|May 3rd –
Arrived at Smyrna, went ashore, walked through the city. It is a very pretty
place. It really appeared as if we were getting back to civilization. The
houses and doorways there reminded us more of home than any we had seen
since leaving America. The first place of interest which we visited was
the Citadel. This we accomplished on donkeys. From the wall of the fortress
we had a beautiful view of the Harbor and the city with its extinguished
minarets and cypress trees which are in the cemeteries. It is the custom
with the Turks to plant a tree of this kind at the birth and death of members
of their family. The Grecian women at Smyrna wear their hair put up in braids
wound around their heads.
May 4th – Took seats in the cars early this morning for Ephesus. We arrived after a tiresome ride of six hours. We saw the little theater and a short distance farther the large theatre which Paul was not permitted to enter at the time of the tumult raised by the Ephesians, whom the town clerk dismissed. We saw the ruins of the house of the Silversmith Demetrius. Returning from these ruins we passed by an old aqueduct upon the pillars of which were the nests of storks with some of these birds standing sentinel like near them. We took a row on the beautiful Bay of Smyrna – saw the sunset and as we returned the young gentlemen entertained us with familiar songs.
Leaving Smyrna we arrived at the Island of Chios, the reputed Birthplace of Homer. The next morning we were at Syra, a most curiously constructed town. The central portion of it rises abruptly, being built upon a conical hill. The houses are constructed almost entirely of marble.
We left Syra on the Austrian steamer and were in Athens the next morning. Here, after a visit from the American Consul, we arrived at Athens the 7th of March. Took a carriage and drove to the University where we were conducted into a large lecture room where some beautiful paintings, one by Corregio. We then went into the museum of the University, where we saw some cases of beautiful birds; also a large collection of minerals and shells. Two mummies and some specimens of serpents etc. preserved in alcohol.
From there we went to King George’s palace, where we were conducted through some of the principal rooms, the throne room, the reception room and the ball room, the latter is said to be the finest in Europe. The gardens are very pretty, everything quite tastefully arranged. From here we drove to the stadium; then to the temple of Jupiter. Olympus, the only remains now being fifteen columns made of Parian marble. There were sixteen, one having fallen. This we saw lying just as it fell. From here, we walked to the Arch of Hadrian, which is close by. There were inscriptions on either side of it above the center of the arch describing it as dividing Athens. The City of Thesous from the city of Hadrian. On our way here we passed by the Monument of Lysierates familiarly called the Lantern of Demosthenes.
We visited the theater of Bacchus. It is an immense amphitheater, containing many tiers of seats. The lower ones were marble chairs which we found very comfortable. The upper or 2nd tier is cut out of the solid rock. They have recently been excavated. The stage in front was supported by bas-relief of men and women. There was room for 20000 spectators. At the top of this theater is a grotto now used as a Greek temple. From here we had a fine view, and could also get a good idea of the form of the amphitheater.
We then went to the Ode ____, which was built by Herod Atticus in honor of his deceased with Regilla.