Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last day in Izmir, and therefore, Turkey

Another very hot day, and when we woke up we could see our cruise ship, the Costa Atlantica, cruising up to the dock, just like she had a couple of Monday ago when we were disembarking.

She was a mighty fine sight, and a huge cruise ship.

A leisurely breakfast again in the executive lounge, honeycomb and clotted cream on a Turkish pastry was delicious.

We then did a city tour on the hop on/hop off bus. It was very hot, but we were up the back in the open, so got all the breeze there was.

A first of all the ho-ho buses we have used, this one gave us free water.

Here we are, a self portrait in the breeze.

A walk around the bazaar, meeting lots more nice Turks trying to help us buy something or other, and something we had never seen before, plus size mannequins modeling the clothes.

A quick Lunch at the Hilton lounge, pack up, check out, check our cases to be minded, and another little walk around the streets.

Checked out the church of St. Polycarp, unfortunately it was closed for renovations.

St. Polycarp was the first bishop of Smyrna (Izmir) and was martyred around 150AD, aged 86 years.
When asked to deny Christ, Polycarp replied with.....

“Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong,” said Polycarp. “How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

This church is the oldest in Izmir, dating from mid 1600.

The last couple of hours in Turkey we spent in the lounge, enjoying a cold drink, and culling the photos in the camera.

A taxi ride to the airport, and farewell Turkey, we love you and would love to come again sometime.

Posted from Hong Kong airport ....thanks for the free wifi.

Location:Cheong Tat Rd,,Hong Kong

Monday, July 30, 2012

Farewell to Duvutlar and hello Izmir

Today we had an early start to drive to Izmir airport, drop off the hire car and say a sad farewell to our family ...with a date for next year, they headed back to the Netherlands, and we grabbed a taxi to bring us to the Hilton Hotel in Izmir.

This time we upgraded ourselves to an executive room on the 26th floor of the tallest building on the Agean Coast.

How nice is this? And there is use of the executive lounge to go with it...all day tea, coffee,juice, fruit, along with local and international magazines, newspapers; computers and DVD's. From 6pm till 8.30, they serve complimentary local and imported beverages with a snack buffet of desserts and cakes.

This is part of our room window view, overlooking the town and the sea.

This is one view from the executive lounge. Never in my life have I seen so many hills covered by so many dwellings.

We went for a walk through Izmir, incorporating a couple of ferry rides, and a horse and cart ride back to our hotel.

At six, we went for the complimentary drinks and buffet in the executive lounge. I tell you, we could get used to this very easily :)

All very nice, and finished off with a beautiful sunset, and a magnificent view over Izmir from our room.

Goodnight !

Posted from room 2608, Izmir Hilton.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Swimming with the Dolphins

This afternoon we headed off to Adaland Dolphin Park for the express purpose of Lily and myself swimming with the dolphins. JJ decided to join us as we paid for our tickets.

After watching a wonderful dolphin show, we sat around waiting for an hour and a half  for our appointed time for swimming of 4.15.

After donning safety vests, and having the procedures explained to us, we were sat on the edge of the stage. and one by one, had our turns at riding the dolphins, greeting the dolphins, kissing the dolphins, and much touching as they swam past us.

JJ just wanted to feed and touch a dolphin, so he was able to be accommodated for this..

JJ was thrilled to be able to feed the dolphins, apparently only the trainers are allowed to do this.

A wonderful experience, a once in a life time chance to be in the water with these magnificent, powerful animals, thoroughly enjoyed by us all, even the spectators with their cameras.

posted from Duvutlar, Turkey

Friday, July 27, 2012

Another day shopping and the last supper

Mark, Daniel, Liz and I enjoyed another days shopping in Kusadasi yesterday.

Some of the spoils.....

Turkish delight....

Two handbags, one purse and a wallet, none of which were mine....

Two lovely silk scarves, again, neither are mine.....

Three laser pointers , ditto, none are mine. I believe they are banned in Australia, some nutter was pointing them at pilots landing planes in Sydney sometime.

We had lunch in Kudadasi at the best kebab joint in the town, very nice!

Daniel amused us by having a haircut and a Turkish shave, complete with eyebrow and neck massage, and the burning of the ear hairs to remove them.

We met Eric, a 38 year old Turk/English man, who was so desperate to cut Mark's hair, he offered to pay him to do it!!! Mark steadfastly refused the offer and remained hairy.

Out to dinner to a lovely fish restaurant, overlooking the sea with Samos in the background as a backdrop to the sunset.

'Out time is getting short, and Mark has started packing already.

Posted from the patio.

Location:Arslanoğlu Sk,Davutlar,Turkey

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A day at Aqua Fantasy Aquapark

Loads of fun today, at Turkey's NUmber 1 Waterpark. It was not too busy, so there was hardly any waiting for the water slides. I ventured forth and enjoyed some slides with Liz, Lily and JJ.

Frank did as well, and we both liked the lazy river ride, you just floated around the man made river in an inflated ring.

These are some of the slides that Dan, Mark and Lily enjoyed, we were not into ones named things like "screamer"

A great day, we all enjoyed it immensely.

Posted from the patio.

Location:Arslanoğlu Sk,Davutlar,Turkey

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shopping at the clothes market

Today Frank and I took the dolmas to Kusadasi for the clothes market. The first two dolmas we tried to board, the driver told us ....no, wait for the direct bus, coming in five minutes. Of course, their English is not like ours, so we needed to interpret. The direct bus did come, and we reached the markets by about 9.15.

I love markets! My Dad was taking me to the Prahran market by the time I was about five, treating me to donuts from the donut van, and proudly introducing me to all the stall holders. I have happy memories of markets, and of course, spent many years traipsing to the Dandenong market.

The clothes market is exactly that, rows and rows of clothes, with the usual smallholders trying to sell you something. They call you Lady, Madame, or even Princess! I quite enjoy the game of bartering with them, they are all keen for a sale. Everything is crazily cheap compared to Australia anyway. We did purchase a few things, and then backtracked to a nice cafe we had seen to have our breakfast. A very typical Turkish breakfast, gözleme, and untypically, coffee instead of tea.

A very nice young Turkish man named Sinbad introduced himself to us for a chat, and when we left shook Frank's hand, and kissed mine. The Turks are all very friendly, and quite touchy as well. They are very interested in where we are from, where we are staying, do we own or rent, how do we like Turkey etc, etc.

If you have never tried a gözleme, you can grab one next time you go to the South Melbourne market.

This is the turkish equivalent of what we call a "two bob shop", except 1.5 TL is around 75cents. I enjoyed walking around it, in a different part of the clothes market, which seems to be more general household goods.

Walking back to pick up the dolmas again, we saw some chile hanging to dry.

Another BBQ for dinner, the cook is getting good at this, and of course, the Turkish beer, EFES, helps.

Posted from under the air conditioner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quiet day

A rest day at home yesterday, Liz and Lily learned to cross stitch, and while they made great progress on their bookmarks, I spent the day pulling out the mistakes I had made in my cross stitch.

They were very keen and able students.

Our day passed quickly, resting, stitching, reading and swimming. The boys cooked a BBQ for dinner, boneless lamb they managed to buy at the supermarket, köfte, and salad with the delicious pomegranate sour dressing on it. Baklava, of course, for dessert.

This morning we have woken up to the first overcast day, perhaps it may not be quite as hot.

Posted from the back patio.

Location:Arslanoğlu Sk,Davutlar,Turkey

A long day, but not to be missed

Setting off at 8.30 in the morning to Pumakkale, with a hot, but cloudy day forecast. We stopped for lunch on the way somewhere, where we enjoyed chicken sis kebabs, and veal köfte, at a very nice outdoor restaurant.

There was a conspiracy afoot, and Liz neglected to tell me that the only toilet was a squat type, so I have been baptized into the squat now.

When we reached Pumakkale a nice young man sold us a book, gave us free parking, and allowed us to use his toilets to change in. He explained the site to us, and off we set for more walking.

You are not allowed to walk on the travertines in shoes, so I wondered if I would make it to the top with my tender feet. However, the water flows over the travertines from top to bottom, and they are not rough to walk on. Amazingly, in the sun and with no water flowing over them, they are quite cold to the feet, not hot as you would expect.

It is the most amazing, astonishing place. The water in pools is warm, and the bottom of the pools ate covered in soft white calcium and limestone which you can rub over yourself, as Lily did.

People are bathing in the pools all the way to the top, and we joined in with gay abandon, even getting under the waterfalls.

The ancient city of Hieriapolis is at the top of the travertines, and a swim in the ancient thermal pool was in order for some.

It too, was warm, and tasted a little like mineral water.

Home at last by 8.40, what a wonderful day, and a very special place to visit!

Posted from the patio overlooking the pool.

Location:Arslanoğlu Sk,Davutlar,Turkey

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day at the beach

We set off for the Silver Sands beach this morning, it is well advertised as the best beach, with a restaurant, white sand and lots of water sports available.

After driving around for about 3/4 of an hour, unable to find it, we settled on another beach in front of a large hotel.

There were water sports available, so Daniel availed himself of a jet ski for a time. I think quarter of an hour actually.

Lots of young Turkish men selling simit on the beach, and only to happy to be photographed without asking for money in return.

Home for lunch and after a big siesta for most of us, we called the restaurant at Silver Sands, the owner came to out to our resort for us to follow him there, and we enjoyed a delicious meal, although the wait for the food was bordering on unbearable, about one hour and twenty minutes. Poor JJ was almost asleep by the time it arrived.

We some something none of us had ever seen before.....an English family sitting near us, just got up and walked out when their meal was delivered, leaving meals and drinks on the table. Needless to say, no money exchanged hands. Apparently the father had been very angry about the time it took for the meals to come. The proprietors were most perplexed, as the whole idea of the beach restaurant is a slow meal over several drinks. " you are on holiday, what's the rush?"

We enjoyed sunset and moonrise over the water.

Can you make out the new moon in this pic?

Posted from by the pool, with TRO in it having a swim at 10 pm.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pigeon Island

The Fortress of Kusadasi takes up the entire island floating off Kusadasi’s beach promenade. In fact, the name Kusadasi means ‘Pigeon Island,' the term give to the island in Ottoman times because of the migrating birds that roosted there.

The strategically located, fortified castle was built to protect the Ottoman
Empire’s valuable ocean-going trade, which was vulnerable to attack from pirates, including the infamous pirate Barbarossa. The fortress also defended the town from attack from the sea.

Poking above the trees crowning the island is the crenellated central tower of a 13th century Byzantine castle. The fairy-tale towers and battlements of fortified walls encircle the entire island, dipping down to meet the sea and running along the island’s hills.

Yesterday we explored this island, after enjoying morning tea on the waterfront....at least...some of us enjoyed. I have to say it was without a doubt the worst cappuccino I have ever had in my entire life. Mark makes a far superior one here in our villa.

They have strange flower bushes on this island....

And Lily is pushing the boundaries again....

When we returned home at lunchtime, we discovered the key had been left at home, and we were firmly locked out.

With a little help from the caretaker and a ladder, we were able to get in.

Dinner out again, at the restaurant next to the petting zoo, and a glimpse of a lovely sunset to finish off the night.

Posted from the back patio, where is cooler in the morning, and overlooks the second pool

Location:Arslanoğlu Sk,Davutlar,Turkey