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Fun in the Sun

by on July 3, 2013

by David:

We’ve had a very nice two days in Kusadasi. It’s a resort town on the west coast of Turkey, on the Aegean Sea. It’s a big retreat for Turks from the big cities… its population goes from 60,000 in the winter, to over 1 million in the summer. Oh, that’s just the cruise ship passengers…. there are probably another million Turks.

It’s a big deal because it’s about 20km from Ephesus, one of the major cities in ancient near-east history.

<begin history lesson for context>

Ephesus was the port at the end of the Silk Road, so it was strategic both militarily and economically. There’s been a city on that spot since 1500 BCE
and at its height around 150 AD it had about 500,000 citizens… perhaps the third largest city in the world at that time. And of course it’s been controlled by every empire that came through the area… Greek, Roman, Persian, Greek again, Roman again, Ottoman, etc. etc. Ephesus finally died out because the harbor filled with silt from the river (plus earthquakes ruined the city and malaria killed the people).

Before it failed, Ephesus was also a major center of early Christianity. After Jesus died, the apostles decided to fan out around the Mediterranean, and
John the Baptist came here with Mary. John wrote some of his Bible chapters on a hill in the middle of a valley, Mary lived as a recluse up on a mountain over the valley. Peter went to Rome, but then visited here to meet up with John. Even the story in the Bible and Koran about Seven Sleepers in a Cave, happened here.

<end history lesson>

Fast forward to modern times, and Kusadasi is now a big deal because it has a deepwater port that can handle large cruise ships (until it too silts up). It’s
a big stop on the cruises, which disgorge their passengers at 7am for 12 hours of hitting the local sights and shops… mostly the ruins of Ephesus but also the ruins of the church built on John’s hill (where he was buried), the small chapel at the site of Mary’s hut, the seven mens’ cave, etc. You can even visit one of the Seven Wonders of the (Ancient) World… the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which before it fell was quite a bit larger than the Parthenon.

So naturally we joined the crowds and saw all the sights. But we also went to the beach, hung out by the pool, and braved the (polite and funny) hustlers in the local markets.

I’ll let the kids tell you some of the details of our escapades. And I’ll post a few amusing photos below. But first I’ll say that Renee and I really love Turkey! The people, the culture, the food, the endless list of amazing sights to see… we only scratched the surface, and we could absolutely come back here for a month and just explore.

But our itinerary beckons; tomorrow morning we hop a ferry to a Greek island for another few days of a new culture. We’ll check in when we can!


Departure board in the airport… Anna likes “Boredom” (Bodrum). I like “Batman” (yes, that is really the name of a town in Turkey)


Alex likes Flying Pigs:


Goat! (with cigarette):


We all like Genuine Fake Watches (and had quite the debate over whether that’s grammatically correct)


I liked this… I asked for free stuff but they didn’t have any


Hey Cousin Hannah, it’s the good ship “Allie Bee”


Whatever currency the cruise passengers have, they can handle it. Here’s a restaurant receipt… pay in Turkish Lira, Euros or US Dollars. I think the waiters can do exchange-rate-math in their sleep




(Sorry, only 12-year-old YouTube viewers or their parents will “get” the Goat reference)

And finally, the best quote from a hawker in a store… “How can I take your money sir?”

Bye for now


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  1. John permalink

    Happy July 4th. Fun times are being had in the U.S. too.

  2. Alex- “Now I’m laying on the cold, hard ground *goat* *goat* trouble, trouble, trouble” (Taylor Swift- Trouble Goat Remix). You can find this on YouTube!!!!

  3. Aunt Ginny permalink

    I love that line: “How can I take your money sir!”

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