Holiday 2012: Day 8 – Izmir, Turkey

June 7th, 2012 by Francis Yates Leave a reply »

Welcome to Izmir, Turkey!

This morning, very early again, we arrived in Izmir, Turkey. Just like yesterday, I really had no idea what to expect from Turkey. We had no real plans for today, but this time we had done our research (unlike yesterday!) and knew we could catch the hop-on hop-off busses directly from the port. After breakfast we made our way down to the hop-on hop-off bus and started our exploring of Izmir.

Izmir is the 3rd most populous city in Turkey, and the nickname for the city is Pearl of the Aegean (Dubrovnik was Pearl of the Adriatic). The city itself has been severely damaged multiple times, but mostly due to natural causes, such as earthquakes and fires, the last of the big fires being in 1922, being the greatest disaster that Izmir has ever experienced, and demolishing almost the entire city. The Greeks and the Turks have had many a war of this city, with the Turks eventually claiming victory.

Izmir – City View

Our first stop was the market areas, and wow, they have a ton of Bazaar’s here. It’s very easy to get lost once inside the bazaars, as you just walk and start following the streets, and end up deeper and deeper inside. The bazaars are still used today by the local residents to get their fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish (eww.. smelly!) from the markets, and are incredibly busy and large.

Izmir – Markets, Fresh Fruit and Veg

Izmir – Markets, Fresh Fruit and Veg

Izmir – Clothing in the Market

Izmir – City cats waiting for breakfast scraps!

We decided to follow the “City Walks GPS App” on the iPhone which is supposed to take you to famous sightseeing spots in the area, we selected “Ali Baba’s Hand Made carpet warehouse”, and this silly thing made us walk about 1.5km from our current location. Now while I don’t have an issue with walking, this little application took us through the residential area of Izmir, and not the fancy area either! Oh and did I mention it was all uphill with about 400 steps involved and 32 degrees outside? Once we eventually got to where the GPS told us to, we couldn’t locate Ali Baba’s, and instead found ourselves in the middle of a residential area.. With a good view! Street naming is not very imaginative.. with street names running into the thousands of numbers (see below)

Izmir – Imaginative Street Numbers

After making our way back to the markets and hoping back onto the bus, we made our way around the city, with a lot of walking in between, I think my feet have called for a mutiny today after the amount of walking; it was a long day of walking! Izmir must have the most restaurants that I have ever seen in a single place, with just blocks and blocks covered in restaurants, there is no way you could go hungry here! To find Turkish delight to bring back however, was a mission of note!

Izmir –  Sea-side walk way

Tomorrow is our next sea day, as we slowly sail back to Italy, with our first Italian port stop on Saturday, in Messina. Tonight we are doing what is called “The Chefs Table” for dinner, which is our birthday treat to ourselves (thanks for all the birthday wishes!) and I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow, hopefully with some pictures!

Until then, Ciao!

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