Guest post day! I am soooo excited to introduce you all to Stashy from Stash Matters! Stashy is a meticulous beauty blogger with a gigantic stash; brands from all over the world. Back in July, we decided to do a collaboration / guest post thing together. And here we are! The beauty blogger does a travel post and the travel blogger does a makeup post 😀 For this guest post, in her own words… Ephesus, Turkey

We had booked our cruise back in June and selected the ports primarily based around being able to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia and somewhere in Turkey.  This was all before the attempted Turkish military coup d’état in mid-July.  We were unsure if our ship would bypass this port when we boarded the ship in mid-September. Thankfully, we were advised that they only skipped the port immediately after the unrest, but resumed within 2 weeks once things settled down and it was deemed safe.  To provide a perspective, here is where Ephesus is located relative to Istanbul:
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What Ephesus is famous for are the amazingly well-preserved ancient Roman and Greek ruins.  In 2015, the Ephesus ancient city was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.  While it was deemed safe, we still opted for a fully guided tour which included the following:
• House of the Virgin Mary: Collect holy water from the Fountain of Our Lady
• Guided Walking: View the Odeon, Fountain of Trajan, Temple of Hadrian, Library of Celsius, Grand Theater, and the Arcadian Way
• Amenities: Receive a gift set including a handmade pot, an evil eye, a map of the city, and bottled water.
• Lunch at Ephesus Park
• Shopping: Browse the shops in Kusadasi, and enjoy an optional carpet demonstration
Our cruise ship pulled into the Turkish port of Kusadasi at around 8am.
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View of the Kusadasi harbour from the cruise ship
The cruise excursion organizers then assigned us to various groups according to the packages we purchased.  By 9am we were off – it was a seamless transfer from ship to bus, where we me our tour guide, Bert.  The journey from the Kusadasi port to the Ephesus site took approximately 30 minutes and the drive was quite scenic, going up winding roads up a mountain.  Our first stop was at the House of Virgin Mary, a place that the Vatican has verified as the final place where Virgin Mary lived before she died.
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The statue of the Virgin Mary outside her House.
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The House itself is very simple and small. The interior is quite bare and has a small altar at the front. No photographs are allowed inside – there are 2 guards on duty to make sure no one breaks the rules!
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This massive pit used to hold rainwater for drinking.
We then went to the main attraction, the ancient city of Ephesus. This part proved to be our favourite – visiting the ancient sites really felt like taking a step back in time.
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We were quite concerned about the weather in Turkey since we had heard it can be quite punishing at the ancient ruins due to all the white marble and lack of shade. Luckily for us, it was “only” 24C and there was a nice breeze.
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These columns lined the streets as our group walked toward the center of the ancient city.
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Relief of Goddess Nike, who personified victory.
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Temple of Hadrian
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Library of Celsius
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Grand Theater

One of the shopping areas turned out to be slightly sketchy, but I came home with some Turkish Delights!

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“Genuine Fake Watches” 😛  We were told that even after the unrest had subsided, many cruise ships bypassed Ephesus. So many of the local shops were hurting for business and prices were some of the best if we were wanting to negotiate.
I didn’t think to take photos of the food we had at the Ephsus Park, but it was a buffet style spread which included a selection of traditional Turkish food. I couldn’t identify any particular dishes but ingredients included eggplant, lamb, olives, and lentils.  My favourite was of course the dessert section which included delicious baklava.
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This sign for the women’s washroom with the crossed legs made me chuckle.
It was then time for the government sponsored cultural portion of the tour – a rug making demonstration.  We were taken to a very slick showroom and shown how they double knot their handmade rugs:
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The rug making process is very labour intensive. A large size silk rug can take one person an entire year to complete!
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They showed us a variety of rugs and gave us refreshments… and then it was time for the hard sell. Sales people came out of the woodwork to sell us rugs – we had to make a hasty exit.  I did enjoy the Turkish coffee though.
Side note: there were a lot of cats around the ancient sites we visited! They were very used to having humans around and looked well-fed and clean:

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Tips:
  • Guided tours are your best bet – you’ll get so much more out of the ancient city rather than trying to guess what everything was
  • Book the tour online in advance of the cruise ship sail date to avoid disappointment
  • Skip the rug demonstration if you can sneak away 😉
Where was I?
Ephesus, Turkey via Royal Caribbean Cruise
The specific tour we took was called “Highlights of Ephesus with Lunch”:
Cost: $129.68 CAD / person
Duration: 5 hr 30 mins
Guest post by: stashy, who is normally a beauty blogger. But I love travelling as well!
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The best caption is of course the ‘Genuine fake watches’ *LOL* such subtle but clear marketing! Wahahah
Stashy has recently been on a GORGEOUS mediterrean cruise tour. I have never been on any cruise 🙁 Check it out on her blog. You can stalk Stashy at: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 😉
If you’re curious about my guest post on Stashy’s, click here.

43 Comments

  1. I love the expression genuine fake! Makes me laugh everytime :’) Ephesus is beautiful but from experience skip the excursion next time, just walk a few feet away from the dock and a taxi will take you there for half the price

  2. I too visited Ephesus on a Royal Cruise. You are correct the tour needs to be guided and the rug show is interesting but a dash is important at the end

    • It boggled my mind that we were just walking around structures that were built thousands of years ago!

  3. Genuine fake watches! <3

    Great photos! Turkey's one of those places I'd love to visit. We were hoping to do an Istanbul trip in the near future.

    • My boss is from Turkey. She says Istanbul is good to visit if you know what you’re doing. That sounded very ominous! 😆 She did say that the Turkish Delights I brought back were fresh and tasted good. Phew, I was worried.

      • LOL! A friend of ours went and said he didn’t like Istanbul at all…I guess he didn’t have a tour guide, though. I’ve heard their baklava is THE BEST—I’m not actually a huge baklava fan but I’m always interested in trying the best of something, hahaha! God I love Turkish delight, as well. When I was a little kid, reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I had no idea what Turkish delight was and for some reason I imagined it was a kind of meat stew. LMAO. I’m sure the book must have mentioned it was sweet, and it makes more sense for a child to be swayed by sweets than savories…I guess I was more into savories as a kid. The book I had also had an illustration of the candy in a damn box, so I think I must really have been a crazy child.

        • That’s hilarious – your childhood thoughts on Turkish Delights. I knew they were sweets but in my mind I thought they were like after dinner mints (the chalky ones).
          I only had the 1 piece of baklava so not a large sampling. And I’m no baklava expert but it ranks up there… 😛

          • Dinner mints make so much more sense.

            My husband has Middle Eastern heritage, so I’ve tried my fair share of Middle Eastern desserts! I am not a huge fan, mostly because I’m not into all the syrupy sweetness, but to be fair when baklava is good, it’s reeeeally good.

            I haven’t tried to make it as it’s way too time consuming, but I’m getting pretty good at semolina cake, my fave of the Middle Eastern desserts I’ve tried! 🙂

  4. I’ve been to Turkey many a times and have come across many of their Genuine fakes, when I was younger I bought several Genuine Fake Louis Vuitton Wallets, but since being older and revisiting I’ve noticed that the convincingness of the fakes is no where near, I love spotting people in the street who have clearly been to Turkey and Come back with a genuine fake Lewis Vooton.
    Ephesus is one place we haven’t visited yet, if we revisit Turkey I’d like to head to there and Pamukkale, which I think is a similar region – they’ve always been too far to travel to from where we’ve been

    • Wahahah ‘Lewis Vooton’ sounds soooo genuine and sexy wahahah *LOL* I don’t know what to think of LV really. Their iconic look is achieved by a combination of cotton canvas and resin. In my opinion, both are non-luxury raw material. Why people love LV so much is often beyond my understanding.

      Stashy’s post is pretty convincing 😉

      • Yeah the genuine fake I had from Turkey lasted me about 3 years and looked and felt the same as LV when I compared in a Selfridges – overpriced for what it is, think there are better brands you can spend on for cheaper, especially as LV prices keep rising every year, I used to want a Neverfull as I loved the shape, but it’s about £250 more than when I first wanted it, wouldn’t spend on it now!

    • Genuine fake Lewis Vooton! 😆 It’s as good as the “Prado” ties I’ve seen in Hong Kong!
      We really want to visit more of Turkey but we were so apprehensive. I now have a better appreciation of the place – we will definitely go back.

      • They’re less genuine fake Lewis Vuitton but more Mickey cors round in the U.K. I just want to ask people if they had a nice holiday in turkey! The one area I didn’t like that we went to, that happens to also be a cruise stop, is marmaris – not a lot to do there but very touristy, one big market and that’s all.

  5. LOL, good to know that those fakes are real!!
    Oh gosh, what fantastic photos. The ruins are breathtaking (especially the Temple of Hadrian and Library of Celsius!)
    I’ve always wondered what happens when the cruise ship docks – so people can either sign up for guided tours while they’re on the ship, or walk around on their own? Did you guys end up taking a guided tour in every city you docked at?
    Great job with the guest posts, ladies! 🙂

    • The Library of Celsius of seriously jaw dropping. I took so many pictures from every angle – even the ceilings are covered in relief carvings.
      Yup, you have the option of walking around on your own, hiring an independent guide, or opting to use the tour groups organized by the cruise ship (they’re local guides but selected by the ship). The biggest draw about using the cruise ship guides is that if for whatever reason the group gets delayed and doesn’t get back to the ship on time, the ship will wait for them!
      Of the 5 cities we visited, we only did guided tours at 2: this one, and at Olympia, Greece. We felt that we could manage the other cities ourselves and it all worked out well. We preferred our guide in Turkey over the one in Greece but it was all due to personal preference of the guide (the Greek guide gave waaaaay too much historic details everyone stopped listening lol)

      • Relief carvings are so amazing to look at.
        Heh, I’ve always wondered how much it would suck if you get held up on land for whatever reason and the ship leaves without you! I guess in that sense, the safest bet is to use the cruise ship guides.

  6. Great photos, it brings back some awesome memories from my visit to Ephesus over 25 years ago. I loved the rugs so much I bought 2 of them and brought them back via backback!!!

    • Do you think it’s changed much over the years? Based on your experience and how it looks now? I feel like time has stood still there, which is incredible considering how close we’re able to get to all the structures – touching them, walking on them!

  7. Lol genuine fakes are the best :p
    I don’t mind tours – it’s nice to let someone else do the hard work for you sometimes.
    Great post Stashy. And such a great idea from the both of you for this collab post 🙂

    • I was a bit apprehensive about tours but it was really great to learn so many things we wouldn’t have otherwise found out for ourselves! At least the group wasn’t massive – less than 30 people.

  8. It was so fun to do this collab with you Joyce! 😀
    Re: genuine fake watches – I joked that maybe people thought the fake watches would be like cardboard cut outs of Rolexes so they had to make sure to ease people’s minds that these were in fact, actual functioning timepieces! 😆

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