Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Turkish Odyssey - Day 5

Ephesus! Grand Damé of them all. 

Breakfast as good as supper, but 15 minuets extra sleep resulted in a mad dash through our meal. 

Climbing a massive hill we find the church built over the foundation where Mary spent her last days with St. John. The house dates to the 1st century, and the church to the 3rd. Leah spoke of places where the distance between earth and God shrinks, this place felt like one of those spots. It was a shame that many in our group did not seem to respect the holiness of the place. It was a small simple structure, but it served its purpose. Descending, we can see Ephesus for the first time. It was a grand city. The 3rd largest in the ancient world behind Rome and Constantinople. We enter by Roman baths where all must bath on entrance to the city. An agora stretches around us, marble lined colonnaded streets and several theaters at both the upper and lower gates. You begin to get some sense of how big the place is, but only just. 

Levent provided a wealth of amazing facts [he specializes on the history of Ephesus]. They used copper lined pipes, distributed water and sewage, and washed the street and marble with urine purchased from public toilets to keep the surfaces clean. A house of pleasure sits behind the highlight of the entire site, the library of Celsius, "no relation to the temperature scale." We have 40 minutes to explore but could easily spend 4 hours. A photo date on steroids. There is so much to see. Hercules, the Dr., the prostitution time at all to see the terrace houses and they must be skipped. Having never experienced such things, I have begun to run out of words to set down the emotion and feelings such places conjure up. Awe is a small word, but it comes close to how one feels there. A constant state of awe. 
We wrap up our tour, but are reluctant to leave. My attention captured I don't want to board the bus, but we must. Our journeys take us next to the Basilica of Saint John. Prior to departure, Becky wonders how many men went to "study at the library, but visited the house of pleasure." On the way to the Basilica we are forced to fit the bus into an alley blocked by a government car in a no parking zone. We are forced, but don't fit, and the door is scrapped over a curb. Poor Ali the wonder driver. He looked very upset and depressed that it had happened. The door looked better later that day, but unfortunate. Lets hope for nothing worse. The Basilica is a large church that you can actually visualize because a lot is standing. Given 20 minuets, again we feel rushed and see next to nothing of the site. You fail to imprint and fully appreciate what you are seeing at such speeds. Such is the way of this trip, all most things in life are a trade-off. 
Forgot to mention, Mary's place of rest was found by friends of a stigmatic nun who had visions of the place. She was German, never been to Turkey. They went and searched the wrong hillside and she died before they found the foundation. It was on the twin hill to where they had searched. The day ends with great food and fun company who tell of the 85 world trips they have taken. Cheers Hotel KoruMar. Still no word from AAAS. Sleep.

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