Kusadasi, Here We Come!
What was supposed to be a lovely day on the island of Mykonos turned out to be a stormy sea day with nothing to do on the ship except trivia, pool, eating, and taking naps. We ate a lot at the buffet as usual, but didn't really spend a good amount of time being active or going outside. Around 7 last night, we arrived at Kusadasi a little earlier than expected. Since we had nothing better to do, we wandered around the Grand Bazaar area in search of good kebab, fine jewelry, and Turkish spices. We didn't want to wander out of our comfort zone at night and not many places were open surprisingly during this time. The one thing I can say about Kusadasi is that Turkish storeowners are very passive-aggressive.
When they smell tourists, they start catcalling like crazy. It's hard to avoid, but just be polite and nod your head. When your options are limited, what do you do? Settle for the closest thing you can find that looks semi decent. A kebab dish followed by a Turkish ice cream was really all we wanted.
The next morning, we took a taxi to the city of Ephesus. Really disappointed that we got ripped off here, but even more disappointed that we couldn't find a cheaper alternative to get there. I mean, when you get to visit a site that housed one of the Seven Wonders of the World... you can't not go, right?
The drive from the Grand Bazaar to Ephesus takes about 30 minutes or less, depending on what mode of transportation you use. The taxi driver was just as aggressive as any Turkish shop owner or restaurateur, and by that, I mean very pushy to take us places.
Of course, it would come as an extra charge, so we politely declined.
Once we got to Ephesus, we made our way through the ticket gate and tried to beat the tourist crowds through the ruins. The impression I got from being here and looking at the ruins was that this city was once beautiful for its time. Ephesus contains most of the Roman ruins in the area, so for a great deal of it to remain intact was truly a sight to behold. It's not hard to walk around and discover everything that this place has to offer. Some of the highlights that I could recall include the Library of Celsus, Basilica of St. John, Odeon, Temple of Hadrian, Temple of Domitian, the main theater, and the Fountain of Pollio. We did not think Mary's house was worth the detour (and I left feeling very skeptical that she ever really lived there - why is there no actual historical evidence?).
If you get beyond the stand-up shops that border the periphery of the ship, there are actually some lovely coastline beaches, walks, and eateries. I wish I had known about them in advance. I would have chosen to have lunch by the sea. If you find yourself in this part of Turkey, it is highly recommended that you at least take a walk through this magnificent site and embrace the history that took place.
Since we had a little over 3 hours to explore, we came back to the Grand Bazaar and took a walk around the town. Food is surprisingly affordable here, so we took advantage of it. I think we spent about 20 € altogether on food, souvenirs, drinks, scarves, and desserts. Since the Grand Bazaar shops are so competitive to sell, they'll take whatever they can get. My advice is to haggle as hard as you can and be confident that you can get it a lot less than the asking price.
We left Kusadasi feeling a bit more productive than usual. Loved the kebabs and the seafood in Turkey, so my recommendation is to eat as much great food as you can if you ever visit Turkey. We ended up covering a lot of ground and seeing a lot, so we met our daily goals for the day. Now we have to rest up for the next day and get over to Athens.