|We arrived in Kusadasi, Turkey this morning. Kusadasi means "Pigeon Island" and this is one of Turkey's principle holiday resorts. It is situated on the west coast of Turkey and is reputed for one of the most attractive city of the Aegean. It has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters....claims to have 300 days of sunshine a year. Lots of beaches and warm clear waters bring the Turkish people here in the summer months for holiday. We began our day with a walk through the shopping area of the town center. They have beautiful Turkish rugs, leather, jewelry, scarves and much more to choose from and they are ready to barter! These sales people are amazing...in the way that they are good sales people, friendly but also pretty aggressive. If you stop for even a moment to look at something, they are right there asking you to come into their shop. Down the center of the shopping square are very well dressed, well spoken men that are the ones that first approach you...they are charming and try to get to know something about you....then guide you into one of the shops. "Don't have to buy"....come in to see a "pleasure for your eyes"....let me "just show you the beauty of our culture".....please "just take a moment to see what we have"...and many more!! And once you are in the shop....forget it!! For example, I stopped to watch a young women weaving a rug....a woman approached me and started to explain how she was doing it.....next thing I know I'm in the rug shop with three men surrounding me....a dozen rugs laid out of the floor around me and I'm sipping hot apple tea! I thought maybe I was being adopted into the family....of course, until I said I didn't need a rug! It took me a good half an hour to get out of there! Some of the shops have full bars! They offer you a drink while you look. We went into a leather shop...I bought a beautiful leather jacket.....and a nice German sales man told us all about his family, his travels and even his opinion on American people vs. American government. They love the first, hate the latter! Many Europeans are relocating to this area of Turkey because of the tourism as well as the reasonable cost of living....he told us you could buy a beautiful, big house with pool for $100K US dollars. Turkey did not join the EU so they still use Turkish lira but will also accept Euros as well as US dollars. We were told in Turkey "they don't care where the money comes from"!
After our exhausting shopping experience....and you DO feel exhausted once you get out of there....we headed to Ephesus....this is the Aegean's best preserved ancient city. It's only about 20 minutes outside of Kusadasi. The city is 2000 years old....and much of it is still buried! It is the most amazing ancient city I've seen because of how well preserved it is. The huge amphitheatre hosts big concerts every year. It is definitely a site worth visiting. We got caught in wind and a bit of rain so cut our visit shorter than I would have liked but got to see the best of the ruins.
Can't believe this is our last day on the ship! Tomorrow we arrive in Athens. It's been a great cruise and we've had the best time! Athens tomorrow then heading for San Diego on Thursday. Will try to post one more journal tomorrow. Thanks for joining us on our adventure!! See you soon!