DAY 12 – THURSDAY, MAY 7
The day started early for us. Waking up at 2:30 a.m., we loaded the bus and drove to the Ben Gurion Airport. After checking in and passport control, we boarded our flight to Istanbul. After getting our boarding passes (with some unfortunate unexpected baggage chargers) and going to passport control, we secured our bags and re-boarded our flight to Izmir. We met our guide (Mekmet) for the next day and a half.
Upon getting our bags, we drove towards Ephesus. Along the way, we stopped for an overview of the Aegean Sea and Kasadasi. We also stopped for lunch and a presentation at a Turkish rug educational facility. It as interesting to see and hear about the art of making double-knot rugs made of wool, cotton, and silk (gathered amazingly from silk worms).
Arriving at the ancient site of Ephesus, we are all in awe at the size of the city. Walking from the Magnesia Gate westward, we saw a number of structures from the Roman period: An odium (small theater), temples, arches, reliefs, the famous Library of Celsus, and the theater. In the theater that could hold nearly 24,000 people, we read from Acts 19 (Paul’s theater encounter) and 1 Corinthians 3 (about being the “temple of God’s Spirit”). We literally had the whole theater to ourselves. With the sun setting in the west, it made for some great photos.
We drove past the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus as we left the site for Izmir (ancient Smyrna) located on the western coastline of Turkey. All that is standing is one of the 127 pillars of this massive pagan temple. On top of this reconstructed pillar was a nest of a stork. In Izmir, we checked into our hotel and enjoyed a late dinner together.
Even if it was a long travel day, it was great to see Ephesus and this part of Turkey. We are looking for a full day of seeing some of the sites mentioned in Revelation tomorrow.
DAY 13 – FRIDAY, MAY 8
We plan to visit Thyatira, Pergamum, Asclepium, and Sardis. We will then fly back to Istanbul in the early evening for overnight there.
DAY 14 – SATURDAY, MAY 9
We plan to fly home on a morning flight back to JFK, NY.