While most of our time on this cruise has been spent exploring the islands, the ship does offer all the amenities. Last night we had a brandy and listened to some classical music to end the evening.
Day 5 Crete (Heraklion)
Crete is the largest island that we will be visiting, and is the largest of the Greek islands. The ship was able to be dock side with the assistance of a pilot boat and a tug boat.
We were up and onto a tour first thing in the morning. Our tour was of Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum. The Knossos Palace has mostly been reconstructed based on what archaeologists in the 1930’s thought the buildings would look like. Our guide said that there was much discussion about whether to leave what was intact or to add the reconstruction. It is an enormous palace and to have guessed what went where seems a bit presumptuous. Wouldn’t it be interesting for someone to come back through time and say that it is all wrong! I’ll guess we will never know.
The museum holds many of the actual artifacts. With being on a tour it was a bit of a whirl wind and really deserved a much longer look. It was interesting that the Minoan peoples art was very fine and detailed. When the Mycenaean’s conquered them the art work went backwards, much more primitive. The first set of photos are Minoan, the next are from the later Mycenaean period.
We found another beautiful church in the public square.
Again on this island I was a mark for street hustlers. I’ve gotten good at using my elbows and saying NO. But this time was harder. As we left the church shown above, a little boy of about 5 years walked beside me “hungry, money please mama”. It broke my heart not to acknowledge him but I knew that if I had stopped the adults would swarm. It was a Saturday and this child should have been playing T-Ball not begging. I blew up the photo of the church and found his family looking for marks. The little boy is the one in the red striped shirt.
We did some walking along the harbour before going back on board. The fishing boats are very colourful, a few we wondered about their sea worthiness
Day 6 Kusadasi, Turkey
Our last place to visit was not an island. Turkey is 95% in Asia and 5% in Europe. Of all our stops this one had me a little worried as Turkey is bordered by Syria, Iran and Iraq. When we came through the port authority building there were guards with machine guns. Boarded on our tour bus were two armed guards, in 2016 there was a coup attempt in Turkey and the cruise ships are only now returning. I took a deep breath and away we went to the city ruins of famous Ephesus. Our tour guide was Turkish and spent time talking about the politics between Greece and Turkey. I have found Greek and Turkish men to have a powerful presence and sense a potential for violence simmering just under the surface. This sense was particularly strong in Turkey.
Seeing Ephesus was worth my nervousness. The history is the oldest here, it is named the birth place of civilization.
The symbol of medicine originated here, this the oldest one we will ever see.
The game backgammon was invented during this time, here is a backgammon a game board on stone. Turks and Greeks say they are the best players.
The city library behind us. Only 8% of the people would have been able to read, so this huge building for a privileged few.
Toilets were a public activity. The water from the baths ran under the seats. The privileged got the seats at the top and the poor got the last of seats at the bottom as the water would be very stinky by the time it reached the bottom. The seats are made of marble, the most important people had slaves that would sit on the seat first to warm the marble for them.
This is where the term “bench warmers” came from 🙂
More of Ephesus
Peter and I walked on the same path as Cleopatra and Marc Antony are know to have strolled.
Our tour ended with a Turkish carpet making demonstration. The demonstration was fascinating, it was on how the silk is spun from the cocoons and then woven for a carpet on looms. This was a cooperative where people apprentice and then get their own loom which they will have at their home and do the work there.
After the demonstration, the real show began, we were all served wine or raki (Turkish equivalent of Ouzo). Carpet after carpet were rolled out by the sales men, it was hard sell time then. The smallest of the carpets that you would hang on a wall were $4,000 euro. The most expensive large floor carpet was $30,000 euro. I could not imagine a carpet like that on the floor with our dogs! There were some purchases made by our fellow travelers.
This being our last day on the ship it was time to repack our bags, regroup and be ready for the next adventure. On to Italy.