Fez Bus Tour - Ephesus

Ephesus Travel Blog

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After the teasing Greek cities of Troy and Pergamum, we were quite excited to finally make it to Ephesus, famously known as the best preserved city of the ancient Greeks. Its reputation surely preceded it. As we arrived at the site – a short drive from Kusadasi – we were greeted by swarms of tourist buses. But it is a large place, so we were hoping to still enjoy the experience without feeling like we were back on an Istanbul dolmus.

Our tour leader this time around, in stark contrast to the unforgettable Captain Ali and the competent Pergamum escort with the cool stories about the origins of clapping, we were a bit underwhelmed by our Ephesus guide. Rather than bill herself as an art historian, archeologist or some other type of academic authority, she described herself as "the best finder of shade.

" Hmm. While this was undoubtedly useful on a hot August day with temps topping 100 degrees, after such stellar guides with impeccable credentials, this didn't seem as reassuring.

Sadly, what I most recall now from the tour isn't the spectacular, just-short-of-being-a-world-wonder Library of Celsus, or the breathtakingly enormous amphitheatre but rather the shortcomings of both our guide and the rushed pace of the tour. Jon was being uncharacteristically photogenic and wanted a funny shot of him sitting on the public toilets. Unfortunately, about 100 other people had this same idea and it actually became logistically impossible to backtrack where I could get a picture of him. (He was lagging behind a bit as usual ha ha.) So we rushed to the Library, where the group had evidently been waiting for us and then moved on after about two minutes, which isn't nearly enough time to take in the amazing condition of this ancient building.


Our tour guide also erroneously told us that one of the four statues outside the Library was "Sense of Humor" and not Knowledge or Wisdom. She was completely wrong. What does sense of humor have to do with a library? But we were at least in a shady spot as she related this inaccurate bit of trivia.

So we left Ephesus feeling quite disappointed, not at anything in the city itself (except for the several thousand tourists) but at the general shoddiness of the tour.

And to add insult to injury, after the tour was finished our tour guide took us to an exorbitantly overpriced and touristy restaurant. Since lunch was included we didn't bother to think about the cost of the drinks – the only part of lunch we needed to pay for. Our guide informed us (again mistakenly) that it was a law in Turkey that you couldn't bring outside drinks into a restaurant.
The Library of Celsus
What a scam to get us to buy drinks that we might not have gotten otherwise since we still had a big bottle of water from the morning. The restaurant was overwhelmed by several buses arriving at once so we had a wait a loooong time for our cop sis. Jon ordered an extra drink because we were waiting for so long. When we got our bill at the end we found out that they charged 4 YTL for cherry juice! So he paid 8 YTL for two small cans when you could've gotten gallons of cherry juice for the same price in a local grocery store. What a different Ephesus experience from when I went in November 2003. We had the place to ourselves and maybe one other tour group. It was fabulous to take as much time as we wanted to marvel at the architecture as we imagined walking through the agoras of ancient Greece.

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The Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus
Ephesus
photo by: EmyG