Kemeralti market has been around long enough to have seen a few plagues ravage the globe. No surprise then I guess that things there were functioning as normally as one could expect. Built in the 16th century, the market in Izmir is not quite as old as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul (the world’s oldest), but it’s definitely worth a stop. Vendors of all sorts are there… as a tourist you’re likely just to be a spectator in the rows of produce stalls. The bustle in the fish market area was a spectacle that rivaled Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, except with the addition of well-behaved cats standing around as onlookers. An area one might be interested in as a tourist would be the gold vendors. Many, many jewelry stalls there at reasonable prices. I was surprised at how low-key the shopkeepers here were, even during a time when business must surely have taken a hit.
The highlight for me frankly was stopping at a nondescript Caravan Serai restaurant. Completely different from the stuff on offer at other Turkish restaurants and I really enjoyed it. Absolute best was a fish soup (language barrier so can’t be more specific) that was just over-the-top good. Nothing against the “mixed grill” type stuff on offer everywhere, but the stuff at these Caravan Serai restaurants is different and I enjoyed it much more.
I basically followed a pretty standard itinerary for Izmir: Asansor, Konak Square, Kemeralti Market, Agora Museum, Mount Kadifekale. Like most places in Turkey, domestic flights to Izmir connect through Istanbul, which meant transfers to get here from Goreme. However, it also made for a quick hop back to Istanbul for my flight back home. Izmir was a nice stop and one I’d recommend in any extended tour of Turkey. I gotta tell you though, this stop did leave me with a bit of writer’s block… I’ve been at a loss here as this was fairly uneventful. It’s much easier to write about being detained by immigration or something over-the-top awesome. Like many times before on this blog, the motivation to get “caught up” is coming with another pending trip, so stay tuned.