The sales rep at the Kusadasi carpet shop – which specializes in hand-woven Turkish floor coverings that can take up to a year to make – was genuinely grateful that the Viking Star opted to dock here as scheduled. The great fear is that the cruise ships will now start bypassing Turkey due to the terrorist threat. “If you guys don’t stop here any more, we’re dead in the water,” he said. “We totally rely on tourism for our survival.”
He put on a lovely presentation of carpet-making artistry, served us complimentary pastries and Turkish coffee, and didn’t do a hard sell as we fully expected he might. He did get a few takers, though. Some of the cruisers picked up small carpets that could be neatly folded into compact carry-on bags, and didn’t cost them an arm and a leg.
Kusadasi was on our itinerary because it’s just a 20-minute drive from Ephesus, one of the great Greco-Roman cities of antiquity, founded in 3,000 BC and now a miracle of archeological restoration. Levelled by an earthquake back in the day, it has been gradually excavated and reclaimed during the past 50 years, and the results are spectacular. The most impressive rebuild is the two-storey facade of the Library of Celsus, which once held 12,00 scrolls.
The Viking people do a great job of getting us onto the buses for the various shore excursions they line up at each port of call. They are also very efficient at getting us back onto the ship before the “back onboard” horn blows, usually around 5:30 PM. When we head out in the morning, there are usually as many as thirty to 40 buses and guides waiting to transport us to our chosen on-shore destinations. Far as I can tell, no cruiser has yet been left behind on the pier at 6:00 PM, waving a forlorn goodbye while the ship takes off for its next destination.
If you’ve been wondering why we haven’t been talking much about the onboard entertainment in recent days, it’s because the shows now are mainly a repeat of what we saw during the first leg of the cruise, from Barcelona to Venice. We’ve already seen West End star Simon Bowman twice, so didn’t feel the need to catch him a third time. But I think we may be dancing in the aisles tonight when the house troupe do a reprise of their ABBA show. You can never get too much “Dancing Queen.” Click on the “X” of arrows between “HD” and “vimeo” to expand the video to full screen.
A trivia item I picked up today from the ship’s general manager: The ship’s kitchens put out 4,000 meals every day. That, I figure, must amount to about 2,000 eggs, 3,000 slices of bacon, and 8,000 bottles of wine. Yay!