Being chosen as a Highly honoured Vestal Virgin as a young girl ( from 6-10 years old ) meant keeping the sacred flame in the temple of Vesta alive and being a ‘ good girl’. The associated risk attached other wise was being buried alive. How ever if you reached they age of 40 you were free and able to marry .
There are several cities of marble close to Kusadasi . The most impressive and the biggest is Ephesus. Once, the largest city in Turkey in Byzantine times, we walk down the marble Main Street in awe at the temples , political arenas, outstanding library,public toilets!! and this year a tour through 6 villas with decorated plaster walls and mosaic floors – these are under cover to preserve them and Archaeologists work painfully slowly restoring minute details.
We had Yeliz again today as our guide and she portrayed the life and times of this city so well .
The amphitheatre held 15,000 people – these structures took a 10 th of the population -so on those calculations Ephasus would have had about 150,000 inhabitants . Today the archeologists have unearthed about a 12 th so the original city .
During our two days we also visited the Greek temple of Miletus and the Priene. Both were major cites in Asia Minor and vital trading centres .
Alexander the Great spent time in Priene and although is was a hot climb to reach the ruins it was remarkable – made even more special because we had the place virtually to ourselves.
The sea is now 10-12 km away now from all these cities due to the silting up rivers. With that came reduced trade and Mosquitos and with them came malaria. People shifted and the cities became abandoned and suffered with earthquakes and the onset of the dark ages.
Food continues to be magnificent – not fine dining but every day quality vegetables are served everywhere you go with an emphasise on Tomatoes , Eggplant, Okra, Beans ( often stuffed ) and always bowls of yoghurt – sometimes with purslane and often hot chillies .From the side of the road to big cities the selection has become familiar – all with a common theme and a heavy use of parsley and fresh dill. Meatballs, kebabs and spicy sausage are all cooked on charcoal consequently they taste exceedingly good and often served still sizzling in a metal dish siting on top of a charcoal burner. A selection of meze is always served as a starter with puffy bread and you can’t get enough of it. On the Mediterranean coast simple grilled whole fish , stuffed calamari and small anchovies are in every restaurant.
Late afternoons were spent around the stunning infinity pool at our hotel. Time to relax, swim and enjoy a glass of cold local white wine.
Kusadasi usually has 2-3 cruise ships a day . But now 2-3 a week. Restaurants, taxis , traders and hotels are beside themselves and are looking at very quiet summer season.