Last week Bülent had to go to Çeşme for the Turkish Economic Association conference. It was at the Altin Yunus, a five star hotel. Unfortunately it rained for most of the week. I joined him on Friday and it rained the whole hour drive from Izmir to Çeşme. But when we woke up on Saturday morning the weather was beautiful. Bulent went off to some meetings and I enjoyed the hotel.
I was a little surprised by the Altin Yunus. It is advertised as a 5 star hotel, but the rooms are pretty basic, something you might see in a Motel 6. However, the location was fabulous and totally made up for it. This pool on one side…
and the beach was on the other. The food was also included in the price and was quite nice.
The conference ended Saturday afternoon and we spent the day exploring. We went to several secluded bays in Çeşme. It is off season, and so was not crowded. It was a lovely way to explore the area. We also went to one of my favorite places in the area, Alaçatı, a former Greek town. The old section of town is full of cobble stone streets and stone houses.
The old houses have been transformed into cafes, restaurants and shops.
We were lucky enough to stop by on Pazar day when the streets were filled with vendors. All sorts of fruits and vegetables, homemade olives and olive oil.
One of the things I love about the Aegean is the secularity. People there are very strong Atatürk supporters and very secular. Women might be “closed” and wear headscarves, but it is not a political stance but a choice. Walking though the pazar I saw these boys playing soccer. If you look closely you might notice the architecture. The terrace of the mosque made a perfect soccer pitch, so their ball didn’t get away from them. No one minded, no one even looked. This might not happen in many communities. Honestly, I don’t think it would happen in my neighborhood.
We ended the day with a night time walk on the seaside in Çeşme. The next day we spent the day exploring coves and köys.
We have been able to travel quite a bit this year. So far we have been to Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Québec, Marmaris twice, now Izmir. But the year is not over yet! We have a trip planned to Vienna for December, and I suspect another impromptu one will be scheduled soon for an as of yet unannounced family event.