Day two -- Kusadasi
We enjoy a wonderful walk on the track located on the upper deck as the sun is rising over the Mediterranean. Priceless! We are pulling into port as we finish our breakfast, which was delivered to our room. Each day there are choices of shore excursions. A few travelers who are staying behind because they do not feel up to the walking required at Ephesus. We disembark for Ephesus and are met by tour buses. On our bus trip to this ancient city that is now one of the grandest reconstructed ancient sites in the world, our guide shares many fascinating facts about the port where we landed (Kusadasi, Turkey) and Ancient Ephesus (where we are headed). This huge historic site is so much larger than I had imagined. We walked on the streets where the apostle Paul walked; we could touch ancient carvings that used to adorn tall columns; we could explore ancient hillside dwellings and sit on the stone steps of the Greek theatre carved into a mountain that faced the sea and seated more than 25,000. Returning to Kusadasi, we were invited to visit a store selling rugs and were served apple tea and a roll while the merchant described the many types of Turkish rugs. We could observe a woman weaving a Turkish rug and following the presentation. There were many salesmen available for those who were interested in making a purchase. Several of the EXPLORERS group came on the trip fully prepared to purchase a Turkish rug. This was a moment they'd been waiting for! We enjoy seeing the photos of the rugs they purchased, a requirement of the rug merchant since all rugs are shipped free of charge and purchasers may not remember which of the many rugs they actually bought. Some on the tour stop wearing name tags after the encounters with the storekeepers in Kusadasi, who call your name as a way to attract you to their store. We head back to the boat to enjoy the wonderful food on board.
It's a pleasure to meet another member of our EXPLORERS group at lunch. Her traveling companion had to cancel at the last minute. She is a curator at the Phoenix Museum of Art and is enjoying a much-needed vacation. I have learned that sorbet and gelato will be my diet downfall on the trip. Each day there is a new selection available anytime one feels the need to enjoy a cool dessert!
We donned our swimsuits and grabbed our books as we headed poolside, where we sit in the shaded area and enjoy the wonderful breeze. Snoozing, reading and people watching – it is so relaxing. I stopped in the beautiful library to see what magazines were available and ran into two people from our EXPLORERS group who were also reading and napping. They are cousins, one from California and one from Illinois. It was great to meet them and make the connection since one of them is the mother of a University of Illinois Alumni Association colleague in the Business Information Unit. They are both proud to celebrate their 80th birthdays this year.
We enjoyed the second specialty restaurant that evening, Toscana. We loved tasting different olive oils that were presented before the appetizers we chose -- shrimp that were almost as big as my fist! We enjoyed the beautiful setting and window table that enables us to view the sunset as the ship sets sail for Santorini. We are now able to share information about these restaurants with our fellow EXPLORERS travelers. These specialty restaurants require a reservation (no extra charge), and passengers may visit each of the restaurants once during the cruise.
Go Next has set up a time for our EXPLORERS group to meet tomorrow evening on the 10th deck prior to the captain’s reception. They have delivered notes for us, but David and I decide to pen a personal note to let each of our travelers know how much we want to meet them, so we deliver them to each room before we head to bed.