DAY 7 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12: KUSADASI, EPHESUS, PATMOS
Today was a bright sunny day, with blue skies and highs around 80. It was another day of both connecting with Paul’s ministry and enjoying the beauty of the the islands.
Following sailing through the night, we arrived at Kusadasi (it means “bird island” in Turkish). Located on the western coastline of Turkey, this port city is a vacation and retirement locations for many Brits and Europeans. Following breakfast on the ship, we left the ship and boarded our tour bus shortly after 7 pm. Splitting up into two buses, we met our Turkish guides and drove straight to Ephesus.
We arrived in Ephesus at 8:30 a.m. This was a massive port city back in the days of Paul. He spent about three years here during his 3rd mission journey. Starting from the upper part of the city and walking on the ancient stone pavement towards the port, we past by a vast number of archaeological ruins. This included the odeon (small theater), statues, pillars, arches, inscriptions, public latrenes, and the Celsus Library. Sitting together in the agora, we read from Acts 19 about the dramatic event that took place in the grand theater. It held about 22,000 people! Seeing the city and knowing about the Temple of Artemis (Diana) that once stood here helped us understand the challenges Paul faced in sharing the kingdom message. We also read from Revelation 2 about what John would write about the church established here (e.g. losing one’s ‘first love’…)
On the way back to the ship we made a stop at a rug shop/store (it’s part of the excursion deal). It was interesting to learn how Turkish rugs are made, whether from cotton, wool, or silk. About 12 noon we re-boarded the ship and enjoyed lunch and some free time. It was fun being on the deck as the islands past by.
“Visiting the city of Ephesus was the highlight of the trip so far! All the impressive ruins displayed gives a good impression of how massive the city was when Paul was here. And just to think Paul lived here for three years! Wow!” -Tour Member-
As we set sail out of Kusadasi for the southwest, we past by the narrowest opening, with the coastline of Turkey on our left and the island of Samos on our right. Paul stopped here on this mountainous island at the end of his 3rd mission journey en route back to Jerusalem (Acts 20).
At 3:45 we all gathered on the top deck as we approached the island of Patmos. We read from Revelation 4,5 and 19, remembering that Revelation is a victory book that honors Christ!
The island of Patmos is another one of the picturesque Greek islands. While imprisoned on this island, the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation from here. To get to the island, we had to use tender boats. Upon arriving on the island, we enjoyed a guided tour to the Grotto of the Apocalypse (a very traditional stop where John was imprisoned and received his vision). We also visited another Greek Orthodox monastery located on the high hills. It is called St. John’s and it has been active for a little over 900 years! In the museum here we saw some manuscripts of texts that date back to the 6th century AD!
Back down at the port, we took the tender boats back to the ship. We enjoyed another late dinner, a Greek barbecue on the open deck! Some in the group also enjoyed the Greek show that was offered later. During the night hours while we sleep we plan to sail to the island of Crete.