After Istanbul we made our way to Kusadasi, a smallish port town in the southwest corner of Turkey. While Istanbul boasts 16 million people in the metropolitan area, Kusadasi has only 60,000. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see.

We headed directly for the ancient ruins of Ephesus, situated on what was once the sea shore (but is now just a field several miles from the sea). We started the tour at the top of the hill, slowly working our way down.

Unlike all of the other ruins we’ve visited on this trip, almost nothing is off limits in Ephesus. We walked by and were able to touch thousands of pieces of marble ruins, run our hands along the Hercules Gate, and even sit on the toilets in the ruins of the public men’s restroom if we wanted.

But truly the highlight of the trip was the ruins of the ancient library, which once housed 12,000 scrolls. The only thing remaining after millennia of earthquakes is the front facade and the statues in it. Even so, these two stories of carved stone were amazing to behold.

After some time to gawk and take pictures, we moved along to the Great Amphitheater, one time able to seat 25,000 people. We hiked all the way to the top, providing a great view of the valley that was once the sea before hopping back on the bus and back toward Kusadasi.

After getting back to the city we got another turkish carpet demonstration, only this time we were also able to see how the silk is harvested and spun in the first place. The silk worms are harvested after they form their cocoon but before they cut their way out. The cocoons are soaked in steaming water and a handful of strands are combined to form a thread of silk, which is wound together with other threads to form fine strings. All of the work is done by hand.

Afterwards, we got to watch another woman weaving a silk rug and got to haggle with salesmen again. In the end, we decided to pick up a third rug, a very small blue silk one. This time we made sure to get a photo, which you’ll see down below.

We then hit up Kusadasi’s bazaar, the second largest in Turkey behind only Istanbul’s. While it was smaller, it offered some unique experiences. Our favorite may have been the vendors selling “Genuine Fake Watches”. Anyway, an hour or two and several trinkets later we were back on the ship headed for Athens.