Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First weekend in Izmir

@ibmcsc Turkey9

What an amazing weekend the team had. :D

Friday afternoon and Saturday morning was spent exploring the Old Bazaar in Izmir.

Friday was more of a "here it is", and Saturday it was shopping time!
What an experience it was...........and quite a shopping spree.  Bought all sorts of things, and no, I did not forget to buy the Turkish Delight!

Here's Diana (my shopping partner) in one of the hundreds of alleys.

There was quite a few fish stands throughout the bazaar.  Although, I'm pretty sure by this time Diana and myself have wondered off so far..........we got pretty much turned around and completely lost. :D  Found a lot of things though1
 Eeeeeek...........Offal.........or leftovers....
 More spices and pickled things....
 More spices..
 ....and more.....

It was quite cold and wet though........so, round about lunch time we called it a day and headed back out to the hotel.

Saturday evening the team went out to Bostanli for supper. We travelled by Ferry to Bostanli , which was an exceptionally cold trip for me.   Really did not have the right jacket here. :)

 Who knew that snow would be falling all around Izmir?  The wind truly had this bite to it that I would expect to feel in the middle of a South African winter!

Supper was amazing, however I was starting to think that they will not stop feeding us!  The food just kept on coming, and just when you think you're done, another dish pitches up.  Was hectic! :)

Sunday was the most amazing day ever.  The team went to Ephesus.  Well, there was a bit more to it than just Ephesus. First we went to the House of the Virgin Mary.  I cannot tell you how absolute awe-inspiring it is to be in a place where someone that you have read about in the Bible lived.   It brings the stories to life......

 To the right, is the Apostle John's baptising pool.
Can you even comprehend that? Wow.
 The Virgin Mary's house.   We were not allowed to take pictures inside, as it is a house of prayer.  We each could say a prayer, and then light a candle to the Virgin Mary.

Although this is not quite the way I've done things, it felt appropriate to do it. New experiences is what I'm after, after all.

This here is fabled to give you happiness, health and wealth if you drink the water from this fountain.  In the picture is Yuri (left) and Peihong (right) drinking the water.

Before Christianity, the people of the region believed in Shamanism.  They still practice some of the aspects as can be seen here.  These are prayers written on pieces of cotton.

Then it was on to Ephesus.  I took so many pictures at Ephesus, that I can probably kill off this blog in one shot. :D  So, let me put just a few things down.

 This is just amazing - no idea who the people on the blocks are, but still amazing. :D

 The Goddess Nike - do you recognise that name? - which means Victorious!

If I remember correctly, this was a water fountain.  Quite elaborate for a water fountain - they really had an eye for beauty. :D
 I always figured that if time travel would ever become possible, that I would travel back in time to see what the world really looked like.  However, after seeing these toilets.............

Can you imagine?  Open air?  And.....there was poor slaves that had to warm the seat before the master sat down on the marble "throne". Not a job description I would've liked.
 This was so dramatically impressive.......
Most of this was uncovered as is (about 80 %). The rest they rebuilt.  And if you think that this entire valley was under 10 m + of soil ....
Archeology rocks! :)
This building was a library/ mausuleum.  The son wanted to keep the memory of his dad alive, and to do that, he built this in memory of his dad.  It also included a few thousand scrolls - hence the library portion.

 The theatre.

I took this picture from - let's say, halfway up.
They are still busy putting the theatre back together, but this really does give you an idea of the immensity of this 25,0000-seater theatre.

This was taken from the highest "allowed" point.  The highest block of the theatre is still blocked off from public access.  So, it definitely goes higher.   I was already nervous here. 
 The view from the Theatre.  The road you see going towards the mountain is the road to the harbour.  How gorgeous is that?

The view of the theatre looking back.
Impressive for the time this existed.  We are talking BC here......

So, all in all - an amazing day.

Not sure where our next trip is too, but the history to be found in Turkey is just awesome.  I'm really running out of superlatives here!

Till I blog again!

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