People can only live fully by helping others to live. When you give life to friends you truly live. Cultures can only realize their further richness by honoring other traditions. And only by respecting natural life can humanity continue to exist. ~Daisaku Ikeda
Our local hosts collected us at 10 am for another adventure on the West Coast of Turkey. The primary destination for today was Ephesus, an important, ancient city that, today, is listed as one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world and is an outdoor museum both preserved and being renovated. First, we were treated to a brunch at an organic restaurant up in the mountains with wonderfully tasty food. Again our meal was native Turkish faire with the addition of some absolutely amazing organic scrambled eggs. The flavors of the food popped in my mouth and, though my stomach was a bit rumbly, I ate my fill.
Ephesus, our next stop, was a wonder and is a must see for anyone visiting this country. I enjoy learning about history, but was not aware for the emotions I experienced at this ancient city. Seeing through the ruins, sitting on the seats of the Amphitheater where ancient plays were shown to emperors and Roman citizens alike, navigating the Celsus Library where some of the great minds like Paul the Apostle engaged in debate, walking the marble thoroughfare that once featured the promenade of royalty left me awestruck.
The first moment I sat on the stairs of the amphitheater moved me almost to tears. It was an emotion that caught me off guard, an emotion whose source still eludes me. I am not sure what about that place touched me but touch me it did. Had my time been unbounded, I probably would have sat on those steps for a good hour trying to imagine the scenes that played out two centuries ago with me a member of the audience. I probably would have sat in the library for an hour looking up at the great columns, the statues, the inscriptions on the wall trying to imagine great minds debating the issues of the day. I probably could have spent the entire day trying to reconstruct the daily lives, the fleeting lives of the people that once walked this great city.
After Ephesus, our hosts, Selma and Keenan, took us too the picturesque city of Siringe for local wine tasting, some shopping, and another meal, this time primariy of Manti, a Turkish dish of noodles, garlic, red sauce, and yogurt. Then we went to a seaside town where we were treated to baklava and some very tasty pistachio ice cream. Our last stop before going home, was a local bazaar where fresh vegetables and fruits were purchased for us to snack on in the evening. They wanted to buy us another dinner but we had to decline as we were not able to stuff another morsel into our mouths.
These hosts are amazing people. They have put their lives on hold for the past two days to ensure our stay in Turkey is memorabe. They are kind, generous, attentive, and, loving. Kenan is very funny. Despite our language barrier, he is able to make us laugh with his antics. Selma is very warm and it is through her that we primarily commincate with the couple, her and Googe translate, frequently at the behest of Kenan who says, “Translate. Translate. Translate.” We could not ask for better hosts. I now know what it takes to be treated like royalty.
We, Irene and I, ended our day with a walk along the Aegean Sea, a walk at the waters edge with the waves lapping at our feet, waves erasing the footsteps we were planting, waves hiding the memory of our time on the beach. As the sun set over the Greek island of Somos on this gorgeous spring day, we walked back to our hosts summer home, the home they graciously allowed us to stay in while we visit the West Coast of Turkey.