As the coronavirus crisis is stabilizing, I have finally been able to start moving around, and, even more importantly, see people again!!! In this post, I would like to tell you which places I have been to. All of those travels would not be possible without the guidance, support and participation of friends. And without them, they would not be even half as enjoyable as they were with them 🙂
Opening of the season: visiting Pamukkale
All started a Saturday evening when one of my friends, Anne-Lyz invited me to travel a bit around right at the moment when it started to be allowed again. I was a bit scared and hesitating, but I really wanted to go and see Pamukkale with her! She offered me to join a one-day organized tour with an agency she knew already. Athough the trip was the next day and it is not yet in my very nature to make last-minute plans, I decided to join. And it went really great. Pamukkale is a unique place known for the mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces on a nearby hillside. The site really looks amazing and we were lucky to see it when there were less tourists than normally.
Experiencing Turkish hospitality: visiting a friend in Özdere
Although the organised tours are a good solution for the places hard to reach, especially if you do not master the language – the best is to discover places with local people. And in Turkey it is such a pleasure since people are so welcoming. One of my friends and local Pi volunteers, Faik, invited me over to his family home in Özdere, a lovely village at the sea. I was hosted as a queen, practised the language a bit and discovered the natural beauty of the place – the beaches of Özdere are known for the clean water and there are not as crowded as in Çeşme or Foça, the most popular weekend destinations around Izmir. I definitely reccommend seeing Özdere and swimming there.
Sharing the experience: a tour to Efes, Meryem Ana Kilisesi and Şirince
One week ago, in a group of five – me, Martyna and three of our Turkish friends (and Pi volunteers, who by the way teach us Turkish ;)) – Yağmur, Yağmur and Canberk – went for a one-day trip to discover Efes, the house of Virgin Mary and Şirince. This time we also decided for an organized tour – with the same agency I went with to Pamukkale, as this way we could discover several things on the same day and not worry about the transport. Although the day was quite hot and in Efes it is even hotter because of the high amount of marble around (the ancient city was mainly made of marble, and so are the parts that you can still see there), we survived and enjoyed the trip a lot. Efes is one of the most important places to see in Turkey – it is qualified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. After visiting the importat historical places (we also stopped by the ruins of Basilica of Saint John and saw what remains from the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World – unfortunately, it is not a lot ;)) we headed to Şirince – a picturesque village situated on the hills and famous for its wine, made of various local fruits, such as mulberry, melon or sour cherry. It was a very enjoyable end of the day.
Diving into Izmir: still, so much to be seen!
As we started to feel that the time of our ESC is running short – we are coming back in October – Martyna and me try to make best of all the free time we have after work and on weekends. We have recently been to Balçova, the photos of which you can see below, visited some museums in and discovered several beautiful historical mosques in Konak, most of them situated next to the Kemeraltı market. And also, to make the memories more immortal – we are advancing in photo and video editing after those trips. Still, so many places remain to be seen… We cannot wait to keep on discovering them!