Monday, June 13, 2011

Only a Week?!

It does not seem as though a week has gone by already - serious, where does the time go?!

During the week we decided to go the our favorite restaurant in Aliaga - the one on the hill I mentioned upon first arriving. You would think by now we would write it down and learn how to say it but nope.  We went twice this past week just because the food is so yum.  My favorite part is the salad because the different types of olive oils and vinegars as a dressing then topped with cheese and olives!  I think Turkey has officially changed my outlook on olives, not all but some.  Ramo was our waiter and, of course, was extremely nice - he even took us back to the kitchen area and showed us the proper procedure to make Turkish tea!  Do you recall my mentioning there are a lot of stray cats around here?  We believe they are just tolerated and why wouldn't you, they are just adorable.  We had the cutest kitty by us during the meal but then he proceeded to jump up on my lap, multiple times, which when you are not expecting startles you for a second.  He was cute but a little annoying.
Beth, Ramo and me

Really, how could you resist this cute face?!
Friday night we decided to drive into Izmir, have dinner, and catch a later showing of X-Men:New Class.  We ate dinner at BayDoner and had delicious slices of lamb over cubes of bread covered in a slight tomato sauce with a side of yogurt!!  For dessert we went to a cafe shop for Cay(tea) and Kahve (coffee).  The movie situation was a little interesting and new for me.  Our ticket said 9:30PM for the movie to start.  Upon arriving at 9:25PM to the theater doors closed we thought maybe previews and/or the movie already started; however no one was in the theater.  Doors opened at 9:30PM and we were ushered to our assigned seats.  After 20-25 minutes of pre-movie entertainment of commercials and previews the movie began.  Alright, up to this point everything seems fairly normal.  During an action scene of the movie the theater lights started to come on and we hear the announcer speak Turkish.  Only an hour had pasted so I knew the movie could not be that short; turned out this was a 20-25min intermission with commercials and previews as well.  All-in-all, our thought to be 2 hour movie experience turned into almost 3 hours.  We are going to try to catch an earlier show next time or at least not a late show during the week. 

Saturday was our day of relaxation since we did not know whether we would have to work Sunday yet.  That night we drove to a local winery that Beth had spotted on the side of the road while driving to Foca.  As expected the food and wine was good.  As the evening progressed the mosquito's worsened so we did not stay too long into the evening.

 Turns out the catalyst loading contractor would not be ready until the beginning of the week so we decided to take Sunday and go on a boat tour of the islands around Foca - including the Siren Rocks as in the Odyssey.  The tour lasted 6 hours and we cruised around to various locations to swim in the Mediterranean sea.  We anchored for lunch and was served fresh fish the captain caught and prepared himself plus a local beer, extremely nice meal.  The boat only had 8 people aboard but more than enough areas to spread out if you wanted to rest.
Siren Rocks

In case you do not remember your Odyssey literature, Odysseus is supposed to pass by this area on his journey.  He went to a prophet who said you must not listen to the sound of the Sirens.  Any ship that has listened has crashed upon the rocks.  Odysseus returned to his ship and told his men to put wax in their ears to avoid hearing the Sirens singing.  He, however, was curious and wanted to hear the beautiful singing so he told his men to tie him up and not let him free as they pass.  The men held him tight as he struggled to get free to follow the sound of the beautiful singing of the Sirens.  The ship pass the Siren Rocks safely.

Beth avoiding the singing of the Sirens
Me leaning in to hear the Sirens sing.

                      More pictures of the Foca Boat Tour are on my Picasa page if you click HERE.

Monday, June 6, 2011

First Weekend in Turkey

Smoked Turkey, apples & cheese - a type of Toast
Beth and I packed a lot of activity into two days!  On Saturday we drove to go see the ancient Greek/Roman ruins of Ephesus or Efes in Turkish, which is near the present day town of Selçuk.  For lunch we ate at this Mom and Pop type cafe, St. John's Cafe, which we gravitated towards out of Beth's handy Lonely Planet book.  It was delicious and highly recommend.  They noticed Beth looking at the Lonely Planet book and actually asked if we would write a review on the cafe in addition let the authors know they had some information in the book that was incorrect.  Pretty cool!

Lone column from Temple of Artemis with Stork's nest on top
 Afterwards, we stopped at one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Temple of Artemis.  There is no temple there anymore but a lonely column, which was once accompanied by 126 others.  Typically the goddess Artemis is worshiped as the goddess of hunt but in ancient Ephesus they instead looked upon her as the goddess of fertility.  They say a stork's nest can usually be seen at the top of the existing column.

Ephesus in the later afternoon
At Ephesus, we were free to wonder about the ruins area.  It was very cool to be that up close and personal with some of the artifacts.  Since so much has been unearthed there are random bits of columns places along the pathways.  My friend Kathy, who has previous been, pointed out that she was surprised at how unprotected these ruins are from tourists compared to others - such as Italy or Greece.  That thought did not even come into my mind but probably should have seeming that I was climbing all over the place :-)  We went later in the day since we had to go into work that morning but it worked out for the better having less people there and the temperature slightly cooler.  An extravagant wedding was being set up while we were walking around - it would be an incredible place to get married. Beth and I were planning to hide out and crash the wedding but opted not since we were not dressed appropriately - next time!
Breathtaking Foca

Sunday afternoon was a day for relaxing.  About 40 kilometers away is the town of Foça, Turkey.  It is a smaller town that is known for the fish caught by the local fishermen.  The views going to and from Foça were incredible.  I did not think the water was going to be that crystal clear and blue!!  We found a public beach area but went a little further where not as many people were located.  The water was a little chilly to me, not to Beth, but once I was in and swimming around I warmed up a bit.  There were many sea urchins on the rocks so we wore our sandals in the water to avoid accidentally stepping on one!  To dry off, we laid out on the wooden docks basking in the warm sunlight.  This area would definitely be one where you could easily fall asleep in the sun and burn because the breezes are so cool that you do not realize the sun is beating down on you!  No burn for me - just lightly sun kissed :-)
Drying off on the docks

 More pictures of Ephesus and Foça can be found on my Picasa page if you click HERE.