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September 25th 2008
Published: September 27th 2008
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The trip from Foca to Ayvalic was mainly uneventful. Most of it on a very good, modern highway.

We didn't find a wireless connection in Ayvalic although, to be honest, we didn't look too hard. Ayvalic is serious relaxation. Well, apart from the traffic which is terrifying. We finally found a place to park the car then a hotel where no English was spoken (very good for my Turkish and my confidence in using it). After settling in we walked to the causeway to Ali Bey Island then back which made most of the taxi and dolmus drivers think we were crazy. We just wanted to see that area which is where many of the cheaper properties are. We had ayran and shared an Ayvalic tost (a very mixed tostie with many nice things in it) then we got a dolmus to the Island to see what it was like. We strolled, drank tea, strolled some more then got the dolmus back. The ride is about 10 mins and costs less than a pound for both of us - no doubt the regular buses are even cheaper.

We had beer at the bar in the sea though our 'usual' fish restaurant was closed and we ended up in another one which was very good. Ayvalic shuts early in September so we took beers to our hotel towards midnight.

Yesterday we drove to Dikili which is a pretty enough fishing town surprisingly untouched by tourism. We drove back via the unavoidable salt pans (with flamingoes), Sarimskali (ugly), Camlik (unbelievably pretty) and, I think Kucukoy (they all run into each other). That end of Ayvalic is very attractive and, we suspect, has property prices to match. We then had terrible problems parking. We ended up parking right past the hospital and getting back to the centre by dolmus. Where we found the reason... Market day. We suspect it was even busier than usual as it would be the last market before Bayram. It was crazy busy but lots of fun. Ashley had very street food (cig kepab - raw liver with wheat and spices), but it was me who ad a dodgy stomach last night. Possibly due to the very good baklava we shared a little later or to overindulging in aubergine and olive oil at a fish restaurant on Ali Bey at dinner time.

So yes, in the evening, we ate in a restaurant on Alibey and wondered why we had never done that before (though it was expensive and not the best fish dinner of the trip). Oh, by 'expensive' - under £30 for both of us including beer.

Today we have driven to Selcuk. Nearly all highway and motorway with some drama at the roadworks. I waited patiently in line whilst traffic went in all directions around me - turned out the hold up was due to an elderly gentleman who had collapsed and an ambulance trying to get to him. The tailback the way we weren't going was immense. We also had to drive a way into Izmir to pick up the motorway again which was scary but negotiable. It rained incredibly heavily for about ten minutes on the way here.

We managed to find the place we stayed last time we were here and it is truly lovely. Homeros - well signposted from town centre. We are eating here tonight. The food is said to be excellent and Selcuk is not famous for its restaurants. We strolled round the town and paid a visit to the Sanctuary which has been drained. I've not yet managed to discover whether this is due to human action or the time of year. I wonder what has become of the frogs and the turtles we saw last time we were there.


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