I have seen someplace more crowded than the Acropolis on cruise ship day. And it is Kusadasi, Turkey.
I’ve actually been here before, toured the exact same places. I wanted to share them with my sister. But the last time I came was in November, a year and a half ago. It was winter, and freezing, but the spaces were empty and wide open, and I was free to explore without getting elbowed and smacked in the head.
Our first stop was the house of the Virgin Mary. This is the home in Kusadasi that the Vatican recognizes as the place where Mary spent her last years. It’s a bit of a pilgrimage for some Christians, and the first time I went, I was touched by being there.
Not so much this time, as it took standing in a line four people wide to get into the tiny house. Nightmarishly hot outside.
But this time I remembered to bring a tissue, because next to the fountains of holy water is a wall of wishes. You write down a wish on a tissue, think of your wish while you’re praying in the house, then go down the hill and tie your wish to the wall.
And then it was on to Ephesus. Where Karalyn got to see this.
This is a carving of the goddess Nike. For those of you who have known me awhile, you know we had a Great Dane growing up who was named Nike. She was the best dog we could have had, especially after the long line of bad luck we’d had with puppies. Nike lived a long and happy life, but my sister had to put her down not long ago. Our beloved dog lives in my mother’s curio cabinet, as they had her cremated so she could be with them no matter where they move.
Karalyn saw a couple of Nikes on this trip. This one. And the one in the museum at Olympia, which they wouldn’t let her pose with.
Nike was the goddess of Victory. But our Nike was the victorious one, making us fall in love with her after so many bad experiences. She is truly missed.
Today’s lesson: It can sometimes take traveling halfway around the world to finally come full circle and close the doors on your grief.