This is what our revised Itinerary was for the day:
4:45 - Meet in hotel lobby
6:45 - Fly to Izmir
9:00 - Breakfast with host family
10:30 - Drive to Ephesus
11:30 - Tour Ephesus
2:00 - Lunch
3:00 - Virgin Mary's house
4:00 - Tour Art Ceramic production and showroom
5:00 - Artemis Temple
5:30 - Isa Bey Mosque
5:45 - Selcuk Museum
7:00 - Dinner with sponsor family
10:00 - Check in at hotel AND DIE!
With an itinerary like that (they kept it a secret from us until late in the day), it's no wonder that our guides wanted to make sure that we started the day with a full Turkish breakfast. We arrived at Ephesus (for more info about this place http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus) at about 11:30. The 2 1/2 hour stroll through this historic site in 100 heat was worth every second. By the time this group photo was taken, most of us were about ready to pass out. Little did we know - the day had just begun.
After Ephesus, 2nd largest city of the Roman Empire, and its remarkable history, (besides the incredible HEAT) we began climbing into the hills looking out over the valley of Ephesus. We came to a quiet shady glade around a bend away from the Ephesus view. There John, one of Jesus’s Apostles took the mother of Jesus, Mary to live. John preached the countryside and Mary lived there until her death. Meryemana Evi, House of the Virgin Mary is fairly intact. Scholars had searched for the house for many years. It was not discovered until 1891.
We stopped next at Art Ceramics, a family-owned ceramic art studio making the most beautiful pieces with designs from the Selcuk Empire. Jeanette, of our group, tried her hand on the pottery wheel during our tour. Yasmine Atesh of Art Ceramics hosted our dinner that evening and presented each of us with a beautiful ceramic plate.