I took advantage of staying at Mike and Sarah’s and slept as much as possible. So after a full day of wine tasting, I went to bed and slept in the following day before waking up to pack and see Izmir. Before bed, there were some rallies/protests/celebrations (we aren’t quite sure what it was) outside their apartment, so we were all on the balcony watching and sending snapchats. They live right by a square which is one of the few places people can protest, so it seems like this happens a lot. It’s never violent, though, and it was cool to see how proud people are of their beliefs.
We got a rather late start the following day, but thankfully there is not much to see in Izmir (I mean that in a good way, I promise!).
There is a restaurant on the same street that Mike and Sarah live on that serves traditional Turkish lunch, which is essentially pita and meat. That was our first stop, where we made a plan for the rest of the day.
Afterwards, Mike had to run a few errands which we tagged along for before taking a walk along the Kordon (the water). It was refreshing to catch the harbor breeze after so many days in the still heat.
Our first tourist attraction was Asansor, which is essentially an elevator that takes you from one street to a higher street. The story is actually pretty cool because it was built to make it easier for women, children, and elderly to get up to the high point without facing the walk up hill and the altitude differences. The view you get at the top is if the entire city, and across the harbor as well. We sat up there for coffee before moving on.
[Mike in his element]
We then went to the clock tower, which is the major tourist attraction in Izmir. It was much smaller than I expected, but in a nice little square that had a ton of people. There was also a really cute mosque in the same square – it is tiny (only one octagonal room) and the coloring is beautiful.
Around the corner from the clock tower is Kemeralta, the bazaar in Izmir. It was much different than the Grand Bazaar – fewer souvenirs and more practical items (clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc.). It was probably more crowded than the Grand Bazaar when considering it relative to size, though, and we struggled to maneuver our way through all of the people. Mike and Sarah picked up 5 kg of chicken (because why not) and I grabbed some tea to accompany my new tea set.
We stopped back at the apartment to drop everything off and then moved on to the most important stop of the day: ice cream. I was going to be that girl who took a picture of her ice cream, but I became the girl who devoured the entire cone before remembering to do so. When we were walking back from our ice cream stop, we picked up midge dolma, which are sold on the street everywhere in Turkey. They are basically mussels stuffed with rice and a bit of lemon juice added on. And they are delicious. We went from one each to three each in a matter of 30 seconds. I was worried I wouldn’t get the chance to try them since we were cutting it close wth time but I’m so happy we not only got to try them but also found really good ones!
With an hour left to kill, we went for one final hookah/tea break before heading to the airport. I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and, naturally, decided to spend that time shopping. Since I didn’t get the chance to pick up coasters from the markets, I bought a set at duty free. And a hot plate! Slowly stocking up on things for the house…
[All of the souvenirs…I think I went a bit crazy this trip!]