After a breakfast seaside, on a dark brooding morning, we boarded our bus. Leaving the Eden Gardens hotel, we drove through beautiful olive groves on both sides of the road. At Assos we climbed narrow streets through the village of Behramkale. At the acropolis on top are the temples. Elif tells us about the temple to Athena and the mythological traditions behind it. Paul embarked from the harbor here (Acts 20:14), far below where we were standing. As we walked back to the bus, some ladies of the village offered to sell us beautiful hand-made lace.
As we drive south towards Pergamon, we read what John recorded about the city from Revelation chapter two. He admonished the people for holding to pagan practices. As we climb another great hill and reach the top, we find another temple to Athena. Elif also takes us to the remains of the library of Pergamon, second only to the library of Alexandria. She points out spaces between the walls that controlled the humidity and preserved the documents. She says the word parchment is connected to Pergamon, denoting the early innovation of that document, made from animal skins. We walk through the theater and past the site of the great altar of Zeus, now in a museum in Berlin.
After lunch, we visit the Asclepion, a highly renowned medical center in classical times. We see another theater and special rooms for lectures and walk down a long covered underground hallway where healing and positive thinking was promoted by the ancient doctors.
Back on the bus, we drive through Izmir, the large city where Elif lives. In the book of Revelation, this city (Smyrna) was described with much poverty but rich in faith. St. Polycarp, a disciple of John, was martyred here after a famous speech dedicated to Jesus. We don't stop but we see a busy city with a large harbor and modern highways. We saw oil refineries aplenty. Elif says many people from eastern Turkey have emigrated here. We travel on along a tollroad, past a Burger King restaurant.
We continue on, past Ephesus. That will have to wait until tomorrow. Just before the sun starts to set, after another long day on the road, we arrive in Kusadasi. Hotel Adakule, wedged between rocky cliffs along the Aegean Sea, is very beautiful.
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