The island of Patmos was up first. We landed in a very small harbor and made our way up to the "Cave of the Apokalypsis" (where John is believed to have seen visions and wrote the book of Revelations). As we entered, I realized that it would be much different than I expected. I'm not really sure how I felt about the grotto. It was filled with items common to Greek Orthodox denomination and surrounded by chapels dedicated to other saints such as Nicholas, Artemois, and Anna. As I took this all in, I couldn't help but think that John would not have wanted the place to be rendered in that way, but that is just my personal opinion. Unfortunately I was not able to get any pictures inside the cave because I did not want to be insensitive to the priest and people who were there for their own religious reasons. But I did get some pictures from outside the grotto.
We were also able to visit the Monastery of St. John that sits atop the island.
It was a small, slow town, but I greatly enjoyed visiting it.
Ephesus was one of my absolute favorite parts of the trip! We landed in Kusadasi, Turkey and drove about twenty minutes out into the country. We were able to visit this awesome center developed to house students on study abroad and dedicated to the study of Ephesus called the Crisler Library.
It was so beautiful there, like a little oasis. The lady who ran the center (in honor of her late husband), was able to set up a tour for us with one of the archeologists who worked on Ephesus from its beginning for forty years! We weren't allowed to tell anyone because he would have gotten in huge trouble for giving tours without some type of tour guide license (there are lots of laws like this in Greece and Turkey, and they strictly enforce them). But he knew so much, and it was an awesome tour.
The funniest part was that just before we left Crisler Library for the tour it started to hail! Dark storms were starting to roll in, but I wanted to do the tour anyways! It definitely made it exciting!
Ephesus was AMAZING. I can't even begin to describe what it was like to walk through this ancient city.
There are two different stadium/arena type areas, living areas, and the marketplace.
This is the Celsius Library, built sometime during the 2nd century.
This is the main street that ran past the living area and through the center of the market place.
This flooring is a mosaic pattern, tons of tiny little colored stones, all placed there by hand. Most of the flooring in the homes were mosaic pictures too.
This is the area where the living quarters were. There are tons of those glass walkways built across the entire area so that you can look down into the living areas. It's covered by a huge roof, which was convenient when it started pouring rain!
And this was the Church of Mary.
So much work and effort has been put into reconstructing Ephesus, and it is turning out so beautifully. Despite the hail and rain, I still had the best time!