Hello from Izmir! I am here in this coastal city, the third-largest city in Turkey, the ancient Greek city of Smyrna, now known as Izmir. I came here for a wedding and I’m so excited to be here; I have always wanted to see Turkey.
Izmir is a busy, modern city, a port city that in some ways serves as a jumping-off point for visiting nearby beaches and Ephesus. We spent our first day exploring the waterfront promenade, the Kemeralti bazaar, Konak square. The bazaar was a huge maze that we wandered for hours, so much to see in every direction. We had kumru, sandwiches of tomato, cheese, and pepper on amazing sesame seed rolls, sold on the street, and later had lunch with more fresh veg, bread, fruit – so good.
The Turkish wedding was fantastic: over-the-top and bling-y in a fabulous way: the lights, the sparklers, the fog, the bubbles, the pair of doves released at the start! The dancing, so much dancing! The belly dancer, the henna ceremony, the candles, the veils. The dancing! The food, so much good food. The friendly, welcoming people. The ending song of Turkish pride, in protest to the prime minister, with the Turkish flag unfurled. Surely one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever attended.
The next day we toured Izmir with friends/the married couple, spending a lot of time at the agora–the ancient Greek marketplace ruins that are right in the center of the city–the waterfront, and other neighborhoods/districts. There is an amazing waterfront promenade that stretches along for miles, with tons of people out walking, playing, enjoying the sea air. The sea and mountains are backdrops to everything and it’s beautiful. I’m so glad we were able to visit this city, to see a real, normal place, with people who are from here and can help us understand the city and culture.