Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ephe-what, Ephesus

The photos that correspond to this post can be seen here for album 1 and here for album 2.

Hello my captive audience,

Flying down the road at 180 kph (90 mph) on our way to Salcuk (pronounced saljook) Mustafa (my pickup at the airport from Istanbul and well versed in English and American music) and i rocked out to some J.LO. Apparently in Turkey, you don't need to pick a lane on the road, you can take 2 or one or just drift around at breakneck speeds (I love foreign countries that don't have a ton of cops to ruin the dangerous fun!). We get to my hotel and i just chill out for a bit and hit the sack (this travel stuff sounds like a good idea when at home, but it is a lot of work to carry that pack, eat exotic food, drink crazy good beers, and not know when you will get the chance to shower again, my fave!). The next day i had some free time, so i walked around and familiarized myself with the area and grabbed a bite to eat. After that i headed just a little out of town to the ruins of the Basilica of St. John. It was built in the 6th century over the supposed grave of St. John the Apostle. This place was huge and it had Christian iconography all over the smashed pillars. I saw the old Baptistery, Treasury and of coarse spent quite a bit of time at the tomb. I got some good prayer in and blessed my scapular and cross necklace i got for Confirmation. It was so amazing being so close to St. John, the one whom Jesus loved and gave his mother to. He is also my favorite evangelist and so this was very momentous in my life!

As i was coming out of the Basilica, a dude came up to me and showed me some ancient coins and told me that he would sell them to me for a good deal. They looked real and for like 3 bucks i picked up 2, one of Constantine and another of Hercules. That night they had a huge festival in the city with fireworks and everything for something, so i just chilled in my room and did some trip planning and catching up on some sleep.

The next day was the big day. Ephesus, Temple of Artemis and Mary the Mother of Gods House.

The temple of Artemis was ok. It was basically one pillar still standing and it had a birds nest on the top. It was one of the 7 wonders of the world and the biggest building in the world at the time. I think she was the Greek Goddess of fertility b/c she had a necklace of bull testicles around her neck and fruit all over here. This was the second Ephesus, the first being where the Basilica of St. John is now.

The next stop was the third Ephesus. I hit this up on the first day of Ramadan (our tour guide was fasting so it was hard to hear her at times). This place had an amazing wealth of History. They had running water, toilets, the 3rd largest library and the only surving ancient library, 250,000 inhabitants and the 2nd largest amphitheatre in the ancient world. There was also Christian graffiti all over the place with IXOYE "Christ Is Lord and Saviour. It was the code the Early Christians used to talk to each other. There is just too much to talk about this place. It has the Goddess Nike ( goddess of victory) and the swoosh too! Check out Wiki for more info, i need to talk about Mary's House.

Nestled up in the hills overlooking Ephesus is this little house, meek and humble where Mary spent her last days on earth. It was so powerful! I did some prayer with Russians i think, touched my rosaries to the feet of the statue, saw the rosary that pope Benedict had placed there in 2006 and even got some water from a natural spring. There is a lot of reasons they think that this is Marys house but the main one is the fact that when Christ was dying on the cross he gave Mary to John and John died in Ephesus (cf, i saw his grave). I can't say enough and i prayed for all of you there!

Time is short so this last bit is not exhaustive. We then went to a pottery place (a gimmick on the tour, they all have them) but it was very cool, and the detail and skill is unparalleled. That night i got packed, woke up at 6:30 a.m. the next day and caught the ferry from Kusadasi to Samos Greece. I hoped another ferry from there to Paros, spend the night there and am now on my first day of the island of Santorini. Crazy Crazy Crazy! THANK GOD I MADE IT!

Prayers and peace,


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6:29 AM  

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