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delicious izmir

December 29, 2012

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Yesterday Ellen and I spent the day exploring konak, downtown Izmir. After a quick ferry ride including fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, we headed into Izmir’s street bazaar. At first the layout reminded me of the Plaka district in Athens, but with a bit of walking we were out of the normal tourist shops and exploring fresh food and goods markets. The streets were filled with friendly men roasting chestnuts and bins with fresh fish and produce. Making our way through the crowd, we found a packed hole in the wall restaurant that we decided to try. Walking in, we soon discovered we were the only English speakers. The owner ran across the street and pulled a local man who knew English in and had him explain how to order and offer his suggestions. To say the least, it was one of the best, most authentic meals I’ve had in my life. All for 9 lira (about $6). Although we understood nothing the others were saying, the people were so helpful and took care of our every need. After exchanged smiles and thumbs up, Ellen and I were on our way.

Some more aimless wandering filled with people watching and fragrant smells from shops, we found ourself at Agora, the city center of a past time. The ruins sit peacefully with a modern world built up around it, an ironic scene not found in the United States. We finished at the market and walked down to the Konak waterfront to grab some Efes, the Turkish beer of choice. Sitting next to the Aegian sea, I began to smile at how great life is and how lucky I am to have this experience.

We met up with Penny, Ellen’s mom, and we headed to bostanli another area of town for dinner. The restaurant seemed to be a local favorite. Sitting down we weren’t offered a menu. Rather, the tradition at many fish restaurants is to have you literally pick out your dinner from their cooler of fish and they will cook it up for you. Selecting appetizers including calamari, sun dried tomatoes, and astounding hummus we began the feast. The fish we selected was then impressively boned and served right in front of us. This was yet another Turkish meal I won’t forget.

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