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Published: August 16th 2019
Back in Çeşme, the immigration process was slightly swifter and facilities much better. We found our new hotel, a Boutique (Butik) hotel in the back streets of the main shopping street. The charming couple that run the hotel were very keen to teach us some Turkish and found the language translation apps very useful in welcoming their guests. We had dinner in the main area of town, and a quick wander around. The next day we took a taxi to the nearby village of Alaçatı. Alaçatı is a picturesque village (that now seems to exist solely for tourism) about 9km away from Çeşme. Think white-washed houses with vivid blue doors and window sills, blooming pink Bougainville flowers and ample opportunities to take that perfect photo. It was a lovely walk around town – a little busy but mainly Turkish tourists. There are many hotels in the area but its a bit more expensive than Çeşme- I suppose its what you could call the ‘bespoke' tax! After a couple of hours in glorious Alaçatı (and petting some more snoozing cats) we walked to nearby Ilıca beach. A gorgeous, gorgeous beach filled with holidaymakers and families out for a swim in the calm
waters of the Aegean. The beach was shallow, the waters turquoise blue. After a good solid swim and float about the sea, we caught a local dolmuş back to Çeşme, had a shower and went for a nice walk along the harbour and sat at a bar and had a wine watching the pink sunset. After dinner, we walked around the shopping street buying more souvenirs to somehow pack in our bags!
This morning we had a quick breakfast by the harbour before hopping on a bus to our last stop in Turkey, Izmir. A short 1.5hr bus ride we were in Izmir. After checking into our hotel, we walked by the waterfront to the covered bazaar. Turkish 3rd largest city, its often missed as a travel destination (we've travelled through it multiple times). The waterfront is vast, offering great views of the larger city and with its choppy waters and any large boats in the distance is the perfect boulavard for walking uo and down the promenade. On the surface, Izmir appears to be more an industrial city - its very spread out. Our last night was low key, we found the 'party street' and had a less
than impressuve dinner (but at least we got live music!)
I can't express enough how much I love Turkey. People that know me know that this is my special place – whilst I had travelled extensively before going to Turkey when I was 23, it was the first time I went overseas to a) somewhere that I didn't know anyone or had family members and b) first time on a small group tour with Intrepid with people whom I never met before, its was an exhilarating, eye opening trip and I think that is partly why I live this country so much and I have passed along that love for Turkey to Bill as well. The people are so friendly, its easy to get around, its a melange of conservative pockets in some cities to secular, liberal values in others. Its a fantastic place to visit over and over again. Teşekkürler Türkiye we will be back inşallah!
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