Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ephesus! Time for a Vacation!

I am falling in love with the Middle East! Last night, the power went off as it frequently does here so it was somewhat difficult to pack for our next destination. I was somewhat fearful if I would awaken on time to make it to our plane. However, thanks to the 6 a.m. Call to Prayer the Muslims have here, I awakened just in time to pack my suitcase and discover that the power had been recovered in the house! I had a good 45 minutes to pack and pull my hair back for another adventure!

Julie and I barely made it in time for our plane and got there 5 minutes before our plane was due to take off! When we arrived to Ephesus and the jet plane landed, I had a feeling that this was going to be another exciting trip of new experiences! I was right! This day was a day to rest from the children and to just chill out! We landed not having a reservation for a hotel or anything, but we took a taxi to another city which then led us to another bus that led us to a cute little village near Ephesus that I have fallen in love with!

It was love at first sight for sure! Let me also say the bus ride was absolutely beautiful and the people here love Americans! We got way more stares than usual and many people tried to talk to us in English to get to know us. Everyone I have met has been so friendly! A day that was expected to thunderstorm all day, ended up becoming a day full of sunshine, cool breezes, and warmer weather!

This place was surrounded by mountains and I absolutely could not take my eyes off of them! It turned out that this was an off season and not many tourists were in our part of town. When we arrived from our bus ride, we were greeted by many men trying to sell us bus tickets speaking to us in broken English trying to "get to know us."

I had a backpack, my camera bag, and a suitcase to haul around town until we found the perfect place to rest for the night. We walked across the street from the bus station and found the cozy little hostel where we could sleep that was great! We were greeted by three brothers who spoke English with Australian accents because many Aussies visit this part of town quite often. It was really interesting. They gave us our price which was reasonable for 2 people so we decided to stay!

Besides the freezing cold water in the shower, the place was a hit for us and it was my first experience staying in a hostel. Pretty fun! Afterwards, the manager of the hostel wanted to escort us through the town to show us a great place to get a quick bite to eat. We ended up eating Doners (sandwiches that are rolled up in soft pita bread with meat and cheese depending on how you get it) at a cute little cafe on the corner.

Our new friend ended up eating lunch with us as well and then escorted us to our driver who drove us to Ephesus. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and it is where the Apostle Paul preached and got the boot in the famous Coliseum which we got to see firsthand. These ancient ruins were stunning! It was also incredible being able to walk down marbled streets that had been around for about one thousand years!

In addition to the Coliseum, we saw one of the ancient library ruins as well. We also had a guide to walk us through so he taught us many things regarding the history. The tour ended with us going through the ancient ruins of the very first church in the city called "The Church of Mary." What a fun name! This place was surrounded by majestic mountains as well and I couldn't help but rejoice at the Lord's goodness for all that He had done in this place!

After a long trek through the ruins, we built up quite an appetite and were ready to eat some more food! We discovered a restaurant nearby with a table on the ground and cushions all around. I think we were the only people who weren't smoking in that place, but I just breathed through my mouth and tried not to smell it.

They gave us more pita bread sandwiches that came fresh out of their stone oven. It was yet another amazing meal! I have also yet to be disappointed by anything I've eaten so far! Blessings and stay tuned for part 2 of vacation time in Ephesus...


Atticus said...

Nice blog. Greetings from Spain

Mary Kat said...

Wow! All the way from Spain? Amazing!