Tag Archives: Izmir

Enjoying the Arts

Piano Recital

Meanwhile back home in Turkey, we will have more to say on Kerkini and Greece later.

June is our time for the Arts scene here in Selçuk.  It is the International Izmir Festival.  Some events are always staged locally, which means in Ephesus.  This year, two concerts in front of the Library of Celsus and one in the Odeon, (upper theatre) so sadly none in the great theatre, but no matter, these make for great nights out.

It is all a bit haphazard with semi random seating, we never get tickets with seats next to each other, but as long as we sit in the right block it is all fine.

So this year we have a Piano recital, mostly Chopin and Debussy, a chamber orchestra doing Bartok and Liszt, and an Italian Ensemble.  The recital was interesting, and was a lovely evening with friends and a bottle of wine.  We still have the other two to look forward to.

There are also events in Izmir and elsewhere, but concerts in Ephesus are just wow.  More details can be found at    http://www.iksev.org/en


How our Bike got it’s TÜVTÜRK in Izmir

TUVTURK-PlaketteWhat is a TÜVTÜRK you may well ask…  Well, it’s a bit like an MOT in the UK – a kind of roadworthiness test that has to be taken by vehicles at regular intervals.  Our bike needs one every two years and it’s now two years since we acquired it, the guy who sold it to us took it for a test before we could transfer ownership, so our test was due last Friday.

So, first we rode to Izmir, met our friend and got taken to the TÜVTÜRK istasyon in Bornova to make our appointment.  We booked a slot for midday on Friday.  We also had the bike pre-checked (for which we were not charged) by a friend of a friend.  We will go back to him for a routine service as his place is very good (they even gave us tea and roasted chestnuts whilst we waited).

Friday saw us back at Bornova Istasyon ten minutes before our appointment.  We were given a numbered ticket (keyed to appointment time) and asked to wait.  At midday on the dot we were called up to a window where the bike papers were taken and we paid 84.75 lira for the test.  We were sent round the back to wait for the test.

They have a real production line for the tests at Bornova.  We waited whilst they tested a whole ‘batch’ of cars and a few trucks.  This took about 45 minutes but it was interesting to watch the cars go over the ramps, have their headlamps measured, their spare wheels, safety belts and other bits and pieces checked out.

When it was our turn our headlight was measured, our indicators and brake lights checked, tyre tread (we have ordered new tyres but they haven’t arrived yet so this was a bit of a worry), frame number, engine number, suspension etc. etc. etc. then we went around the side of the building for our brake test.  This involved Hilary running along beside the bike, translating instructions for Ashley.

We passed.  Or rather the bike passed.  We got our sticker.  It was all very efficient and a great deal less complex that we had been led to believe.  So that’s that for another two years.

Shopping Roman Style

Agora-2Having some time to kill in Izmir, waiting for the bike to be serviced (which will be another story), we decided to drop in on Smyrna Agora. We were quite shocked to see a tour bus as we arrived, normally the place is empty.  The bus left before we entered and as per usual we had the place to ourselves, other than for a pair of crows and some archaeologists.  We cannot understand why so few people visit, it is right in the heart of Izmir, is fascinating, was a three story Roman shopping mall and public place, still has water running through it, and some nice pieces of architecture.

There is some more work being done, a new dig, and preparations for opening up some of the adjoining buildings.  There was a sign indicating a hall with a mosaic, and a walkway to it, but the walkway was roped off.  There was also signage and details about the Bouleterion another adjoining building.  We would imagine the Bouleterion of Smyrna to be fairly impressive.  There were quite a few workmen and archaeologists around still working on the mosaic building and the Bouleterion and no indication of when it will be opened to the public.

Part of the Basilica remains closed but there are signs it too is being prepared to Agora-1reopen.  There were pictures in there with writing under them – we think about the statues and inscriptions originally found there, difficult to be sure as it was hard to see through the barriers.

Perhaps, although the site is impressive to us, it doesn’t seem to have what it takes to attract visitors.  We think they are hoping to attract more people by providing more visual information on the site itself.    This is a different approach to the massive reconstruction efforts we have seen elsewhere.  It remains to be seen which approach will capture the public’s imagination.

Three Days in Izmir

ChromeThe Harley has a lot of chrome, the previous owners liked chrome and skulls.  The Harley spent five years (five winters) in Istanbul.  Istanbul winters are not good for chrome.  When we got it, the chrome was quite scarred and corroded in places.  Purely cosmetic but we are now addressing this…

A friend told us of workshops on the Sanayi in Izmir who can re-chrome things.  So, early this week,  Ashley took the heat shields off his exhaust and , on Wednesday, we took them to Izmir.  We had fun getting into the Metro carrying cylindrical metal objects in a plastic bag but the security man was reassured when he was shown the corroded pipes.

Off to Stadyum (three stops on the Metro) where we met up with our friend who drove us to the workshop in question…

Well they do stainless steel (very good stainless steel) but they have a man who does chrome for them.  He was phoned, he came over, he went off with the heat shields.  We went out for lunch with our friends then looked at one of their bikes then, as they had a complex set of riding bikes to one place and driving people to another place to do, so we took ourselves off to Ikea.  Where we bought some bits and pieces we’d been promising ourselves for ages.  Then home on the bus.

On Thursday we went back to Izmir to pick up the re-chromed parts.  Only they weren’t ready.   We waited half an hour, then we found out there had been a problem with the machine.  We were told they would be ready at six, probably, but definitely on Friday.  This is Turkey so, probably at six is best taken with a pinch of salt.  It was frustrating but everyone was very sweet.  We went and bought some sewing machine oil and a large piece of swordfish then came home on the train.  The swordfish was delicious and excellent value.

On Friday we went back to Izmir.  We picked up the parts.  They are veryfabrics, very shiny!  We drank tea.  We went to Kemeraltı where we managed to find the fabric shops Hilary went to with the Craft Club.  Hilary bought stuff.  We had coffee and kebab.  We came home on the train

So, three days back and forth to Izmir.  It began to feel a bit like commuting, but at least there was not that work thing at the other end of the commute.  Thursday was quite frustrating (apart from the swordfish) but the rest of it was great!

The chrome conew-pipesmes with a two year guarantee, and the workmanship is excellent.  It will probably last a lot longer away from the ice, snow and grit of Istanbul.  Today Ashley put it back on the bike.  Looks really good.

November – Photo of the Month

Recently Hilary went shopping in Kemeraltı, Izmir.  She bought loads of fabric and various other bits, and had coffee on the upper storey of this restored han in the heart of what is the bazar in Izmir.  It is a fascinating area to wander around, almost anything can be found.

We chose this picture of the han from the coffee bar as our photo of the month.  Apart from the wonderful setting the coffee was fantastic.

Possible nov ptmA

We also have two others from the han to share.


A wonderful view of harbour street Ephesus from the harbour area up towards the theatre.


And two from Pamucak beach in November sunshine.

Pamucak-Nov12Possible nov ptmD

Which would you have chosen?

Bike parts

In London we picked up some parts for the bike, some of which was pre-ordered and waiting for us at Warrs. It was also a good excuse to buy some new summer gloves and one or two trinkets. I wanted a clock and found a nice one which mounted on the handlebars. As ever the staff at Warrs were fantastic and everything I had ordered was waiting for me.

So today we took the bike and parts to Izmir. This involved Hilary going on the bus and carrying the new saddlebags, and me riding the bike. At Has Oto (Izmir HD) we gave them the various parts minus the bling which I had already fitted. New grips because the old ones lacked a great deal of comfort. Saddlebags and the mounting kits including the parts to relocate the rear indicators; these are great the bags detach when they are not needed. We hung around while the parts were fitted, were offered tea, and added a new rear brake pedal which is easier to reach than the old one. Everything was done by early afternoon. Their customer service is brilliant and the bill for mounting all the stuff was very reasonable indeed.

We now have the bike ready for hitting the longer distances. The saddlebags and windshield come off in seconds when we want to do local trips and are there for us when we want them. Already we are thinking of a couple of trips, more on those at a later date. For today we took a less direct route home, towards Çeşme, and then the coast road south, nice in places, some great scenery and at times the air scented with wild flowers.

Early Season

On May 1st the dolmuş timetables reverted to summer.  We could stay in Kuşadası till well after dark and still get transport home (assuming we actually wanted to eat out in Kuşadası).  The beach umberellas were coming out and the beach clubs were opening up.
İzmir Airport, on the other hand feels strangely deserted.  It is not a busy airport for the most part but there is hardly anyone here and very little going on.  The internet log in system gave us seats at opposite sides of row 14 – when we handed in our hold baggage, these were swapped for adjacent seats in row 11.  I begin to wonder whether there will be anyone else on our flight.
So for a few days we are swapping the scent of lemon blossom and honeysuckle, and  spring flowers, and pleasant sunshine for what we have heard is a cold and wet UK.