Izmir, Turkey excursion today...off to see Ephesus...rioting in the area...

For news on Izmir, Turkey, please click here.

Last evening, as our ship the Norwegian Spirit, pulled away from the pier in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkey's interesting architecture.
At 11:30 am this morning, Turkey time,  which is eight hours later than the US Midwest, ten hours later than the West Coast, our ship will dock in Izmir.
Feeling a bit concerned about visiting Istanbul  Turkey we stayed behind yesterday planning to visit Izmir, Turkey today on a prepaid excursion, feeling an organized excursion would be safer than wandering around on our own.

We took these photos facing the sun as it set yesterday in Istanbul.
Our new friends, Nicole and Gerry had called yesterday, asking if Nicole could join Tom and I since Gerry sprained his ankle and won't be able to go on the tour to Ephesus after all.  Of course, we'd love for Nicole to join us.  We planned to meet at the designated meeting area at 11:45 this morning. 
The excursion is scheduled to depart around 12:15 pm, returning to the ship at 5:30 pm. 
 
A haze obstructed the view as the sun was setting, a combination of heat and pollution, a result of the big city along the sea.
Last night, after attending yet another Latitudes members cocktail party in the Galaxy of the Stars venue at 7:00 pm, later dining in Windows Dining Room, another wonderful evening was behind us.  Dining alone for a change we chattered on about our experiences thus far and our dreams for the future, albeit some of which is uncertain which much to our surprise, is fine with us.
The spires from the many mosques dotted the skyline in Istanbul.
Returning to our cabin around 10:00 pm, typical for us since we awaken quite early, we found these two items on the bed:
This adorable frog was sitting on our bed last night when we returned
from dinner, made from one of our beach towels and a few washcloths!


This letter was on our bed last night when we returned from dinner.
Feeling committed with our non-refundable tickets and our plan to meet up with Nicole for the excursion, we decided to forge ahead.  When in the future with so much "world" left to see when would we ever return to Turkey?

Most likely we'll be safe.  Wouldn't t be great if our Uzi welding security guard, Mohammad from Egypt, was riding on our bus and following us around! 
Ironically, there I was writing yesterday, providing all the reasons to avoid risk and here we are today, walking right into it.  So off we go today, camera in hand, ready to shoot what we hope will be good photos of our expedition as we explore the ancient city of Ephesus.
It's a one hour drive each way to Ephesus, where we'll spend approximately three hours.  I'm hoping it's as exciting as Petra minus the difficult three hour walk uphill half of the way.  In any case, if we prove to be safe, I'll crawl through mud to return without incident (and take photos of that as well).

We'll be back tomorrow with our story, hopefully safe and sound and grateful for yet another enriching experience as we continue on in our worldwide adventures.

Ancient buildings at every juncture.

Goodbye Istanbul.  May your citizens (and visitors) be safe from harm.
 

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