Turkey
Akdeniz

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    • Day 31

      Annual Reunion

      October 3, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 73 °F

      One of the annual get togethers Mui and I look forward to is dinner with his cousin Esin, and her husband, Cenap.

      We seem to always end up at Sakız, a restaurant on the waterfront near the Pasaport ferry landing, and always have a good time. Tonight was no exception.

      A few mezes (Turkish tapas) to share + a bottle of white wine for the ladies and a bottle of rakı for the gentlemen + lots of conversation and laughter = a festive reunion.
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    • Day 3

      3. Day Izmir III

      August 9, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 35 °C

      To regain our strength, we ate at Bizim Lokanta. I can recommend it to anyone who likes traditional Turkish cuisine. Afterwards we went to another Izmir landmark called Asansör. From there we had an incredible view of Izmir.Read more

    • Day 15

      Dinner with School Friends

      September 17, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 77 °F

      When I went to the Ahmet Adnan Saygun Sanat Merkezi with my siblings earlier this week, I ran into Yeşim, a friend and classmate from grade school. Pure luck. I had last seen her in 2017 … another chance encounter.

      When she mentioned that a friend/classmate from school, Şahika, would be in town for a night before returning home to Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, Massimo, and a friend, we immediately planned a reunion dinner at Sakız Restoran.

      A delightful reunion … many reminiscences … lots of catching up … delicious food … good wine. A night to remember. Hopefully, next time we have a chance to meet up again, they will get to meet Mui.
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    • Day 10

      Izmir, Turkey

      June 13, 2018 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      The short crossing from Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece to Ayvalik, Turkey took only 1.5 hours and it was a beautiful warm sunny early evening for the sailing. On arrival at Passport Control in Turkey however I was advised I had to pay 25 Euros for a Visa. ‘Now you can be in Turkey for 3 months’ an Immigration Official told me, even although I had already told him I would only be here for 3 days. ‘Yes, that’s correct, 3 months’ he insisted.

      I was a bit panicky that with the later crossing, it might be hard to get to my next destination, Izmir, by public transport, and I knew there was no rail connection. I caught a local bus to the bus station just in time to catch the 20.15 express coach to Izmir. This turned out to be quite the luxury coach with reclining seats, airline-style at-seat video screens, and complimentary refreshments on the 2.5 hour trip. And all this for the princely sum of £4.90. It was just like the Megabus Gold to Aberdeen (minus the tablet). Izmir is a huge city of 3 million inhabitants, and the Coach Station was somewhere on the outskirts. I was about to take a taxi but the helpful transport officer told me there was a free connection to the old town, some distance away, and I was even dropped off right at my hotel.

      Given the excellent value in Turkey, I had decided to splash out on the 5 star Renaissance Hotel Izmir. It is one of the best hotels I have stayed in. My room was almost a suite with separate bathroom and shower rooms - a far cry from my cell at the Clink in London. I chilled out with a glass of Merlot on the rooftop bar surrounded by the lights of the city. The breakfast was terrific, 2nd only to the Intercontinental Hotel in Singapore (courtesy of Mr Super Kenny tours!).

      In spite of my late night, I got up early to explore some of the sights of the old city, all within walking distance of the hotel. The impressive Smyrna Agora from Roman times; the old Bazaar selling everything from fruit, veg, fish and meat (including pigs trotters - sorry, Betty) to costumes which would look great in Aladdin; and the elegant Clock Tower, emblem of the city.

      Back at the hotel, there was time for a rejuvenating swim in the pool before heading off, all to soon, to catch the train to Bandirma port. Izmir surprised and is well worth a visit.
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    • Day 9

      Ancient hospital ruins in Bergema

      May 28 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

      Beautiful road trip today down the west coast of türkiye where we can see the greek islands off the coast. the landscape is like a patchwork of green agriculture (figs, fruit, vegetables) but mostly olive trees (bear olives for olive oil 7 years after planting and live for 2 thousand years) - they are everywhere and the olive oil is delicious!
      We drove to the ruins of the Asklepion medical centre or healing place in Bergema, it is one of the most important centres of healing of the Roman world. To keep its reputation of successful healing high it did not accept people who were near death and only admitted people who were rich. It was amazing to see the treatment rooms, mental health ward which used music, dance, dream interpretation, herbs and mythology to treat ‘ill health of the head’. We learned about the first recorded use of placebo in treatment. The healing place had a library, isolation rooms, ampitheatre, cubicles, prayer rooms, healing water, portico and ruins still show the layout. We could have stayed there all day, built in 302 bc and which honoured Asclepius the first doctor-demigod in Greek mythology.
      We ate the most delicious lunch at a local cafe which was DELICIOUS and then travelled onto Izmir, a busy fishing city on the coast side which gave us a magnificent sunset. Ended our day with another walk water side, thankful for our experiences in beautiful Türkiye
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    • Day 5

      Pergamon and Izmir

      October 14, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

      Day 5 Started the day with the Trash Ladies which is a cooperative which employs women to use trash for art. Bought two pillow covers which have chickens on them. Then visited Pergamon and saw the ancient Asklepios temple which was where one of the first medical centers was in ancient times. Wonderful lunch with a singing owner. We stayed in Izmir, a city of 5 million. Blew us away at what a wonderful modern city this was right on the Aegean Sea.Read more

    • A short walk and dinner back at hotel

      October 21, 2019 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

      Got back from our day excursion around 4:30. Decided to stroll along the water ( a block from the hotel). Beautiful out- fun to watch all the dogs playing with each other. Cats and dogs are everywhere and are cared for by the public.

      After our walk, we stagger down to dinner, hardly feeling hungry after our massive lunch. Had hors d’ouevres , followed up be grilled sea bass and some tasty small desserts
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    • Day 44

      Cousins' Dinner @ Sakız Restoran

      May 1, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      When we changed our travel plans and moved our annual family visit from fall 2022 to spring, Mui's sister (Işıl) had already made plans to come to İzmir with her son, Kerim, and his family for the post-Ramadan holiday that we call Şeker Bayramı (known as Eid al-Fitr by Muslims around the world). So, on Friday, Mui and I moved to my mom's place to make room for them at Işıl's condo, where we usually stay during our visits to Turkey.

      Işıl et al arrived this afternoon and after resting for a bit they joined us for dinner at Sakız Restoran on the waterfront. This was an opportunity for us to get together with Esin, one of their cousins, and her husband, Cenap.

      This dinner has become a tradition in recent years. If they are in town, their other cousins often join in as well. But this year, one of them is in southern Turkey and the other came down with COVID-19 a few days ago, so it was just us this time.

      As is always the case, the food was excellent ... the conversation boisterous and non-stop. A lovely evening was had by all.
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    • Day 51

      Happy Mom’s Day

      May 8, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

      We went to Sakız Restoran for a late lunch today … to celebrate Mother’s Day … and to enjoy a farewell dinner with the family since we leave tomorrow to return to the USA.

      As is always the case, the food was delicious … the service was excellent. For once, instead of filling our tummies with mezes (Turkish tapas) only, we ordered just enough small plates to share so that we could enjoy grilled sea bass as well.

      Now, our bags are packed … just one still open for last minute items. The cab has been ordered for 6:30a tomorrow morning. The alarm is set for o’dark hundred.

      And, oh yes, we took the COVID-19 test that is required to re-enter the USA. Since most of the labs are closed because it is Sunday, we used the proctored eMed antigen test kits from the comfort of the condo. We’re NEGATIVE!
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