Our first few weeks of travel in Turkey were sublime and inexplicably lovely. Our photos and written account do their best to relate those same feelings to you but what we experienced could only be known to us, in the precise way that an embrace can remind you of home, even when home is 9,850km away.
Alacati provided a gentle introduction to Turkey, its stretches of windmills giving us a good reason to pause and pause we did as the wind caught awnings and pastel-coloured ribbons in quiet courtyards. We spent several cozy evenings in town by candlelight and again were thankful to be the only foreigners around; we were told the narrow passageways of this quaint town were easily overrun come high season.
In Izmir, we enjoyed incredible hospitality thanks to Yusuf and Eti, two sprightly individuals who welcomed us into their home as though family included distant acquaintances (which we were). Our time in Izmir, which we had initially regarded as a nondescript city, was made far more interesting and delightful entirely because of them: we were shown around one of the main (and oldest) neighbourhoods in Izmir where fish markets and pomegranate juice stands were as ubiquitous as seagulls on the main promenade and we observed a solitaire game played by one of the oldest residents of the first hotel ever built in Izmir. After our lengthy walks around Izmir, we settled into Y and E’s flat and were treated to stories about travels around Turkey and celebrity surprise birthdays orchestrated at some of Turkey’s most ancient sites.
We were reluctant to leave our gracious hosts but were keen to journey on to Tire to see its Tuesday market, to Selcuk for an official guided tour of its castle, and to Ephesus to experience its colossal preserved self. Ephesus’ off-season quietness and grandeur were beyond appreciated and humbling and it often felt like we were the only ones there, apart from its monument-hopping cats. If there is but one place you must visit in Anatolia, this is it, even if you’re not a self-labeled archaeology buff / ruins enthusiast / ancient sites lover. It is a must—see / experience / do.
Written by Amy
All photographs by Tomasz Wagner on the Fuji XE1, Contax G2, and Fuji GW690II
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