"Cousins" in the Great Theater
The Great Theater could seat 25,000 people
I was thrilled to be able to visit the Terraced Houses in Ephesus. These were the homes of wealthy Ephesians. These homes were adorned with beautiful frescoes and mosaics. They have been so well preserved that it's hard to believe they are several centuries old.
Ephesian plumbing! (Terraced Houses)
Frescoes on the walls of the Terraced Houses
The Terraced Houses - where wealthy Ephesians lived
Kusadasi (view from our hotel)
We arrived in Kusadasi, a port city on the Aegean Sea, in the late afternoon. It is a beautiful city, but a little too "touristy" for my tastes. The Lonely Planet guide book describes it as "a shameless tourist trap that lives for the cruise-ship trade." However, it is a good place to stay in order to visit Ephesus.
The Best of Turkey - A Rick Steves' Tour
We ate dinner at a restaurant with an ocean view
By now, whenever Sidar recommended a restaurant, we all completely trusted his judgement. I think that's how almost all of us ended up at the same restaurant that night, even though it was not one of our included "group" meals.
Kusadasi is on the Aegean Sea
John points out a funny error in the menu
Dinner at Ayhan Usta
Need I say that our meals were great?
My mom and I couldn't leave without posing for a photo in front of the Library of Celsus
Ephesus - Curetes Way and the Library of Celsus -- notice that we got there early enough that there were very few other people walking down the street
We got an early start on the day to beat the heat and the crowds at Ephesus.
Ephesus is simply magnificent ... it's a must see if you're in Turkey. The ruins are so well preserved that it's easy to imagine what life was like in this city.
This was our last dinner with Susan K. (and Debbie) as they had to leave the next day
We spread out all over the restaurant
I am so thankful that Sidar took us to Ephesus so early. We explored Upper Ephesus and Curetes Way with almost nobody else in sight. Then, after we'd been there for about an hour and a half, the crowds started appearing. Before we knew it, Curetes Way looked like Main Street Disneyland.
The Library of Celsus
Mika takes a seat in an ancient bathroom
One of our last history lessons from Sidar
The Odeum - a small theater
Our last lunch together
Several of us headed to out to eat lunch together ... again at a restaurant that Sidar had suggested. For me, it was really sinking in that this was the end of our tour.
Bathing beauties ... Bonnie and her daughters!
Some of us spent our last afternoon enjoying the sun and a soak in the pool together
Our Farewell Dinner
Sunset our last night in Kusadasi
I was so sad to say "goodbye" ... did I really meet this group of people just two weeks ago?
Definitely the hardest day of the tour. I felt ready to be home with my family, but so sad to end such an incredible trip.
I couldn't keep the tears away.
One last ride (to the airport) on the "Yellow Submarine"
Some of my "favorites" from this trip:
Climbing the "pigeon houses" with Stephanie ... Hot Air Ballooning over Cappadocia with Cate, Megan, Debbie, Jan, and my mom ... Dinners at the Greek House - so fun and so intimate ... Lunch at Fayrihe's house - how special to be welcomed into the home of a local ... The Guzelyurt children teaching me Turkish words and phrases and dressing me in my new scarf ... Dancing at the wedding in Guzelyurt ... Making a new friend, Nurgul, in Konya ... Listening to the Imam chant part of the Koran ... The Turkish Bath with my mom and Susan P. - laughs, laughs, laughs ... Skinny dipping in the Mediterranean with Donna & Mika (ha, ha - I don't think anyone in our tour group knew that we did this!) ... Speaking with the children in Oguz ... Seeing the main street of Ephesus with no people walking down it ... Hiking through magical Cappadocia ... Our dinner in Antalya that spontaneously turned into a whole group (well almost everyone) dinner ... Watching Sidar greet other Turkish friends (his "cousins") with kisses on the cheek ... Riding on the bus in the jumpseat right next to Rafet, our bus driver (it's the seat with the best view!) ... My quiet walks by myself in Istanbul, Mustafapasa, Guzelyurt, Antalya, and Kusadasi ... ... I could go on and on!
Sunset view from the restaurant