This is a blog about our holiday to Europe in 2014. We started off our travels in Venice, where we began a cruise of the Adriatic and Aegean seas, ending in Rome. We then travelled from Rome to the Netherlands by rail, stopping in various places along the way. We are: Me - Gill, my husband - Grant, my daughter - Paula; my father - Neil and his partner - Astrid. We are South Africans, from the lovely province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Our friends Lisa and Trevor joined us from the UK for the cruise portion of our holiday.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kusadasi, Turkey

We docked in Kusadasi right on time and met our tour guide Susanna of HelloEphesus tours at 8:30am.  It was a short walk to the vehicle where our driver was waiting for us and off we set for 
Ephesus.  Susanna was very friendly and chatted to us along the way, telling us all about this region specifically and Turkey as a whole.  She clearly has a great love for her country.

Okay, confession time:  whispering.... I was not that keen on going to Ephesus.  I thought "oh, yawn, more ruins"....  The only reason I booked us a tour to Ephesus was because I was a bit (quite a lot really) embarrassed to go to Kusadasi and NOT go to Ephesus......   

Weeeelllll..... turns out Ephesus was very interesting!  You could really imagine the city as it was in its hey-day as many of the ruins are so well preserved.  Plus, we had a lovely tour-guide (pretty, young, pregnant... reminded me of Roxy) who made it come alive for us, without boring us silly with 100s of facts that didn't interest us at all.  I think she was good at "reading" her audience, and she had us pegged just right.  I thoroughly enjoyed Ephesus!

Paula with Susanna (no, Paula's hair does not always look like that!)

There were lots of cats lying about the ruins, I was amazed at how well-fed they looked, we later discovered that they are cared for by the military!

An Ephesian cat, sitting on the loo

One of my favourite spots at Ephesus were the toilets (pictured above).  Seems like going to the loo was quite a social event in ancient times....

The terrace houses were absolutely amazing.  So well preserved and detailed.

Our day at Ephesus started out quite cool, which is apparently very unusual, but it began heating up shortly before we left.  

On the way back to the vehicle we took a detour so that we could look for a geocache.  Dad, Astrid and Susanna made their way slowly back to the vehicle, while we hared off down a dirt road to another ruin a short way away from the main ruins.  We spotted a tortoise ambling along which was cute and we also saw a group of archaeologists at a dig.  Finally we found the geocache and then made our way back to the rest of our group.

Paula and I visited the loo at Ephesus..... ha, you thought you were going to avoid a loo story this time round?  No such luck!  You should know me by now, never a trip review without a loo story.... and as per usual, the ladies loo had a queue a mile long.  The loo attendant nipped into the men's loo, had a quick look around and then motioned for those of us at the end of the line (that would be Paula and me) to come into the men't loo.  I assumed that she had established that there were no men there when she had her look around.  But no!  We had to walk right past an array of male genitalia on our way to the toilets.  I don't know who was more alarmed, them or us!!  So funny!

On the way out of Ephesus there was a bit of a market.  We spotted this sign:

.... gave us a laugh!

Having left Ephesus we set off for a restaurant for lunch.  It was lovely.  

The tables were set out in a garden, so cool and green.  We had starters of dips and breads, a cheesy gözleme and stuffed peppers.  It was all really, really good, but the smoked brinjal dip was absolutely amazing.  For mains we had beef and chicken kebabs with rice. 

Dessert was a selection of traditional types of baklava.  I was really impressed with the meal we had.

Once we got back to port we decided to walk to Pigeon Island to look for a geocache.  By now it was really hot, and one would think we would have checked the logs to see whether the geocache was actually still there.... but no..... we walked all the way there to discover that (a) the geocache was not there and (b) the castle was closed for renovations..... aaargh!  

I was not in a very good state of mind by this time, but a mulberry ice-cream from a street vendor pacified me somewhat and then we found a nice cafe with wi-fi and I got to chat to Rox and finally I did a little retail therapy... so my mood was much improved by the time we got back on board.

I must say the port at Kusadasi was very impressive.  The shopping centre attached to the port building is such a good idea - loads of shops (all touristy, but that's to be expected) and a couple of cafes with free wi-fi.  Nice!

Another thing that is really nice and so, so civilised is Celebrity's policy of providing ice cold face clothes and water or fruit-juice at the entrance to the ship when returning from port.  Nothing is more welcome than that cool, damp face cloth when you are feeling all travel-worn and hot after a day on the tourist trail.  A small but very nice touch!

Tonight was formal night.  I tried the lobster on the menu in the main dining-room and it was goooood!

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