Well I did end up with another male tour guide today but this guy was great – really friendly but totally professional. No issues there. It was just us so I was a bit nervous at first but relaxed as the morning wore on.
Alas, no pics again. The internet doesn't like me.
First we went to a little village up high in the mountains – I actually can't remember the name of it – but it was beautiful. During the tourist season apparently it is full of people, but being winter now and quite early when we went, we got to see the real village life. As we walked through the village the guide was telling me about how hard it is to afford a house in Turkey now. People are resorting to using companies who lend a lot with little interest, but when they want the money back and you can't pay within 48 hours, they just kill your son instead. Scary stuff.
We also went to see the Basilica of St John the Evangelist near Ephesus, where St John's body was originally buried but later on the relics were removed and taken to Europe. However, there is still a tomb there and the ruins of the church show it would have been a very large and very beautiful place. There was a baptistery at the side with steps going down, so it was a full immersion baptism.
Down further on the hill, so that St John's Basilica overlooks it, is a mosque that was built in the 14th century. When the Ottoman empire took over Turkey, many churches were destroyed. The ones that survived had all the religious icons hacked off the walls. In this case, the mosque was built right next to the church and the church closed. The mosque is still used today. Just a point of interest, all of the tour guides, when referring to those muslims who go to the mosques five times a day, as is stated as an obligation for men in Islam (the women pray at home), refer to these Muslims as extremists. Turkey is far more secular than I had thought before I came here. Many of the younger generations, particularly revere Ataturk and are very supportive of him making Turkey a secular country in the 1920s.
After this we had lunch. Well I say we, but actually it was just me in this huge function centre that caters for tourist groups. Because I was the only one on the tour it was just me, and a really large American family at the other end of the room.
After lunch we went to the Sleeper Caves – these are old Christian tombs were people were buried during the times of the Roman persecution. Many Christians lived in the mountains (and I mean, literally 'in' them) so when they died they were also buried inside the mountains, as they were afraid of the bodies being removed from normal graves and abused as a warning to those Christians still alive of the perils of not worshipping the emperor.
And lastly we went to the museum of Ephesus, where many of the statues and monuments were stored after the excavations at Ephesus. Many are also in Vienna, as it was the Viennese who led the excavations. This statue is of the Emperor Domitian, a particularly nasty guy. It's notable for its size. His arm is taller than me.
This afternoon I had time to myself so after being dropped off at my hotel I went exploring. This place, Kusadasi, is very touristy but I was left to myself so I walked along the promenade and along the streets. It's very beautiful.