At dinner on Friday night, I spotted something in the water. At first we thought it was dolphins, but it was too small. We now think it was porpoises.
I’m not sure if it was the same ones or not, but later in the evening we saw more porpoises jumping in and out of the water. It was pretty cool.
Today we were in Rhodes. We started with a walking tour of the walled old city. Rhodes is where the Knights of St. John were for many years. (After they left here, they went to Malta. I was in Malta on the last cruise I did, and I remember them being mentioned there.)
Since we started our tour at 8, the shops weren’t open yet and the streets were quite quiet. We started in the Jewish section of the city. There were over 3000 Jews in the city when the Germans took over during WWII. Those that survived largely left Rhodes, and now the Jewish population on the island is 35 people in 4 families. We saw the square of Jewish Martyrs, and then our tour took us to the Hospital of the Knights. It is now a museum. We saw the patients’ room, as well as several other rooms such as the dining room. The museum houses several statues and tombstones that have been found in and around Rhodes.
After that, we went to the restored Palace of the Grand Masters. It is where the leader of the Knights lived. It suffered a lot of damage during one of the occupations of Rhodes (I think it was the Turkish occupation). The Italians restored it as a summer home for their king in the 1940s. The king never made it over here, though, due to WWII. While the Italians were restoring it, they moved several mosaic floors from other places, including the island of Cos. I cannot imagine moving a mosaic tile floor. I suspect that would be very difficult.
Our tour was supposed to last 3.5 hours. Luckily, it only lasted 2 hours. I was definitely ready for it to come to an end. We stopped in a restaurant and had some beverages. They came in boot-shaped glasses. It was good to have a break.
After that, we wandered down one of the main shopping streets. We took our time and bought a few souvenirs. Eventually, we were back at the ship. We boarded, and had a lazy afternoon.
Today we are in Turkey. We docked in Kusadasi, and took a tour to Ephesus. Two thousand years ago, Ephesus had 200,000 inhabitants and was a major seaport. (Anyone familiar with the bible has heard of the letters to the Ephesians. This is where they lived, and St. Paul preached here and was buried here.) Today it is a few miles inland. Ephesus has been rebuilt 5 times – on 5 different sites – and we visited the third location. It is all in ruins, obviously. We saw the marble road that lead to the temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world). We also saw many of the ruins, as well as the terrace houses. The city was quite large, and apparently only 15% of it has been excavated so far.
Ephesus was really interesting, and there was lots to see.
Today was quite hot, and we spent around 3 hours at Ephesus. After that, we went to the archeological museum. Our guide walked it through it and showed us some of the items found in Ephesus. After about 45 minutes, he looked around and said “You all look exhausted. Let’s go for lunch.”
We had a Roman lunch – we all had to put on Roman garments, and the waiters were dressed as Romans as well. The lunch had a set menu. We had a chick pea salad, a green salad, some dried fruit, some beef stew, some lamb stew, some skewers of meat with noodles. For dessert, we had something billed as fig and walnut cake, but it was basically a fig with walnuts and other ingredients in it – it wasn’t what we typically thing of as cake.
After lunch, we went next door to the rug making workshop. We saw a rug making demo. It was really amazing. After that, they served apple tea and showed us many carpets. The apple tea was very, very good. The rugs were incredible, but outside of my price range.
Finally, we ended up back in Kusadasi. I did a bit of shopping. The shops were more Western style, and it wasn’t possible to haggle much. When I was in Tunisia a few years ago, I really enjoyed haggling, so I was a little disappointed.
After that, it was back to the ship for an hour or so of relaxing before supper
Today we’re at sea. We went to a lecture on the various Greece and Egyptian sphinx figures. We also went to a port & shopping guide presentation on our two remaining stops – Alexandria/Cairo and Corfu. Later this afternoon we will be going to an enrichment lecture on King Tut.
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