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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 3

      Got Where We Were Going

      September 5, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☁️ 73 °F

      Two days of travel from the USA to Türkiye via Canada ended this evening when we arrived at the apartment we use as our home base in İzmir.

      We took off from IST in the rain … and wind. Not sure that either was the reason for the 30-minute delay, however. It seemed like garden variety rain to me … but who knows what the radar may have been showing.

      The droplets that obscured our vision as we rolled down the tarmac could not withstand the take-off speed of the aircraft. Thus we got a clear view of the coast as the plane climbed up to altitude. Through cloud banks we went … to be greeted by puffy clouds and blue skies once the aircraft leveled off.

      A 45-minute flight … and we still got a full blown meal. I abstained, but Mui accepted the tray … laden with all kinds of goodies, including a salad topped with beef brochettes and grilled tuna as the main course. Oh, and a tres leches cake for dessert. Of course, the cockpit announced that we were beginning the descent into ADB almost at the same moment that the tray was set in front of Mui. No leisurely meal this one.

      A beautiful sunset accompanied our landing at ADB … the tarmac damp from recent rains, but the sky otherwise clear and dry.

      Another 30 minutes to walk to baggage claim and grab our bags. And then we were in a cab, rolling towards Alsancak … the neighborhood where the apartment is located … and where my family lives.

      After dropping off the bags and refreshing ourselves, we walked the 10 minutes it takes to get to the condo building where my mom and my sister & brother-in-law live. A happy reunion ensued … with the bonus of having my brother there as well.

      Now to get a good night’s rest. I think we deserve it after a trip that was nearly 5,500 air miles long.
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    • Day 20

      Türkiye: 2 Weeks in Summary

      October 17, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      Here I am with the summary footprint I promised for our two weeks in Turkey.

      Honestly, I didn’t do much of anything. From the get go, this trip was intended simply as “family time” … to add on to the brief visit we made to Turkey in the spring. Our goal was to enjoy time with our families and leave the exploring to another time.

      With my family all living in İzmir, it was easy for me to spend time with them. Mui had to go further afield for his family time … to Eskişehir … a province in Central Turkey. The dates for his trip were specifically selected so that he could join school buddies for a dinner reunion that he found out had been planned in Ankara … a short train ride from Eskişehir. The bonus of that little segue … his nephew, who lives in Samsun, a province in the Black Sea Region, drove down for a day while Mui was in Ankara. Thus, with a quick 4-day jaunt, Mui managed to kill several birds with one stone … so to speak.

      As is always the case when we’re in Turkey, there was a lot of food involved in our family get togethers. Breakfast … brunch … lunch … afternoon tea … dinner. Sometimes at home. Sometimes at a favorite eatery. Sometimes in the city. Sometimes in nearby districts. We even managed to squeeze in a dinner that has become a tradition with Mui’s cousin and her husband.

      I know, I know. This summary does not do justice to the delightful time we spent with family and friends during this whirlwind trip. But … at least I got a snippet posted. Hopefully, the included photos will make up for the dearth of words and you can see from our smiles what a great time we had.
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    • Day 5

      Free Transportation

      September 7, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

      Par for the course, since arriving in İzmir Tuesday evening we have been spending most of our time with family ... at my mom's condo. When we are not there, we are settling into our home base a few blocks away and running errands all over the city.

      One of those errands took us downtown this morning to pick up an "İzmirim Card." This is a contactless smart card that can be used to pay fares for all means of public transport in the city, including buses, trams, metro, and ferries.

      I've had one of these cards for years. What made the one we picked up today special is that because I have reached that "magic age," I no longer have to pay to ride public transportation in İzmir. No need to top off the card or worry about whether there's enough money for a ride anymore. Just tap and go. 😁
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    • Day 6

      Day 93/94: Food Poisoning from Hell

      April 13 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 81 °F

      We try to stay honest with everyone when it comes to travel because it’s not always “beautiful” and “amazing”.

      Since Tunisia, we had been planning to visit a Hamam, which is a traditional public bathhouse in the Muslim world (similar to Korean/Japanese spas which are fully naked). We decided Turkey was the best location and wanted to pay for a nicer experience (sauna, steam room, wash, scrub, massage). As we ran to our hamam we grabbed some sandwiches. The experience was nice even though Mary got roasted for having shoulder, back, and leg issues.

      However, while walking back it went downhill very quickly. It started with fever and then the sweats appeared. Within an hour both of us were puking. Kieran tried to order food but neither of us could eat. The whole night was aches, pains, voms, and groans. It could have been the sandwiches or the tap water Kieran said was safe.

      Worse part is we had a 5 hour train the next day at 7am. The alarm sounded at 6am and we both got our shit together (mentally, physically, and digestively) and made that train. It was a miserable ride but we made it to Pamukkale and proceeded to sleep 5 hours. Woke up for a nice dinner (Kieran couldn’t finish) and went back home to recover for the next day. Pictures of our most miserable days this far.
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    • Day 45

      Lunch @ Basta La Pasta

      October 17, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

      With Deniz leaving Türkiye tomorrow, the three siblings and Mui took mom to an Italian café for lunch.

      Basta la Pasta is small — maybe 6 or 7 tables. The menu is simple — a variety of fettuccine dishes and two or three other pastas, including lasagna.

      Delicious … and we all enjoyed the preparation of fettuccine in the Parmesan wheel.
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    • Day 2

      2. Day Izmir VIII

      August 8, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 30 °C

      Afterwards, we were finished, but we really wanted to see the Artemis Temple, which was one of the 7 wonders of the world in ancient times. Unfortunately, only one column of the temple still stands, which was quite disappointing. Somehow, we were relieved because we were finally going home. Selcuk has to be mentioned again, it is a beautiful little town with trees growing everywhere. We saw everything from oranges, lemons and pomegranates to grapes, and all this in the middle of the town on the main roads.

      When we arrived back in Alsancak/Izmir, we decided to eat on the promenade in a restaurant called Magro. The ambience was nice, the view of the sea excellent, the staff nice and the soup and salad were well done. Unfortunately, the steak and manti were not good. It's complaining at a high level, but in Turkey you can eat much better for less money. Our recommendation is to have a drink and a light meal there. Otherwise go somewhere else ;)
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    • Day 39

      Gevrek @ Zeynel Ergin Fırını

      October 11, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

      Gevrek being sesame encrusted bread rings …

      Today started out with breakfast @ Zeynel Ergin, which bills itself as İzmir’s first gevrek fırını [bakery]. Established in the 1800s by a Greek family, the 140-year-old bakery offers more than just gevrek these days. The place is always crowded … there is always a line. We must have timed it just right this morning as the queue waiting for just-out-of-the oven goodies was short … though all the tables on the sidewalk and side street were occupied.

      Murat got in line to pick up gevrek and kumru; Deniz went to get some börek; Mui went to the counter to pick up butter, cheese, honey, jam, a tomato and cucumber salad, and cups of Turkish tea; Aylin and I went to find a table. Yes, this is a self-serve eatery and we’ve got the whole process down pat.

      We managed to find a table on the upper level of the annex and enjoyed our breakfast.
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    • Day 18

      Across the İzmir Körfezi We Went …

      September 20, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

      … for dinner tonight … hosted by Aylin and Murat’s son (my nephew), Hakan, and his wife, Serenay.

      Since Murat’s car could not accommodate all six of us, Mui and I took the ferry to get across the körfez [bay]. Deniz joined us for the 15-minute ride from the ferry landing in Pasaport to the landing in Bostanlı. The adult fare is ₺13 (just under .50 cents at the current exchange rate) … for those of us who have reached the “magic age,” however, it is free 😊

      A short 5-minute walk from the Bostanlı ferry landing found us at the apartment that Hakan and Serenay moved into this summer. By 7:00p, we were sitting around the table … partaking of the delicious mezes set out on the table … toasting everyone’s good health with rakı (Turkish ouzo, if you will) and wine. The wrap up was yummy brownies that Serenay had baked for the occasion … sorry, neglected to get a photo of it.

      The ferry schedule is such that on the return from Bostanlı, we took a boat to the Alsancak ferry landing instead of Pasaport … a ~15-minute walk from our place. It was good to stretch our legs and burn off some of the calories ingested at dinner 😉
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    İzmir, Izmir, إزمير, Измир, Σμύρνη, Izmiro, Esmirna, איזמיר, IZM, Smirne, イズミル, იზმირი, Izmiras, Izmira, TRIZM, 伊兹密尔

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