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Cruise Diary: Kusadasi, Turkey

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

We have been to Kusadasi many times before and we really like it there. It is a big tourist destination, with one of the main attractions being the the city of Ephesus that is being uncovered!!!

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Ephesus, located only 16 miles from Kusadasi, is by far one of the best-preserved ancient cities. Reportedly founded by the Amazons, its original site was near a harbor, which was the secret of its success in ancient times. Ephesus’s archaeological significance illustrates the advanced culture that once resided there. The busy port was a crossroad for traders in the era of the emerging Western World. Contemporary observers, with a little imagination, can envision life in the 2000 year-old city even though much of it is still buried. Silt has been deposited layer by layer over many years and covered the city long ago. The Great Temple of Artemis, completed by the Ephesians, is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, discovered in the late 19th century. Presently, only a lone Ionian column remains. If you want to leave Ephesus feeling like a true Greek God, it is believed that if you stand between the Gates of Hercules and simultaneously touch both columns, you will have the strength of Hercules.

Ephesus was the center for the fledgling Christian movement. Its Basilica of St. John honors the holy man’s tomb. Nearby, in the House of Mary, the virgin spent her last days. Nothing remains of the adjacent Temple of Diana I, (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) but the foundation. A reconstructed pillar marks the site.

In Kusadasi, Pigeon Island is west of the port gate. A rookery for marine birds, the island was converted into a military base during the Ottoman era. Connected to Kusadasi by a causeway, stands the retreat of the infamous Barbarossa brothers, responsible for the pirating of many ships. Pirate Castle dominates the tiny islet and the small fort is now a restaurant.

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Kusadasi residents do not worry about their port’s reputation as a visitor destination. It is no secret that the economy thrives on tourism and plenty of opulent properties cater to well-heeled seasonal residents. The excitement of undiscovered treasure pervades – there is something to suit every interest and budget, and the beaches are nothing short of spectacular. Local shops are filled with exotic and imported goods as well as artistic Turkish crafts – shoppers are tempted with Turkish carpets (of which we have several at home), brassware, and leather goods. And there are many restaurants.

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IMG_4042_resize main promenade along the sea

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Since we have been to Ephesus several times, today was a beautiful day for biking!!! Of course, I do stop at a shop or two to pick up some of the local trinkets. We already have enough Turkish carpets, which we love, and I have the leather coats I like, so no need to shop for those items. I could buy Dick some things but he never wants anything. Oh well, his loss.

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IMG_4031_resize riding thru town

We went off the ship and went to the left, through town, and back out onto the street and promenade that goes along the waterfront. It is really pretty along there and very nice for biking. In the past, we have gone to the right off the ship out to bird island, but we prefer left along the waterfront. All the way on the other side of town, we went up a little hill, and left along the bluff road. There we found a lovely restaurant overlooking the water so decided to stop and have some lunch!!! After lunch we headed back along the waterfront and then in to town to a bakery Dick had seen to buy some pastries. We like to buy local pastries as we stop in all these different ports.

IMG_4049_resize our lunch place

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IMG_4030_resize riding thru town

Back to the ship after a couple stops at a shop or two. It is such a beautiful port and so much fun to wander around, shop, and eat there!!!

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