Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On to Kusadasi and Ephesus

We entered the Turkish port at Kusadasi on a beautiful, mild, sunny morning and prepped for our shore excursion to the ruins at Ephesus.  The weather has been great this week, but it's always right on the brink of being too cold.  I didn't pack quite right for this trip, but I'm working the layered look, which is actually a good thing when the sunny and shady spots can jump from hot to cool in moments.
Our big bus, jammed to the brim with almost 50 people, made its first stop near Ephesus to see the house of the Virgin Mary.  This is apparently a very spirtual site as you can see by the sponsored signage and the compact marketplace jammed with intense and aggressive souvenir mongers.
I drew a little picture of one of the market stalls...in spite of the cognitive dissonance between a serene, sacred space and the commercialization, the colors and shapes were lovely.  Pashmina scarves, some real but mostly fake, are a big deal in every market stall.  This little drawing will get more watercolors at some point.  I had to catch the bus.
Here's just one example of a marketplace near Ephesus.  
And some luscious local pomegranates.  
This eyeball motif is found everywhere as it's designed to ward off evil spirits.  There are tons of beads that have the pattern, but I loved this lamp that was hanging in one of the little coffee shops where we stopped.
After our stop at the Virgin's House, we took a short bus ride with our guide, Tan (which sounds like "Tom" when it's pronounced) to the ruins at Ephesus.  What an amazing excavation!  Tan was a great guide and was able to fill us in on details about the market place, library and why some things look the way they do.  Of course, I can't remember anything very interesting to share here, but that's why the Google exists!

I made a couple of stops to do some sketches on pieces of A4-sized watercolor paper.  I took an online travel sketching class (okay, I signed up for it and only watched one lesson...haaaaa) so I was trying to follow his example and just do gestural sketching to catch the flavor of the scene.  For me, it's more about helping to plant the memory of the time and place than actually make a piece of work.
We saw this winged beauty: the Goddess Nike.  In just a few days, she is going to be put into a more climate-controlled environment out of public view for several years, so we were lucky to see her in person!

Enjoying the sun amidst the ruins (while not paying attention to our guide who was talking to us through little transmitter ear pieces.)

Tan reported that there are 265 cats living amidst the Ephesian ruins.  They were lounging in all sorts of places and seemed wonderfully content.  Since I'm a full-fledged cat lady, it was nice to see their sweet faces.  Plus, it was even nicer to hear that they are all cared for by the caretakers of the site.  The number is exact because that's how many were recently fixed and treated by veterinarians.

There's a ton of gorgeous texture and patina that will be wonderfully inspiring for future collage and painting work...at least I can see it in my imagination.
After following Tan for a while, he let us go wander for about thirty minutes to explore the Celsus Library, built in 117 AD.  Isn't that just crazy?  
I used that time for a little pen and paper action.  Perspective and line...it's hard!  haaaaaa  I find it a little amusing that I can look up at something and see a line, concentrate on the direction, and then when my pen puts it down it doesn't match.  Eventually, I hope it will be a little closer from seeing to ink, but it's going to take some practice.
We all got back on the bus and left those ruins to visit some more at the Basilica of St. John.  I was more excited about the cats than the tour guide by this point in the day.
The final adventure of the day was a presentation at a rug shop in the market area that was allegedly to tell us about how the UNESCO project helps women in the hills get skills and make these fantastic rugs.  It was really just a great display of rugs for sale.  I'm a huge fan of Turkish rugs, but didn't need to see quite this many after a long day wandering around.  We had a little bit of time to shop and went to a few stores just to see the local flavor, but I am not a fan of the aggressive shopkeepers or the smoking in such small quarters, so we didn't stay out there for long.  
We were very happy to be back on the ship--safe and sound with our little friend to greet us in our stateroom!
The room was crazy small, but we made it work.  The spittle of water out of the bathroom faucet was terribly frustrating when it came to brushing teeth and washing faces.  But, for a week of adventure, we lived with it.  Next up...Greece!

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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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