Thursday 11 September 2014

The road to dorado (the fish, not the place / plaice!) jokes, I'm so easily amused!

Though I’m always excited by food, even I was getting weary of the repetitive Turkish breakfast after 2 weeks of non-stop boiled eggs, cucumber, bread – plus cheese and olives which I don’t eat! So a couple of us headed out into Selçuk town and had a non-hotel breakfast.

Statue showing that even if you silence people, you can't stop their ideas from spreading
We found tables near the aqueduct amongst groups of random men in the streets. 

We picked a couple of random breakfast items to sample alongside our Turkish coffee.

A flat borek with ricotta-style cheese

A brioche type of roll with more cheese

Then it was time to get the bus to Ayvalik. It took hours due to traffic, so our mid-point stop was actually a lunchbreak. I treated myself to freshly squeezed orange juice – deliciously refreshing – and an apple cake slice – deliciously tasty!!

Turkish cola!?
We finally arrived in Ayvalik in the afternoon. This Aegean seaside town looked almost Croatian from above with little lanes and terracotta roofs!

We were staying in a ‘pansiyon’ – a former French colonial embassy building which has been converted into a family-run accommodation…check out the beautiful interior! 

Who you gonna call?!

This charming town is a maze of cobbled streets, old Ottoman architecture and an attractive harbour.

It faces the Ayvalik Islands (the largest of which is Cunda) and also the Greek island of Lesbos.

Whilst this town has been around since prehistoric times, its population was almost completely Greek until 1922 (the end of the Turkish War of Independence). The local food is largely Greek and Cretan fusion as a result of this influence.

We wandered through the lanes to have lunch of ‘toast’ (toste) which is essentially a Panini style toasted bread stuffed (and I mean stuffed!) with mayo, ketchup, pickles, hotdog, spiced sausage, Russian salad and tomato…a real feast!

Followed by a post-lunch cookie snack!

This narrow coastal town is surrounded by pine and olive-tree covered hills…olive products are a popular purchase here!

To walk off our feast we wandered through the back alleys – admiring the old Ayvalik houses…

They decorate all the electricity boxes differently!
Cats were everywhere!
...stumbling along a fab antiques area...

And checking out the large local market that was running today – streets and shop fronts were crammed with stalls selling clothing and various bits and pieces…

Stalactites of socks

Then we arrived at the food section! A massive fruit and veggie warehouse which I was very happy to take my time walking through!

I don't think I've ever seen so many tomatos!

Strange and sour red berries...
...that come from this awesome-looking plant!

Multi-coloured beans

All this walking meant we built up a bit of an appetite and we excitedly headed, like kids, to an ice-cream stall on the seafront to treat ourselves to a mulberry and mastic ice-cream (local specialty flavours!)

The mulberry was delicious…the mastic, less so!

We sat on the harbor front, dangling our feet over the water and watching the sun glistening on the water and boats around us – perfect!
Our car bodyguard!

Heading back to our pansiyon to refreshen up, we played a little backgammon in the chillout area…I wasn’t getting any better!

In the evening we caught a boat from the harbor over to Cunda Island. The island is actually connected to the mainland via a bridge and causeway that was built in the late 1960s, but there is something about travelling by boat that just screams ‘holiday’!

Perfect timing as well, because we caught the setting sun…

Cunda (and infact Ayvalik in general) is famous for its seafront seafood restaurants so after a little wander through the island’s lanes…

Turkish tulip tea-cups
…we headed to a recommended waterside place (Meze Dunyasi), with a stunning view:

For a delicious seafood dinner: meze...

...sea greens with yoghurt... borek... 

...and grilled dorado...

...topped off with a random cheese-fruit dessert.

All with a very captive audience!

After a little post-dinner stroll...where we spotted a man walking his sheep, as you do!

We grabbed a ferry boat to the mainland.

Day 13
Selçuk -> Ayvalik

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