The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Izmir, Turkey

Our next stop was in Izmir, Turkey. We also took a shore excursion there with Costa for 9 hours. This was well worth every penny. In fact, we paid for 3 excursions and were pleased with each one of them. They were well worth our money.
This tour took us to many "hot spots" in the Christian faith. The first was the house of the Virgin Mary. This was so neat. St. John the Evangelist brought Mary to live in Ephesus after Christ's ascension. It was too dangerous for her to live in Ephesus itself so she lived in the mountains above it, next to a clear spring. Many popes have come to this place and have deemed it a sacred spot. There is a small church there now over the house. There are spigots to drink from the spring that runs underground there and it is said to have healing powers. We all took a drink. We also went to St. John's basilica, which is no longer standing but the ruins and foundation are still there. He was the only apostle to die of natural causes. He was buried and the basilica built over his tomb to honor his faith. However, when the crusades came through the area, his remains were taken. His tomb site remains.
While we were at the house of the Virgin Mary, there were a bunch of Turkish police academy cadets visiting on a field trip. There were maybe a hundred of them and they were all decked out in their uniforms. They were so friendly. We ended up seeing them again in Ephesus and they learned Lily's name and it was ringing out everywhere. She had her picture taken with a number of them. One of the pictures is of Lily builting her own ruins...she was stacking rocks she found. That was what she had seen around her for the last two days and adults thought they were cool, so she built her own in Ephesus.
Ephesus amazed me. It is so well preserved for being thousands of years old. The ingenuity of the way they had water and sewer systems astounded me. I put a picture up of the latrines in Ephesus...the only issue being they were marble....the slaves were made to warm them first before the upper class placed their hineys down. :o)
We also had a fabulous Turkish lunch at a gorgeous resort hotel. The weather couldn't have been better. I would come back here in a heartbeat as well!
The Turkish shop owners also fell in love with Lily (she got really spoiled on this trip) and would give her safety pins with the "evil eye" and some other beads shaped like dolphins to ward off evil spirits. I went to a store with Joe and when I met up with Lily, she had two of them pinned her her sleeve. They are blue and on the outer ring, then white then black for the iris. They were all over Turkey and Greece and we saw a few in Egypt as well.
Our other stop was at a Turkish rug shop. We were amazed at the craftmanship and the designs of all these rugs. Rich bought a smaller one that had a design that was made by only two families in the area, which was unlike we had ever seen before. Rich has always admired the Turkish rugs. He spent a lot of time deployed to Turkey while we were living in North Dakota.

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