I had a delicious free day to myself to recharge and enjoy this tropical seaside city (the first of many on our itinerary). After sleeping in, I walked along the lovely promenade, taking in the sights. An ancient castle forms a natural breakwater for the protected harbour. An ancient building bedecked with flags and Ataturk’s image has been made into a museum.
I was in search of a coffee and some breakfast. I hate to admit that I jumped for joy at the sight of a Starbucks in the port area; I longed for a fix of my usual daily grande half-caff non-fat iced latte. Extremely touristic, of course, because Turkey is renowned for its coffee. Coffee is not drunk walking around in a paper cup, it is served only after the meal is over. The small accompanying glass of water is meant to be drunk first to cleanse the palate. Turkey serves its coffee strong, black, with a bit or a lot of sugar and a coffee ground sludge taking up about the bottom quarter of the espresso-sized cup. There is some debate about whether to stir the grounds into the liquid or leave it settled at the bottom of the cup. Either way, it is never served with milk and when asking for milk, the reaction has ranged from bewilderment to shock to aggrievement. I have taken to ordering a separate glass of milk and adding it myself. In any event, my iced latte was a lovely treat.
The view of the city was lovely from Starbucks.
By now it was near noon and I still had breakfast to come. I found a nice spot on the water that was open for lunch and advertised its lattes and cappucinos. I ordered a second iced latte. I was on a roll.
It was about halfway through the second latte when I remembered that we were drinking and cleaning our teeth using only bottled water only and the ice in my lattes was melting into my drink and was now in my body. Rather than not finishing the drink, I gulped it down quickly so less ice would be melted. In any event, I was relieved to find I didn’t have any symptoms later but it was a good reminder at how easy it is to slip up when you are on the road faced with a lovely reminder of home.
After a scrumptious margherita pizza, I went shopping. There were some charming shops with local products and some very nice independent fashion shops. I certainly didn’t come home empty-handed. I stopped en route at a small city centre beach to dip my feet in the ocean.
After a siesta the group met in the lobby and we walked to a seaside restaurant for dinner. Like Greece, much of the food that accompanies a main course is complimentary. We were served mountains of fresh bread, tzatziki with fresh herbs, stewed eggplant, an artichoke dip and a spicy tomato spread. A salad followed and our main course was fish, always attractively garnished. For dessert, plates of decoratively arranged fresh fruit arrived. Delicious!
Walking back to the hotel we first noticed the increased security presence that was to follow at all the favoured southern beach towns and important archaeological sites. We were told there were plainclothes police everywhere as well.
The sunset put a lovely period at the end of the sentence that was my free day today – the view from my room through the lineup of ships by the ancient castle: