Cruisin’ Part III: Athens to Kusadasi
I’m back from visiting Klas in Trondheim, and it’s time to continue the four part summary of the cruise ship adventure Anniken and I took in the beginning of July.
After visiting Athens, the Navigator of the Seas departed for Kusadasi, Turkey. Outside of Kusadai lies Ephesus, once a site of many great civilizations and home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Founded by the Ionians in the 11th century BC, Ephesus was later ruled by the Romans and conquered by Alexander the Great. At its peak, it was the leading seaport of Asia Minor, and continued to thrive even as it passed from one successor to another. Excavations in the 1800s revealed several important artifacts from the Roman and the Byzantine Empires, and today its ruins are considered to be the most important in Turkey.
Ephesus truly was an amazing site and from the description above you would probably think that it was packed like the Acropolis of Athens. But no. Ephesus covers a much larger area and I don’t think it was as many people there as in Athens, either. The main selling point for Ephesus, however, would be that most of it is still open to the public. The Acropolis of Athens was mostly closed off and you could only watch the buildings and monuments from a distance. In Ephesus, on the other hand, you can mostly go wherever you want to go.
If you only have the chance to go to either the Acropolis of Athens or Ephesus, go to Ephesus. It might not have the same historical significance and punch as the Acropolis when you tell your friend were you’ve been, but it sure is a lot more rewarding. Instead of looking at everything from far away, you can get up close and personal. Anniken and I both agreed that the trip to Ephesus was the tour highlight of our Mediterranean cruise. But you probably shouldn’t wait too long to go - the wear and tear on Ephesus will only increase with the number of visitors and there’s only a matter of time before it will be closed off like the Acropolis of Athens so the site can be preserved.
If you go to Turkey, you should know that the every single Turk is a merchant. Everyone will try to sell you something: Our guide tried to sell us apartments and guide books. The people outside of Ephesus will try to sell you “genuine fake watches” (actual quote) and chocolate (for some mysterious reason). Every single tour from the cruise ship had a Turkish rug exhibition as the last stop on the tour. We managed to get away without spending a single Euro, but for some reason I really want an apartment in Kusadasi now.
Great merchants, indeed.