Note: This is a special feature post from Mark and Dale from Meet Me OnBoard, the largest gay cruise community online. Azamara is a proud partner with Meet Me OnBoard.
Imagine: a warm, Mediterranean evening. You and your husband sit holding hands within a centuries-old outdoor theatre, listening to the strains of classical music as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon.
This magical experience wasn’t a dream, but one of Azamara’s trademark AzAmazing Evenings. On our recent Azamara cruise, Dale and I were privileged to attend a classical music concert among the ruins of Ephesus. The event was exclusive only to passengers, giving our group the ancient Odeon concert hall all to ourselves.
The stone amphitheater ruin faces the main street of the city. Prior to the concert, we sipped local wine served graciously on tables on the ancient stone-paved street, flanked by a double row of columns. We easily imagined Antony and Cleopatra walking these very stones during their ceremonial entrance into Ephesus. Ancient sources say that jugs of red wine were poured into the river in tribute to the pair.
We had time for some wonderful photos of the entrance to the ruins, and were dumbstruck by the scale of the construction, which gave us some insight into what a stunning city this must once have been. We vowed that we’d come back to Ephesus and explore these remarkable ruins to one of the ancient world’s great cities.
The Camerata Izmir String Orchestra from the city of Izmir (about a one hour flight away) played a concert of classical music including Bach and Brahms, amplified by the marvelous acoustics of the Odeon. As dusk approached, we observed a flock of sheep on the hillside opposite the theatre. We could faintly hear bells ringing on the animals’ necks as they ran for their evening meal. We wondered how many shepherds through the centuries had fed their sheep on the same land. As we left this historic venue, hundreds of candles on the ground lit the pathway leading out of the ruins, and we reluctantly left an enchanted experience but will always hold onto the memories.
As longtime cruise travelers, we were suitably impressed by Azamara’s skill with managing logistics. They bussed over 500 passengers of different ability levels the thirty-minute drive to Ephesus from the port and back again without a hitch, a glitch or a tiresome period of waiting. Ship’s staff assisted and greeted us at every turn, enabling us to devote ourselves to enjoying the music, the wine and the ambience of the place.
Inspired by Mark's experience? <a href="/cruises" "="" target="_blank">This October 11, 2015 voyage on the Azamara Journey features this very AzAmazing Evening complimentary event. Or, view Azamara's <a href="/cruises" "="" target="_blank">upcoming voyages to Kusadasi and Ephesus, Turkey.