The police chief asked us to pull up a seat. It was our first visit to Turkey and we had a great day sightseeing and were about to board our shuttle out of the town of Sirince.
Colleen and I slipped each other sideways glances at hearing the imposing man's request.
What had we done wrong?
Turns out, nothing at all. The head of the carabinieri unit simply wanted to offer us a spot in the shade on a hot day. He also pulled up a chair to chat. He was very interested in where we were from, asking whether we liked Obama. He said he was very fond of Bill Clinton. He told us all about his plans to take a three-week trip through Serbia, Croatia and other destinations through a combination of bus, plane and train.
This little chat and show of hospitality was the perfect capper to an extraordinary day getting to know this region on the western coast of Turkey. We boarded the brand new Regal Princess cruise ship a day earlier in Athens and made our way across the Aegean Sea for our first visit to Asia.
The Republic of Turkey is a country of about 80 million people, and the nation is 97 percent in Asia, with the rest in Europe. The western region is a tourism hot-spot, with all sorts of ruins and historic sites to see while enjoying plentiful sunshine. The country is home to 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Ephesus, which is the main attraction near our port in Kusadasi.
We started our day trip to Ephesus, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The site is chock full of stone etchings, roadways, columns and structures like the library (below) and toilets (in slide show).
After Ephesus, we stopped in the village of Sirince for a wine tasting, Turkish coffee and fortune telling of our left over coffee grounds . . .
Then, it was off to lunch at the home of a family who welcomed us straight into their living room for a filling and tasty meal . . .
In Turkey, try Efes. I enjoyed the pilsener.