Thursday, 30 August 2012

We're Off To Izmir!




We've started a little tidy up recently on the blog, tying up loose ends of past travels. We kicked off with the Southern Aegean coast, rounding off trips to İçmeler and Turgutreis on the Bodrum Peninsula and we'll continue with this theme over the coming weeks. 

There are a few reasons for doing this - the main reason will become apparent over the coming months. Another reason is, reorganisation of the photo archives has revealed a stack of travel photos that really ought to be on here rather than hiding in the depths of old folders on the laptop. What use are they there where no one can see them?

Rome Street Scene, Italy
A street in Rome - Italy was worth the effort! 
And then there's a third reason. We thought our 2012 travels were wiped out after our little hop over to Italy back in April of this year, but, just as we had an unexpected highlight of a trip to Yazıköy and Knidos on the Datça Peninsula at the end of last year, this year has brought another unexpected travel bonus in the form of a trip to Izmir. More on that bonus in another post, but for now, why Izmir?
Datça Peninsula
The Datça Peninsula was lonely, wild and beautiful
Well, why not? There's a huge country out there and we have seen but a tiny fraction of it. When we first came here - remember, we came to Turkey to travel for 6 months - we set off at pace, bagging the big 'must sees' first. And then it was the turn of Izmir (we were just curious). We went to Fethiye otogar, bought bus tickets to Izmir for a few days later...and in those few short days in between, we bought and moved into our house - all on a whim. And, needless to say, Izmir was cancelled. No, not cancelled. Postponed. Because now, nine years later, we're going to put that right...

Because we're still curious! In Fethiye, some yabancı (those mortals of non-Turkish origin) we've spoken to aren't really fans of Izmir, per se. "It's got an Ikea. Shopping's okay but it's not that nice. It's just a city." But then we sit at Deep Blue Bar and speak to Turkish friends about Izmir and they go all dreamy-eyed on us. "Oh Izmir is a special city. People have time for you. You'll love it. If you go, you must see..." 


Our Fethiye friends are big fans of Izmir and, armed with many a scribbled map and tip on post-it notes (drawn by these very same friends), we're off to Izmir to see for ourselves. We'll keep you posted...


14 comments:

Alsancak is very European. Unfortunately I associate Izmir with Doctors and Dentists as this was where we had to go for treatment before we got clinics and hospitals in Bodrum.

@ BacktoBodrum: Aww, poor you. Izmir was a long way to go for medical treatment. How times change, eh? We're actually staying in Alsancak and to be honest, we've been told that much about the city now, we feel like we've seen it, already. :)

We like Izmir though we prefer to go when it's not too hot (due to pollution associated with any city that size). Mostly, these days, we go because we have to for one reason or another, but both the old agora and the modern market are amazing. And we like visiting the Fuar, even when there is nothing on.
And, of course, there is Ikea...

I think you'll like it. It's not the prettiest of cities, to be sure but it has a young cafe society feel to it and Alsancak has a Soho vibe.

You should;

- Take a stroll on Kordon (alsancak) at night

- Take the ferry ride across to Karşıyaka

- Eat mussels (optional!)

- Eat "Kaymaklı Ekmek Kadayıfı" at Özsüt (definite must!)

- Walk the "Karşıyaka Çarşısı" all the way to "Zübeyde Hanım Parkı" (Place where Ataturk's mother is buried)

- Eat Kumru sandwich

- Drink pickle juice

- Ride on İzban (subway)

- Visit Forum Bornova (IKEA + shopping)

- Visit konak square and see the clock tower

- Visit the historical elevator (Asansör)

- Visit Agora at Balçova (extensive shopping)

- Visit Bostanlı and see the (insane) leaning apartments

- Visit Konak Pier

- Visit Pasaport

Serkan

@ Omentide: Thanks for the tips. Never heard of the Fuar? Will look it up when we get there. Hopefully, if we stay by the sea most of the time, the pollution shouldn't be too bad...We'll escape to Çeşme. :) Banned from Ikea. Barry doesn't do shopping of that type. ;)

@ Jack Scott: I reckon we're going to like it, too. We're staying in Alsancak so it could be a bit noisy but who cares. :)

@ Anonymous: Wow, thanks for all those Izmir tips. We've got a lot of those written down already but there are definitely some new ones on there for us to try, too. :)

I've actually heard about Izmir in positive terms, looking forward to your impressions and pictures!

Have a great trip to Izmir. A few things are certain, there will be good food, and great relaxation!

@ Angela: Well, glad you've heard about Izmir in positive terms because we've not been here 24 hours yet and we're already loving it. Got far too many photos for the time we've been here, too.

@ Mark Wiens: Thanks. Oh yes, lots of lovely food has been had, already!! We're looking forward to trying a sandwich special to this area, Çeşme Kumrusu. we're sure there'll be a post on it here, soon. ;)

The infidel city of İzmir.. Gavur İzmir in Turkish. If I'm not wrong, the beer in Asansör is not Efes, but even Tuborg tastes amazing with the view. Do not forget KIzlarağası Hanı near Kemeraltı. Enjoy your trip!xx

@ Fatoş Mert: Aww, thanks for the comment and we're having a fab time in İzmir! Finally found Kızlarağası this afternoon after a bit of a search... :)

Izmir is somewhere I've been - and yet not been. Seems to be a place one always lands in or passes through. Would be interesting to have a closer look.

@ Sophie: Well that's exactly the reason we chose to come to Izmir. We've 'been' been here so many times but only as the bus pulls into the otogar en route to elsewhere. It seemed a shame to keep neglecting the city. Glad we came now, too. :)

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