We waited in the darkness of the night along the pier in Mykonos for our overnight ferry to arrive. Finally around 3 am we heard the slow rumbling approach and saw the lights of the big Greek ferry rolling into port. We were exhausted yet relieved that it had finally arrived and we had a room reserved for the overnight sail to the Greek Island of Samos.
As we boarded the ship, ready to finally get some rest there was a bit of confusion. We had our reservation in hand for our room yet whenever we showed it to the staff they acted like they didn’t understand and simply said “thank you“. This went on for about ten minutes until the angry crew member finally barked at us “sorry, no room for you”. What?! We had already paid the $100 and reserved it months in advance while planning our honeymoon. Yet he showed us no kindness and instead, turned away with an evil smirk on his face and pointed downstairs to the crowded sitting room. We were so mad but too tired to complain. We spent the night sleeping under the luggage holder on urine-stained carpet and slept on the rocky, stinky ferry floor until sunrise.
We arrived in Samos desperately hoping our trip would improve. We had not had much luck with the Greek ferry system that was certain. Samos is primarily known as a jumping off point to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus located across the sea in Kusadasi, Turkey. Ephesus is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the world with a history stemming back to 3000 BC. It is the birthplace of the famous philosopher Heraclitus and contains many attractions such as the Basilica of St John, the House of Virgin Mary and the Temple of Artemis. I had always wanted to see Ephesus thus was willing to take whatever it took to get there.
Once we arrived in Samos, we took a long cab ride to our hotel which again was booked in advance by our US-based travel agent. So far, all our hotels had been amazing and the only problem we experienced with our trip in Greece were the ferries. The hotel in Samos was in the middle of nowhere and nothing special. When we arrived, we were so tired that we decided to take a nap for awhile. I was sound asleep when all the sudden both Paul and I woke up with a start. A roaring, deafening sound was growing louder and louder and it sounded like we were going to be attacked! We raced out of bed, opened the window and in horror realized our hotel room was directly at the end of the airport runway in Samos! We had 737 jets landing right over our room, non stop. Ephesus was really going to have to be extraordinary to make things better!
The next morning after no sleep, we rose early and took the 90 minute ferry over to the port of Kusadasi, Turkey for our tour of Ephesus. Thankfully our tour bus left twenty minutes later and we were on our way driving through the picturesque Turkish countryside.
Our tour guide informed us that Ephesus once housed over 250,000 people and during its day it was one of the most important cities in all of Europe and Asia Minor. Amazons, Greeks, Lydians, Romans and many other civilizations lived in Ephesus over the years.
What is so extraordinary about Ephesus is that only 30% of the ruins are uncovered. Our guide said that it took over 150 years to uncover what we saw that day and would take another 350 years to uncover the rest! Extraordinary!
After our awesome tour, we had a couple of hours to wander around Kusadasi. The town was much larger and modern than I had expected. It had many shops, tourist restaurants and tons of bazaars where lovely, expensive Turkish rugs were sold.
Our afternoon ended up being wonderful and there was no better way to celebrate it than by having a “million lira” beer!