Our second trip to Kusadasi, we contacted Ertunga, a local tour guide, for a day tour of others sites. We had been to Ephesus before. After prompt emails between us, our group settled on seeing the Virgin Mary Home, and touring the village of Sirince and Selcuk.
Our guide for the day was Bulent. He and the driver met us promply at the pier.
We got to Mary House before the crowds from the ships tours arrived. it was early on a Sunday morning. The house is small and the site easy to walk around. it was a very serene beginning to our day. Both Christians and Muslims have devotion and honor for the Virgin Mary.
We then did a walking tour of Sirince a village with winding streets on a steep hill. Bulent gave us a history of this orignal Greek village and houses, shops etc. We stopped high on the hill and had a coffee at a local cafe with great views.
We drove to Selcuk and toured the bascilca of St. John’s and the Isa Bey Mosque. We were disappointed that the Ephesus museum in this town was closed for renovations. Learned that the mosque is a fine example of a different type of architecture from the ones in Istanbul.
Bulent is very knowledgeable, flexible, and we had great conversations about the ancient sites and modern day Turkey.
it was a wonderul relaxing tour of about four hours. Left us time to explore Kusadasi on our own.
On a recent cruise through the Mediterranean with a stop in Kusadasi we were fortunate to be able to enlist the services of Ertunga for the day. What a great decision this turned out to be. Our group of 6 spent a wonderful day with Ertunga touring Ephesus, the Terrace Houses, St Johns Basilica and the Isa Bey Mosque.
Ertunga was a joy to be with and his knowledge of this area is incredible. Ertunga grew up in Kusadasi and still resides there so you are getting the expertise of a true local. He met us at the port as we planned and he was waiting for us with a sign with our name on it and a smile. Within minutes we were in a comfy van and on our way to Ephesus.
The thing we loved about Ertunga is that he’s just a down to earth nice guy. He has a great way of communicating and telling you the story of Ephesus, he listens to you when you have questions, and he will move at your pace. The other thing we loved about Ertunga is that he let us set our agenda for the day. He will make recommendations and suggestions, but ultimately you decide where you want to go and when. He’s just so flexible in that regard.
I would not hesitate to use Ertunga again and I highly recommend him if you are visiting Ephesus. We hope to visit Istanbul someday and will certainly contact Ertunga again when the time comes. Do not try and visit Ephesus without a guide, there is so much history here and the best way to do this area justice is with a knowledgeable guide.