Kuşadası, Turkey. Day 5. Ephesus/Efes, Turkey. Day 6. Part1.
We left Istanbul using the Bandirma ferry. It was a comfortable ferry, the floor below was where the cars were parked and the upper deck was for passenger seating. Everyone has a seat number, so no squabbling over this seat or that seat.
Delicious nuts to fill our tummies along the way
We had a slight problem when we left the ferry. The front right tyre was punctured. And we had to fix it fast cause we will be driving all the way to Kuşadası. So we crawled slowly along the road looking for an autoshop. And we found a guy who repaired the tyre for a very cheap price and off we went.
We had some delicious nuts to eat along the journey, some were coated with sesame-chocolate thingie and others were plain or salted (almonds! I love them!). Soon, we stopped for lunch at this place...I had forgotten its name but I know it is famous for kolonya (a blend of alcohol, cologne) and bubble ayran (yoghurt drink).
Bubble ayran (the white frothy drink in the glass mug) and sucuk ekmek
So we each had bubble ayran, served cold of course, and sucuk ekmek which is like Turkish style hot dog. Ah....just seeing it in the picture makes me hungry all over again. The place has a lovely view of the surrounding hills and has a river flowing by. Seats were strategically placed high up on the river banks so that you can sit, enjoy your meal and the view. It is very windy though, but on a hot day like that, wind is nice.
We reached Kuşadası in the evening. Kuşadası town faces the Aegean Sea and is filled with beach happy tourists. But other than the beach, there is really nothing else to see in Kuşadası. We stayed in a hotel further inland and used Kuşadası as a base for us to go to Ephesus and Selçuk tomorrow.
We didn't do much on Day 5. We spent the evening and night walking along Kuşadası's streets and harbour. I was looking for pins and I found some pretty nice ones. The place near the harbour is filled with tourist shops (good for us since we needed to do some souveniour shopping anyway), beachwear boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
Kuşadası dessert. Name? I forgot.
We decided not to eat at a restaurant that day for dinner. Instead we went to Migros, Turkey's Jusco, to buy some food and brought it back to the hotel with us. Oh yeah, before that we had some Kuşadası dessert, or rather a dessert that is famous in Kuşadası. It looks like small fried donuts but is extremely sweet.
The next day after breakfast, we went to Selçuk where Ephesus/Efes Museum (popularly known just as Ephesus) and The House of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana) are situated. Ephesus is a huge area and I will cover that in the Part 2 post.
Mother Mary's statue
We drove past Ephesus to get to Meryemana, an important site for both Christians and Muslims as Mary exists in the Bible as well as in the Quran. On the way you will see this huge statue of Mary and it is also a nice spot to take panoramic pictures of Selçuk and Epheses.
It is a humble house. You will pass an atrium before reaching the house. Nobody is allowed to take pictures inside of the house/chapel. After leaving the house/chapel, you will arrive at the springs. Some have claimed that this water has "curable" properties. After leaving the springs, you will reach a wall filled with tied rags/tissues/papers/cloths (anything at hand) from people who had made a wish. While we were there, mass was being celebrated for the local Christians who live nearby.
After Jesus's ascension, St John took Mary to live with him and believers believed that she came to Ephesus. In 1891, based on the visions of German nun Katharina Emmerich, Lazarist fathers from Izmir had uncovered ruins of a small house or chapel believed to be the place where Mary had stayed. Till this day there is still a debate as to whether this place is authentic or not, but for the faithful, it is a place of prayer, of quiet reflection.
The Roman Catholic Church has not officially declared Meryemana as authentic but it had shown great interest in it with two popes, Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI, having visited the place. This is also a place of pilgrimage for Christians to pay hommage to Mother Mary. It is also a place of prayer for the Muslims, a place where they can honour and respect Mother Mary (who bore the Prophet Isa/Jesus).
Grotto of the Seven Sleepers
After we left Meryemana, we took a horse drawn carriage ride to the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers. The story goes that during Christian presecution in the 3rd century, seven Christians hid in a cave in Mt Pion. Emperor Decius, their presecutor, found the cave and ordered it sealed. During an earthquake, the sealed wall collasped, awakening the sleepers who went back to town only to discover that two centuries had passed them by. The place is actually a Byzantine necropolis.
On our way out, we passed by this cool restaurant. I just love the decorations!
Next up, Ephesus/Efes and Şirince town.