Saturday, July 7, 2012

Greece Part 4: Ephesus and Patmos


Photo by Eliza Eaton    
     On the second day of being on the boat, we woke up early in the morning to see the sun coming up over the beautiful town of Kusadasi, Turkey. To my knowledge, we were going to see the ruins of Ephesus that morning. I’m going to be quite honest and say that I had no idea what Ephesus was and wasn’t quite sure the significance behind it. Don’t get me wrong; I am quite keen (and could almost be considered and expert) on knowing Greek and Roman mythology and history. Joking. However it did bother me a little that I hadn’t sharpened my knowledge pertaining to the ancient city.

Photo by Eliza Eaton 
    

Like most days, we got off the ship, boarded a bus, and met our absolutely wonderful tour guide who’s extremely Turkish name escapes me at the moment.  Actually he said it several times and I didn’t remember it from the get go. Anyway, the 20-minute drive to Ephesus was spent listening to tour guide’s many stories and historical factoids about Turkey. He was so cute that is wasn’t hard to listen to him.  

Photo by Eliza Eaton 

Photo by Eliza Eaton 


    Once we rolled into the Ephesus, tour guide made jokes about how we could buy some authentic and genuine-fake crap from the vendors displaying belly-dancing costumes and some very Turkish looking backpacks. Yeah, I loved this guy.

    Walking into Ephesus, I didn’t really think it was going to be anything special, but it turned out to be the opposite. I’m the type of person that can easily say that if you seen one set of Greco-Roman ruins; you’ve seen them all. Well that is a completely ignorant statement IF you have the right tour guys. Looking back, I still could easily say the ruins that we saw all ran together and that I was hardly impressed. Here’s what changes that: we had these tremendous tour guides who told the stories and myths of each area of the old cities, which made the experience 10 times better. The great thing about Ephesus was that the ruins had been so well kept, that you could easily imagine the ancient city as it was. Also there were lots of cats. Lots and lots of cats.

    Our tour guide told us, in great humor, about the hidden passageways that led from the library to a brothel, and about the bathhouses with gorgeously crafted toilets. Two actually very impressive architectural pieces were the glass tiles that had lasted thousands of years of being on earth, and the reconstructed library.  Among the other phenomenons was the old theater where Paul addressed the Ephesians.  I stood at the exact same spot where he stood and tried flatfootin’ but no one was paying attention.  It was a dream deferred.
Photo by Eliza Eaton 



    Anyhow, we got to see a very hung-over looking Cleopatra (impersonator) watch a very flamboyant sword fight before we boarded a bus to go back to Kusadasi. When we arrived, we went to a Turkish rug-making demonstration, which was interesting, but didn’t convince me to pick up a $4,000 rug in any way. Afterwards, we were delighted to stroll around the Bazaar for about 30 minutes. For those of you who are unaware, a bazaar is basically a flea market.  We were previously warned that the people who work the bazaar are extremely aggressive and will grab your arm and drag you into their shop so that you’ll buy something.  Sounded fun to me.

    In all honesty, the bazaar was definitely an interesting highlight of the trip. Luke and I, as always, walked around together. He immediately was bait for the shop owners because he wore soccer jerseys and many of the shops sold this combination of things: hookahs, jewelry, Native American figurines, and “soccer jerseys”. In one situation, Luke was cursed by his friendliness once again, and a shop owner took him all the way into the tiny store only to pull out a t-shirt with the soccer team’s logo printed on it.

Photo by Diann Eaton 
    All these men at the bazaar had several things in common: A) They always wore nice clothing like button down shirts, slacks, nice shoes, suave sunglasses, and jelled hair. Very Armani. B) They also had a very interesting way of getting your attention. On one occasion, a man asked Luke about, of course, if he liked soccer. Once they were engaged in conversation, the man asked him if he would be interested in soccer jerseys that he sold in his store. Luke responded, “I don’t have any money”. The man replied to that, “I don’t like money”.  

    Finally, one of my favorite aspects of walking around the bazaar: C) Most salesmen tried to get your attention by shouting out questions to you about where you lived, or telling you that you resembled any celebrity that came to their mind. On multiple occasions, we were asked if we were from Denmark or various Northern European countries. I’m going to assume that’s because our blonde hair stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of Turks. Being asked if we were from anywhere from Sweden to Miami beach was interesting enough, but the celebrities we were compared to made me keel over laughing several times. As I walked by, a shop owner yelled “SHAKIRA!!!!”. Another told Luke and me that he mistook us for Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas.
Photo by Eliza Eaton 
     After an extremely confusing time trying to get back on the boat, we were relaxed and ready to sail to Patmos. Regrettably, I think that was the day I took a two-hour nap in the four hours we were sailing.
Photo by Eliza Eaton 
    Patmos was gorgeous. It was slightly less fancy shmancy than Mykonos, but it had a lot of heart, soul, and cats. We spent the first hour or so on the beach, swimming, having a Mythos, and talking about how hard life is. Afterwards, Luke, Ellen, and I went exploring.  At a glance I don’t consider Patmos the most interesting of the islands we visited. However there were several aspects that I appreciated. A graveyard with elaborate, aboveground graves had decorated coffins that held deceased locals of Patmos. Most were 30-year-old men or very, very old women. As we walked up the mountain, we found goats (who didn’t like me very much), and real, REAL free-range chickens (beat that, Portland hipsters). We also found and shrine-like, hodge podge of old chairs, a torn-apart doll, empty Heinekens hanging from trees, and a door? Just a door. It reminded us of home.

Photo by Eliza Eaton 
    The rest of our exploration consisted of walking around the town, taking pictures of cats, strolling in and out of jewelry boutiques, and (my favorite pass-time) eating gelato. After we boarded the ship, I raced up to the top to watch the sun setting behind the mountains of Patmos.
For those of you who just read that entire entry, you rock! I’ll keep churning out tedious stories that I can recall from the trip, and then I’ll have to figure out something else to blog about. Until then…

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