Europe 2013 Journal
Day 13, Izmir/Ephesus 07-16-13
Didn't sleep all that well last night; I suppose anticipatory cogitations over the end of the cruise. But when I did wake up, at 5:57 a.m., we were docked at Izmir, a very modern, skyscrapered city. We had a choice of a half-day at the ancient city of Ephesus and a half-day tour of Izmir, or a full day at equally ancient Pergamon. I opted for the two half days.
Ephesus is an hour and a half drive from Izmir. It at one time had a population of 300,000 people and was located directly on the Mediterranean. Today, it is nearly five miles inland and has a population of 0, if you don't count the several thousand cats and kittens roaming about. There are a few impressive buildings, primary among them being the library and the amphitheater, all of which I gather have been reconstructed. Otherwise the area, like Mycenea, is one huge jigsaw puzzle box of broken columns, tumbled walls, and...stones. Only 20 percent of the city has been excavated thus far, and they obviously are trying to figure out a way to put all the pieces back together to reconstruct more of the city.
And it was hot. Very hot. Turkey will not let you leave the ship without a special pass, which you must give back when you return. When I pulled mine—which I'd been carrying in my neck pouch (the best way to carry cash and passport while traveling)—out to hand back, the bottom half was so wet it tore nearly in half. I do not sweat as a matter of principle, so I have no idea how I got so wet.
And once again I was aware of problems with my equilibrium, which I've never had before. I blame it on the heat.
I opted not to go on the Izmir tour for any one of several reasons: 1) the heat, 2) the prospect of a great deal more walking (or, in my case, staggering), or 3) having just spent another 12 Euros for another 4 hours of internet time, I wanted to use them.
Turkey, by the way, is not on the Euro, though nearly everywhere accepts them...and dollars, too. I'm going to be going home with around 50 euros ($60-plus), since I can't see that I'll need many.
A few more facts about Turkey. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until the first quarter of the 20th century, a muslim-ruled country. Kamal (sp?) Attaturk took over the county in the 1920s (I would look this up on line if I could get on line easily, which I can't). Anyway, he turned Turkey into a secular nation and even changed the language to use Roman letters rather than Arabic.