Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We arrived in Kusadasi Turkey this morning at around 7am. We did not even notice that we had stopped moving. After a quick breakfast we headed out on our “Towns and Villages” tour. This was the alternative to the Ephesus archaeological site tour; we figured we would be seeing plenty of ruins over the course of this vacation. Heck we already saw plenty just in Rome. Anyway it was a great tour. We headed from Kusadasi to Sirince a little village about a half hour from the port. It was a very cute village with an old “ruined” church to see along with many, many little tables of trinkets and such.

Market DayAfter Sirince we drove to Tire to see “Market Day.” What an experience! Tire is the big city in these parts and people from all of the surrounding towns and villages come in on Tuesdays to buy their groceries at Market Day. There must be a lot of towns and villages in the area because there were A LOT of people in the streets for Market Day. In this picture you can see how the entire bus guided themselves through the throng. Look for the tiny patch of lime green; that is Adrienne. Our guide was terrific but short. Adrienne is terrific and tall. At least five people told us later that they were looking for her shirt to know which way to go. I took that picture when I fell behind myself and was relying on her shirt to find my way. During this stop we also went to a traditional felt making shop where we were given a demonstration of how they make the felt and the patterns. It was very cool and only a hint of the hard sell to come. Check them out at www.conkece.com.

After we made our way out of the market we drove to a small “Mill” restaurant for lunch. The problem came when there was more than one restaurant named “The Mill.” We were beckoned in to one such restaurant only to find out (after we all got out of the bus) that they were in fact waiting for a different bus and our restaurant was a little bit down the street. Meal in TurkeyOur meal was pretty tame. I loved the cheese appetizers, but no one else at our table ate much of them. The “meatballs” advertised were actually little hamburgers so Adrienne ate those and, of course, you can go wrong with French fries (Word automatically capitalized that) but they only gave you four. The restaurant was also, of course, a potty break and Adrienne had her first experience with a non-western toilet stall. She politely waited until the others in the bathroom had left and then came out not having given it a shot. Luckily I informed her that the one I used was “western” style and she was very relieved. We informed all of the women from our group that they had that option and I am sure they all waited politely for that stall to open. It is nice to have options.

Before heading back to the boat we were sidelined to a Turkish Carpet weaving school. Apparently every bus is taken to one of these stores, fortunately and unfortunately for us our tour was of the school instead of a store in town. It was great because we got to see the silk being harvested (right from the silk worm pods) and the carpets actually being made. Then there was a very dramatic, very well choreographed presentation of the carpets available; different sizes, different colors, different quality. All gorgeous and all out of our price range. They started their hard sell with “you don’t have to buy anything; which one did you like best!” We were quickly able to convince them that we had absolutely no intention of buying even the least expensive carpets ($500 for a scrap). Others were not so lucky. Actually a few of them were really interested so the rest of us were held hostage since we were at the school and not in the town within walking distance to the boat. They bargained the owner down from $13,000 to $9,000 but were still not willing to seal the deal in such a tight timeframe.

More pictures here.

We had a lovely dinner back on the boat exchanging stories with our table-mates who each did an Ephesus trip. The kids did great on their tour and the little boy learned a new word at dinner when the waitress offered him a cookie. He liked that word very much.

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