Day Eight: Izmir, Turkey

 Today was another whirlwind day in a different country. But lovely and exciting with some only minor irritation.

We arrived in Izmir (formerly Smyrna founded by Alexander the Great) around 7am and met our guide at 8:30am. We told him we wanted to go to a bazaar and see local crafts and textiles, etc. So for some unknown reason he took us to downtown Izmir and dropped us in th city center for an hour and disappeared. The 'bazaar' was like 50 little streets of K-Mart's. Horrifying. So mama and I sat at a cafe and had turkish coffee for an hour.  I felt like I did a bump of speed afterwards. Yowzers.

Next we drove an hour to visit Mary's house. Yes THAT Mary as in the Virgin. Apparently a German nun had a vision in the 1860's that Mary's home was in the hills near Ephesus near a stream. Sure enough some people went a searching and found a little house in the hills next to a stream and declared it a sacred spot. The Vatican restored it and paved the road and it's a massive attraction.

 Here is a 2000 year old baptismal pool near the house.

It's Mary's house!

Apparently this screw ball Asian lady from our ship thought she would do a photo shoot in front of the house. She even brought her own peeps. She delighted the line of tourists to no end and she vamped in her Warhol looking sari. Everything about it was bananas.

I'm not sure Mary or her son would approve.

Get it gurl!

Now turn to the right!

This monk was none too pleased, especially after she didn't even tour Mary's house, just cut through the line and headed out.

Sacred healing water below the house.

I perved out and took pictures of the hot guard. I'm sure Mary wouldn't mind.

Next stop was Ephesus. I was there 15 years ago and was amazed at all the work that has been done since then. So much has been pieced back together.

Look-its water pipes from 2000 years ago! The the right was the sewage drain.

This was one of the school and it had heated floors. And we thought that was new and fancy.

 I hope mother washed her hands after petting that mangy thing.

LOVE these cow head water spouts.

LOVE this lion claw on the foot of each stadium seat.

This was the hospital. They used the same two snakes on a rod symbol we use today.

 Me and Hercules!

Serious mosaics.

The turlets! Last time I was there you could sit on them and I have a great pic of me and dad on the throne...

The library

I took this picture for Price Latimer!

Apparently we missed a gladiator theater moment. Damn, damn, damn....

Next stop was a rug factory. This is the part where I nearly popped. We ask for shopping and he brings us to a rug factory where we are sure he gets a commission and nobody wanted a rug! See, the Greeks would never be this tacky. But we went and while everyone else was being hypnotized into buying something I scoped out this weird corner with popcorn only to realize it was piles of silk worm cocoons. COOL! This nice man showed me how the make silk thread from the cocoons. Sadly, the have to kill the little worms by boiling them. :(

But look at the results! This rug took two years to make and was $6,000. No I didn't buy it.

Two huge bags of silkworm cocoons!

Silk thread being spun directly from the cocoons.

They plunge this brush over and over in the bowl of cocoons in the water and that is how they find a thread to start spinning. They then pull it into the metal hole and connect it to the wheel. Pretty amazing.

And that was the end of the day. No lunch and lots of walking but great experience. We all passed out on the drive back and did all of our shopping at the customs control building at the port. Then we all got totally wasted last night and I motor boated one of mom's friends while others belted out karaoke.

Thank God today was a day at sea to sleep in!