Thursday, 15 August 2013

NCL Shore Tour to the Ephesus Area and the Basilica of St John

Statue of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus
The shore tour I went on from Izmir didn't involve so much walking so was better for me with my limited mobility. Our coach took us first past the upper gates of Ephesus to this statue of the Virgin Mary, gleaming in the sunlight. It is situated near the house where she was said to live in her old age. 
   After a photo stop there we went to the village of Selcuk where the ruins of the Basilica of St John lie on the hillside beneath the old castle fort.
   I loved exploring these ruins. The tomb of St John the Baptist is here as well as the baptismal bath, in the shape of a cross, where the devout were immersed.
Tomb of St John in the ruins of the Basilica

The baptismal font
The site has wide views down over the village and along the valley out to sea. The Basilica buildings must have been huge and well decorated with carved marble columns, plinths and statues. Poppies were growing amongst the ruins and storks had built their untidy nests on top of some of the columns. You can see one in the photo on the right. I thought that was pretty special!
   Next stop was at the lower gate of Ephesus but the trees had grown so high you couldn't see in to the site. 
  We travelled to Kusadasi then, the home town of our guide. It is built around a very pretty bay with a wide promenade and busy shopping centre. Our stop there was to visit a carpet showroom. After complimentary drinks and a snack, the salesmen told us how the carpets are made, and showed examples of the traditional designs and types from different regions of Turkey. It was interesting to learn these things but I hate the 'hard sell' techniques and had no intention of buying anything. I preferred to go outside and stroll along the promenade until it was time to board the coach for our ride back to the ship.

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