Ephesus was an ancient Greek city and later a major Roman city. In the Roman period it was the second largest city behind Rome! This was in the first century BC! We are talking before Christ people. The city was destroyed and rebuilt following earthquakes, the second of which was in 614 AD. Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the book of Revelation. It is also hypothesized that the book of John was written here.
Chris is a photo-junkie, and when his batteries died a few minutes into our tour, he panicked. We thus decided to let Chris use our camera. So we got great pictures with no work on our part. That was a good deal.
Now let me tell you about a bad deal. It cost 20lira each (roughly $15USD) to get into Ephesus. Like most Turkish locations, the kids were free. We were met at the gate by a Turkish guy, about 80 years old, who spoke fantastic English. He offered to take us on a personal tour of the city for 60TL (roughly 40USD.) We debated it but ultimately agreed.
As we started touring Ephesus, I was thankful for his documentary. Without it, we wouldn't have known what we were looking at and he had a lot of knowledge. But the kids were melting, and I kept telling him that I thought we needed to hurry it up. They were sobbing. Hysterical actually. Elijah wouldn't even accept candy from a Japanese tour group! But our tour guide kept looking at his watch and just taking his sweet time bringing us around the city.
When we finished the tour, he asked for his pay. JB gave him 60TL. The man then informed us that he had told us 60TL per hour! We don't recall any such exchange. I truly, utterly, despise situations like this. What can you do? We couldn't be sure what he had said and we had agreed to. But tourists being taken advantage of just drives me crazy. This rate was ridiculous and this not being more clear was ridiculous. Especially when I told him repeatedly we probably needed to go faster because the children were falling apart.
JB and I call this a "stupid tax." We learned a lesson. One we hope not to repeat during out travels around Europe and Asia. You must be clear. You must get positive answers. And then you must stick to your guns. We did none of the above and ultimately negotiated a rate of roughly 100TL. Ugh. I am hoping this will be the last time this occurs.
Anyways, that aside, Ephesus was beyond amazing. Here is just a smattering of photos to prove that point.
This picture was at the little market surrounding the gate to the city. Sorry, but this sign just cracked me up and we had to get a picture of it.
If you push children beyond their limits, they will respond accordingly. As lunchtime came and went, the boys started melting with great ferocity! Lots of crying was had by all.
This is the most recent family photo I have of all four of us looking at the camera! Success!
We also had the opportunity to stop at the death place of Mary, Jesus' mother. It was a quick stop but quite interesting.
Okay, there are a few things I want to say about this picture. (1) this is a wall of prayers mostly written on tissue. (2) See the teenagers in the background, they were flocking the boys non-stop and wanting to take pictures with them. (3) And yes, in the middle of the photo Elijah decided that he wanted to do a headstand. I kid you not.