As semigrey hedonistas we fancied a bit of wanton decadence and set our sights on Izmir. After all, it is Turkey’s third largest metropolis with a laid back, laissez faire reputation. The drive to Izmir was a pleasurable jolly, and we rekindled our love affair with mcmuffins in Soke along the way. The modest amount of recent rain has had a remarkable effect on the landscape, transforming the tinderbox hue of pale green and ochre to a lush iridescence.
Driving through Izmir, on the other hand, was the most traumatic driving experience of our lives. The city is dissected by crumbling dual carriageways and getting off the bloody things is nigh on impossible. We spent hours driving from one side of the city to the other, then back again, trying to find the right exit, any exit. Eventually, after an unscheduled two hour excursion we found the seafront boulevard where our hotel was located.
We tried to park outside a café in the only available space as far as the eye could see. The owner was having none of it and began gesticulating aggressively to move us on. We’ve heard that it is not unusual for business owners to trash any unsolicited car parked outside their premises so we thought we best not risk it. Off we drove on yet another distressing circuit of the city centre. Then, miracle upon miracles, we were delivered a space right outside the hotel entrance. The moral of this story? Get the bus.