Im not sure if its just bad luck we have when it comes to finding our next Airbnb or if its a coincidence, but at least a handful of times we have struggled to get to the exact location. We always think its us, maybe we didn’t get address correctly, maybe its the way they write their addresses cause they’re so different from ours. But almost every time we end up asking a random local on the street to help us and they always struggle too! In Porto we were directly across from the place and yet the guy helping us didn’t know where it was. This happened again in several places throughout Italy and now twice in Turkey. Today we ended up in the middle of nowhere at a bus station, no one spoke English and we couldn’t understand anything they were trying to tell us. It happened on the bus too when all of a sudden everyone got off and we had no idea why as it was 3 hours before we were due to arrive. It can get somewhat intimidating and confusing when this happens. We decided to get a taxi at the bus station rather than wait around to see if something was going to even happen and try to navigate our way through the local bus system. The driver had to stop and ask for help to our Airbnb and got lost several times taking us in circles and on and off the highway. We finally made it and realized you cant even drive all the way to the apartment and you have to walk some of the way. Well, to me, that is important information to give to someone who is trying to find the place but at no point did they mention that part.
Our two days spent in Izmir was nice. Short, but nice. Our host was a very kind old man who had no problem picking us up from the train station and then walking us around the neighbourhood so we knew how to get around. He even gave us booklets about Izmir and showed us a welcome video about the city. It was pretty funny. We spent the first day walking around Izmir, checking out the shopping and getting lost in the insanely busy market streets. Literally lost in a sea of locals and people trying to get you to come into their shop. I absolutely loved every moment walking through there. It really makes you feel like you are part of the culture. You have no choice but to be engulfed in it and its amazing.
We spent the second day at Ephesus which is the ruins of an ancient Greek city. It was quite large and reminded me a lot of the Acropolis in Athens. Another stifling hot day made it a struggle to walk around with hardly any shade to hide from the unrelenting sun. This place was filled with stray cats, all who look very healthy and well taken care of for the most part. There is food and water dishes about and some that hang out in restaurants being fed scraps by customers.
Izmir had a lot of stray dogs in the city as well. I had these moments when I walked by and I would feel sorry for them. And not because they’re malnourished, injured or struggling, in fact they’re all healthy and chunky, lazing in fields and sleeping under the warm sun. They look really content actually. I think part of me had this pit in my stomach that they havent felt that love from a human, to snuggle in a bed, to be spoiled with steak and dinner scraps in their food dish and to have a home at the end of the day. My mind always goes to my pup, Chloe and how damn spoiled that dog was and how everything in her last year revolved around her and I loved it and I know she did too. But I had to remind myself that not every dog had the luxury Chloe had with me and that maybe these strays are better off. I found my self smiling at the thought that they would never know the feeling of being tied in a backyard with no stimulation or interaction, destined to live their entire existence on a rope being ignored by the very people who put them there to rot, out of sight and out of mind, only feet away from their cozy dog-less living room. I would walk by thinking to myself that these dogs have better lives than way too many dogs do back home.
It was a nice quick stop in Izmir just to see Ephesus and it was already time to move on to the next place. Its crazy to think our time in Turkey is almost already close to coming to an end. We had planned on visiting Cappadocia, but unfortunately we got a little spooked by the travel advisories in Turkey due to their presidential elections. We avoided going into the center of the country and decided to just play it simple, follow north and work our way out. A little disappointed now that there is no issue whatsoever and we definitely could’ve spent more time and gone deeper into the Country but oh well, just means we will have to come back again!
It was an 8 hour bus to Istanbul and we arrived around 6pm. We stopped at the first little hole in the wall restaurant we came across and decided to give it a shot and man am I glad we did! A huge place of meat skewers, a delicious sweet salad and pita bread with Bulgar. So much for keto (that ended after 7 days) there will be plenty of time to deprive ourselves when we get back to the real world again. I have so many foods on my list to try while were here and cannot wait to tell you guys all about it! Tomorrow will be a really busy day so stay tuned and thanks again for reading!