Sunday, 7 October
Another beautiful fall day … plenty of sunshine and blue skies … which we took advantage of by going on a day trip. After breakfast on mom’s terrace — she made dollar pancakes — we headed west. First stop was Ildır … to wander around and pick up a loaf or two of farm-style bread; and then to Çeşme … to wander around and have afternoon tea.
A 120-mile (193 km) round trip drive takes us to coastal towns on the Aegean.
Can’t resist checking out a roadside stand for fresh produce … and melons.
Of the two towns we visited, Ildır (aka Ildırı) was a first for me — at least as an adult; if I went there as a child, I don’t remember it. Overlooking a bay by the same name, it’s a small town that is relatively unspoiled by tourism. After parking the car, we wandered along the main drag, checking out the stalls set up by the locals; stopping frequently to smell the colorful flowers, we strolled some of the narrow, meandering roads leading to the waterfront; and we briefly explored a nearby city of antiquity.
The only flower I remember the name of is the bougainvillea (left).
Murat catches the photographer eyeing some ...
... marigolds in tin cans, ready to be taken home and planted in a garden.
Locals have set up sidewalk stalls where they sell olive oil, homemade jams, crafts, etc.
[you can see a detail shot of one of the popular crafts in my viewfinder blog]
"Arkadaṣ" (friend) is in need of some tender loving care.
“Erythrai” is one of several ancient Ionian cities in the area.
The theater was built in the first half of the 3rd Century BC.
Excavation work resumed in 2006; there’s a lot of work to be done.
From Ildır, we followed the coastal road to a small hilltop café to check out the scenery and have some refreshments.
Murat and his swim teammates practice their strokes in these waters.
While we all split a "gözleme" ( a traditional Turkish savoury), Murat’s beverage
of choice is a cup of strong Turkish coffee.
Turkish coffee lends itself well to the art of “kahve falı,” a form of fortune telling
using the coffee grounds left in the bottom of the cup. The coin placed on the
Upended cup is said to help cool the grounds faster and also dispel any bad omens.
En route to Çeşme, we drove along the public beach in Ilıca. Having spent many of my summer weekends as a child here, I couldn’t pass up a few photo ops.
Palm trees, blue skies, turquoise waters, and white sand = a beautiful beach.
Doesn’t look like a fall day at all!
The sailboats are preparing for a regatta.
those umbrellas sure would provide welcome shade on a hot summer day.
Finally, we arrived in the town of Çeşme. Instead of doing what we usually do — wander in town and visit the fortress (last year’s post covers just that), we drove to an estate across the bay that has become quite the tourist attraction.
A saltwater aquarium “wall” attracts visitors from all over;
unfortunately there is too much glare to get a good picture.
The aquarium is filled with local fish, as well as a couple of eels and octopi.
Left: Sure am glad that’s only my reflection the octopus is clinging to!
Right: some of the landscaping around the estate.
Left: I’m charmed by the old wagon wheels embedded in the retaining wall.
Right: Nice view of the town from the grounds of the estate.
A closer look at the view reveals the new cruise ship pier and marina,
and the walls of the old fortress beyond.
We wrapped up our day by having tea at a small seaside café in town … and then it was back to İzmir for a quiet evening at home.