Izmir Travel Blog› entry 2 of 19 › view all entries
We took an eight hour bus ride from Ankara to Izmir. I have never been on a bus that long in my life! But it is, from what I gathered, the most common form of transportation between cities wthin Turkey. Cars are very expensive to own and the cost of fuel would be more then the purchase of two bus tickets. It was a nice way to see the Turkish country side. Dry almost treeless mountains with small villages and farms nestled in between. We stopped once at a rest stop. It was my first experience using a Public bathroom in Turkey. Apparently one must pay to enter, but unaware of the local norm I just walked in.
The main purpose of our trip to Izmir was for me to meet Sem's family, see his home town and visit Ephesus.
I really nervous about meeting the family! I didn't speak more then a few words of the language and really wanted them to like me. But as soon as we arrived at his brother's apartment all worries disappeared and I was met with a flood of warm smiles and happy eyes! His mother and sister-in-law had prepared a FULL turkish style vegan dinner for me.
I observed how differently his family ate then mine or like most of the people back home. If someone didn't want the rest of something such as piece of bread or cucumber slices they would put it on someone elses plate at the table and instead of serving all the food onto individual plates they often ate from the center dishes or from someone else's plate. It was taking the concept of sharing a meal with the family to a new level for me.
After a good night sleep we got up early in the morning and set off to explore the streets and scenes of Izmir!
We along the Port of Izmir, stopping randomly to enjoy the scene.
From there we headed toward the winding streets of an old nearby outdoor market. I tried an interesting type of fruit that looked like a raspberry with a spiky shell. I remember it having a grainy texture and was sweet but not too sweet, but I will have to try it again to confirm :P. The market streets were bustling and so easy to get lost in. The shops were small in size with products spilling out onto the street. People were making bargains with vendors, calling for customers and carrying on conversations with friends.
After walking the Market we ventured to Agora of Smyrna, an open air museum of an ancient market that dates back to the Hellenistic era. It is located in the center of Izmir. I'm unsure to the exact cost of entry (trying to look for my ticket stub :P). I am thinking it was between 3 and 8 Turkish Lira. Definately worth the small fee. The area available for tourists to explore was small but filled with coloums and cut stone from ancient times. You can walk through rows of unearthed stone objects discovered in the area. we were able to go to a lower level, but much of the lower level was blocked for, I assume, safety reasons.
At the end of the day we enjoyed a short ferry ride across the Port. Many local kids brought bread with them to throw to the hungry seagulls chasing the ferry for a meal. They were very talented at catching their food in midair!!