. Shopping was available just outside the site but we didn't take time for it. A quick stop at the private facilities and we headed to the entrance.

Several of our group had been to Ephesus, approximately 10 years ago. They couldn't believe how much had changed. Over the 10 years there had been significant new digging, including the restoration of the Terrace Houses, now available for public viewing for an extra fee.

I found the history of the city fascinating. (Our tour guide was excellent!) Originally on a harbor, the build up of silt resulted in a land locked city. When the Romans built it, they planned for gutters, aqueducts to bring in fresh water and drainage pipes to handle the sewage. The toilet house was built with continually running water under the seats. The Terrace Houses show, by the location of clay pipes, that the homes were heated and had hot and cold running water.

I was familiar with pictures of the fantastic library but the facade was even more spectacular when seen 'in person.' Funny story we heard about a tunnel being discovered from inside the library to the brothel across the street. And at the end of our tour was the absolutely huge city amphitheater. Visiting this city was a definite highlight.

As expected, there were shops at the end, by the bus pickup. We didn't stay long as we had more on our agenda: a visit to Sirince.

Sirince is a hill town in a region known for its wines. We have a beautiful ride up into the mountains with great views every way we looked. Lunch was at the Artemis Restaurant and was fabulous. It included two beverages (I had a glass of white and a glass of red wine), appetizers of olives, tzidiki and hummus, salad, skewers of beef with rice, roasted sweet pepper and onion, and dessert of baklava with ice cream. Fantastic!

We had an opportunity to tour the village but it meant walking down a steep hill that we would have to climb back up again. With the average age of our group in the high 60's, the vote was to skip the tour and head back to Kusadasi for the bazaar where we were dropped off right by the port.

The bazaar area outside the port is HUGE. And the shopping experience wasn't very pleasant. We were practically dragged into stores with "end of season - special pricing." One of the women I was with literally had to force her way out of a store. We wandered the streets which had mostly shops for shoes, clothing, leather jackets and jewelry. Very few tourist souvenir shops and what shops there were all sold the same thing.

After walking just to walk and get some more exercise, we made our way back through the port towards the ship. And there were some very nice shops right at the port that you wouldn't see on the way out. We had no time to stop and shop so I can't really report on them but they looked, at first glance, kind of upscale.

1 comment:

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