More Turkey, please–Izmir

Izmir, the 3rd largest city in Turkey, is one of the very oldest sites of civilization in the Mediterranean basin, dating back 8,000 years. It was known as Smyrna until Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Ataturk decided to push the country into the 20th Century, updating mores, practicing cultural and religious tolerance and requiring the country to convert to the Latin alphabet–thus the name change; these people still revere him, nearly 100 years later, his picture is everywhere.

Arrived in Turkey

WE are safe and sound in Turkey!  Being up over 24 hours, we are beyond tired but things have gone remarkably well.  We were upgraded on the plane and I not only had foot room but I could lie down on the seats!  Traveling off-season is definitely the way to go!
We opted to stay at the Tav Hotel and were upgraded to a very very nice hotel room which adjoining the airport-thank God!–we were almost delusional by then.
This morning’s breakfast was included and served a huge buffet of wonderful Mediterranean foods-fancy oiled olives, a variety of hard and soft cheeses with croissants, sour dough breads and dried fruits including Turkish dates, apricots, prunes, cherries and some which go unidentified–oh my, what a feast!
This place (Izmir, pronounced Ismuh) is loaded with antiquity, dating back 10,000 years-pre-Socrates and pre-Athens to Neolithic times.  Izmir is known as the “princess of Aegean.  You can feel its unique and special lifestyle in every place and every setting… it is also known as the cradle of democracy and has maintained its role of being a leader city throughout history after (the)foundation of the Republic, as well.  Tolerance and freedom the legacies of multiculturalism are the greatest attainments of Izmir…”
Who knew?  Until this trip, I had not heard of Izmir.
And yet, it is the 3rd largest metropolitan city of Turkey and became the center of the world trade in the 16th century.  It can be reached easily by air, sea and road.  It is easy to see why it is known as the “pearl of the Mediterranean”, located on the Izmir Bay, in the northern part of the Aegean Sea.  Best of all (in my opinion), it has 300 days of sun per year!
Today, the temps are in the 60’s and we’re getting on a hop on, hop off tour bus to see what we can see.  Iszmir is on a bay of the Aegean Sea– the Northern part of the Mediterranean.  There are hills all around the city and from this view out our window, it looks like California.

Izmir, here we come!