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.

Buying a motorcycle – Part 2 – The Pink Dosya

On Saturday, after buying the compulsory government insurance (neither difficult nor expensive) we went to a trafik takipi – someone who sorts out your papers for the Trafik Polis.  This is, we believe, absolutely necessary.  It cost us 30 lira, and he prepared a neat file (this is a pink dosya – we think it needs to be pink because we didn’t see any that were any other colour) with all the documents in the right order.  We did this locally in Selçuk.  Near the  near the Trafik Polis in Izmir there are loads of offices which perform the same service.  Some of these look very smart and some are just a guy sitting on a stool on the street with a portable typewriter.  We were warned in the police office that not everyone who offers to help you with the process is trustworthy.  We think we were right to get our documents prepared in advance it took a lot of worry and stress out of the situation.   We had all the necessary documents but, if something had been missing, it would have been good  to sort this out before going to Izmir.  Also the Takipi was recommended by a friend.   Personal recommendations are really important here.

On Monday armed with said file we went to Izmir and took our queue ticket in the Trafik Tescil.  We waited around 20 minutes then we saw a very pleasant police officer who said there was a problem with our papers – the vize was out of date.  Well, we knew that Şadı had sorted that and that we had temporary registration on the system, so we pointed that out and all was well.  We were given a document and told to take it to where the plates are made up, and to then return in the afternoon with said plate and the receipt.  Hilary understood everything she was told except how to get to the place that prints the number plates (she is hopeless with directions).  The Polis was worried that we didn’t understand so he phoned a friend who turned up and explained everything in English.  We understood everything except how to get to the place that prints the number plates…

We headed off and, after some false starts, found the place that prints the number plates and handed in our paper.  It is nearby but not immediately obvious.  We were charged 17.5 lira and took our receipt.  We were told to come back at around 15:00 so we declared lunchtime and went to eat.  We loitered for a couple of hours after lunch, then came back, picked up our new plate and headed to room 13 where our papers were ready and waiting for us.  We now have a 35 (Izmir) MG plate, showing that we are foreign, and all the correct papers including those for the recent change of paint colour to white.  We caught the 15:30 train home.

Of course we then had to change the insurance policy because the number plate had changed, but this was simple enough although we were told we needed to go back to the insurance agent we where we bought the policy.  We even got a refund on the changed insurance, apparently insurance is cheaper with an Izmir plate than with an Istanbul one.

The final step is to explore kasko insurance (comprehensive) since the basic compulsory cover only covers third party.  This is likely to be expensive.

What you need for the pink dosya:
All documents pertaining to the sale and everything that was shown to the Noter

  • Vize
  • TUV
  • Sales Agreement (notarised)

Residence permit (ikamet tezkaresi)
Compulsory Insurance
(And, in our case, a lot of extra paperwork because the bike had been sprayed white – two forms and a receipt for the paintwork).

What you need for the polis:
The pink dosya.
Willingness and some ability to communicate in Turkish (or take someone with you who does).  We managed on our own, but Hilary does speak some basic Turkish and is able to understand when people speak slowly and clearly.

We think it’s really important to get the pink dosya made up by someone who knows what they’re doing.  The people we saw spoke no English but we had a phone number for the friend who recommended them in case we needed help  with translation (we didn’t).

Izmir is coming

Here, in Turkey there are a number of  large civil infrastructure developments being talked about, planned, or in development.  Many are around or linked to Istanbul.  The proposed Bosphorus by pass, a ship canal so that huge tankers and other ships no longer have to pass through central Istanbul.  The proposed third Bosphorus road bridge, needed as anyone who has encountered Istanbul traffic will assert, as long as the new roads are made to go with it otherwise other choke points will simply get worse.  The proposed Bosphorus rail tunnel, and a high speed rail line between Istanbul and Ankara.  The new motorway between Istanbul and Izmir along with a bridge crossing part of Marmara Sea.  Oil and natural gas pipelines.  How many of these happen remain to be seen, probably most.

More locally Izmir is coming to Selçuk.  A new university is coming here, a site has been identified and there are signs of the building work.  There has been talk of the Izmir metro being extended to Selçuk, this too is clearly happening.  The rail track is being upgraded from the current single track with passing points.  There are vast amounts of new sleepers in sidings along the route.  Much of the bridge work has already been completed or is in the process of being so.  Foundations for the track being dug for much of the route, and in places completed.

What these will do to Selçuk remains to be seen.  There will almost certainly be far more trains from here to Izmir and at the airport since it is on the route.  This will be vastly convenient.  There will be more students, so probably more bars in the town centre and a bit more activity in the evenings.  The Belediye (town council) has recently announced improvements to road and water infrastructure, new parks, and a new sports centre .  There is talk of the castle once again being illuminated at night and of public access to it happening later this year.

Beyond the civic projects, there is an immense amount of building work going on in town.  There are now three storey blocks of flats where once there were holes in the ground.     We’re unlikely to get true high rise round here as there are regulations around the height of buildings.  The regulations appear to be somewhat flexible but four stories seems to be a fairly absolute limit.  There is also a certain amount of extremely optimistic pricing of property on the market no doubt fueled by the many other developments.

It all seems pretty positive for the town, no global recession here.

How we got our Ikamet Tezkaresi in Izmir

These  residence permits are issued by each Province and there appear to be to be differences in the precise requirements(and system) from province to province.  If  you don’t live in Izmir province your mileage may vary.  Also, this describes where things were when we went – they could move the desks around!

We live in Izmir province so we went to Izmir to get our permits.  We were told to go to ‘the big building’ in Konak.  There are a number of big government buildings in Konak and the biggest challenge of the day was working out which one we needed.  The office is Yabancılar Şube Müdürlüğü which is on the second floor of the government complex off the main square in Konak – across the square from the main Belediye building.  You go in, past security, to an open courtyard.  The building you need is in front of you and slightly to your right.  It is all very busy and can be confusing.  Go up to the second floor.  Enter the Yabancilar Şube (to your right if you go up in the lift, to your left if you go up the stairs). Turn right as you go through the door and get issued with a queue number.  Go and sit outside the office and wait for your number to come up.  We waited less than 15 minutes.

We needed the following documents:

    • Passport
    • Photocopy of passport including visa page (showing when and where we entered Turkey)
    • 5 photographs (passport type)
    • Letters from the NHS Pensions office translated into Turkish and notarised.  Photocopy of these letters.  Original letters.
    • The two forms below (two copies of each) filled in (you can fill them in whilst you’re in the office but having them pre-filled saves time) – we couldn’t print them from the web but someone gave a copy which we had photocopied:

İkamet Tezkeresi İşlemleri İçin Gerekli Bilgiler
İkamet Tezkeresi Formu
(Tek sayfaya arkalı önlü olarak çıkartılacaktır ! )
The two forms can be found here http://www.izmirpolis.gov.tr/index.php?s=64 Though one of these is a .rar file which I can’t open.

We also had statements from bank accounts in Turkey but these were not asked for after we offered the NHS pension documents.

At this point we paid for our books (149 lira each) and got invoices to take to the payment office.  We were sent away to photocopy our translated and notarised pension letters so they wouldn’t have to keep the originals (which were expensive due to having been translated and notarised).  This was about half an hour after having entered the building for the first time.  We found a photocopy shop but then the building closed for security to have lunch (we think) so we went for some çay whilst waiting to be let back in.

We went to a window at the back where someone stamped our forms.  I’m not sure that we needed to do that but it didn’t seem to do any harm. He told us where to go and pay – we got in the queue behind someone who was arguing with the people in the office but it still didn’t take very long to have our charges converted into lira, pay and get a stamped receipt.  The entire cost was just over 1000 lira – that’s for two people for three years (first time permit – ilk ikamet – so that includes the books).  They convert from dollars at the daily rate so your mileage might vary!

Then back up to the office on the 2nd floor where we joined a bit of a crush to see the policeman who had been dealing with us previously.  This man was seriously multitasking.  He took our papers and applied more stamps.  He gave us small slips of paper, kept our passports and told us to come back in about 20 days to collect our passports and permits.  It’s normally two weeks but he added on some days to allow for Bayram.

We went back on the designated day, picked up a number, waited about five minutes, signed a slip of paper and got our passports back, complete with residence permits.

I just looked online for our yabanci kimlik numbers and they are not there yet but I understand it can take a while for them to appear.