Saying Goodbye to a Wonderful Experience

Today, we spent a day in Ephesus with Silversea. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Today, we spent a day in Ephesus with Silversea. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

“We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”

-Eli Wiesel

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Today marks our last full day aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind , as our journey that began in Muscat, Oman exactly two weeks ago comes to a close. Tomorrow, we’ll arrive in Piraeus, Greece – the port city for Athens – and we will disembark our floating palace one last time.

That’s later. Today, we’re docked alongside in the port of Kusadasi, Turkey – a resort town of about 70,000 people. Pronnounced ku-shad-assy, Kusadasi is 95 kilometres (about 60 miles) south of Izmir, and just a quick 40-minute drive away from one of the region’s most magnificent sites: the ancient city of Ephesus.

Silversea's Silver Wind at her berth in Kusadasi, Turkey this morning. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Silversea’s Silver Wind at her berth in Kusadasi, Turkey this morning. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Built in the 10th century BC, Ephesus was once a bustling city and a busy harbour port. During the Roman period, nearly 60,000 people made their homes here. It was an advanced, highly modern city, with a complex system of aqueducts and even underground piping designed to carry away wastewater in what was one of the world’s earliest sewer systems.

But Ephesus, like ancient Rome, gradually found itself on the decline. After being sacked by the Goths in 263 AD and the partial destruction of the city by an earthquake four hundred years later, a much more serious problem presented itself: the loss of the sea.

My four-hour excursion to Ephesus used Silversea's Sotto Voce option. These Quietvox wireless voice receivers are a great touch that river cruisers will surely be familiar with. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

My four-hour excursion to Ephesus used Silversea’s Sotto Voce option. These Quietvox wireless voice receivers are a great touch that river cruisers will surely be familiar with. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Despite repeated dredging (evidence of which exists to this day), Ephesus harbour was slowly overrun with silt and began to dry up. This caused Ephesus to lose its access to the Aegean Sea, which today has retreated five kilometres to the west. Faced with a decline in trade as ships found other ports of call, the citizens of Ephesus gradually packed up and left. By the 15th century AD, the town was abandoned. It would remain hidden for another four hundred years until excavations during the middle of the 19th century.

Today, it is estimated that three quarters of Ephesus still remain buried in the hills that surround the city. Excavation and preservation are time-consuming, expensive tasks, but more and more of the city is gradually being revealed to this day.

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind has sadly come to a close, but we’ll have a full recap of our voyage – and our next four adventures – coming next week on From the Deck Chair! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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