The 5th day of our cruise brought us to Kusadasi, Turkey. Apparently, it’s actually said Koosha-dasa (according to our guide) but I seem determined to say it like Kewsa-Dawsee. Whatevs.
It was a short day in port, arriving at 7am and leaving at 2pm so we signed ourselves up for an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus. We had a great group again, with I think 8 or 9 of us in total. It was pleasantly warm when we pulled into port and our guide warned us to make sure we had hats and water going into Ephesus because it was going to be really hot here. We didn’t find the heat too bad around the port but once we arrived we realized what she was talking about. When we stepped out of the van it was BOILING hot, like, so so hot… I had water but no hat. It was no big deal, though, because there were about five stands there selling hats and water, fully taking advantage of the tourists (us).
I’m pretty proud of myself, because I’d read before we went that if you go to Turkey you must be prepared to haggle when shopping. I totally haggled 50 cents off my hat! haha Ok, so it wasn’t the greatest achievement in bargaining history, but still, I haggled and I strutted away knowing I paid 50 cents less for my hat than the others did! Result!
Ephesus was amazing. I’d even go so far as to say it was one of my favorites of the many ruins we visited on our trip. I just still can’t get over the heat, though. I don’t remember the last time I’ve ever felt so warm. We’ve been on holiday in the south of France in July, we’ve been through heat waves in the Netherlands and Canada and I’m telling you, none of it compared to the heat we felt inside Ephesus in May.
Seriously, we were like a line of Christmas turkeys being lead single file into a wonderful guided tour of the inside of an oven.
The guide told us it was because of all the marble but even with our hats and water we were starting to feel pretty much baked by the time we reached the library (about noon). There was very little shade and when we did find it behind a pillar or wall we pressed ourselves against the cool stones or tried to stand there to get a few seconds relief before we moved on.
Our guide cleverly had an umbrella with her and I didn’t envy her at all as she was three months pregnant and already not feeling the greatest, so the heat wasn’t great for her either.
After Ephesus we looked through the grand bazaar for a short while before heading back to the ship. I’d read a fair bit about the bazaars in Turkey before we left for the trip and read a lot of people complaining about the shopkeepers, so I went in expecting the worst. It’s true, you can’t take three steps without someone trying to urge you into their shop. They listen to your conversation to try to find a ‘hook’ to start a discussion with you and even if you do try to put them off they have really clever ways to keep going.
They are friendly, though, and harmless. The people I’ve read on TripAdvisor and other websites, saying that they felt unsafe… well, I suspect they are people who just don’t get out much. We felt perfectly safe and while they were absolutely relentless, we didn’t feel they were at all dangerous.
It was a short day, but it was a good one… and boy did it feel great to get back to the air conditioning on the ship! Whew…
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