Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 154 - Manisa and Izmir

Volkan, my CS host, and his friend Ahmet took me around some of the tourist spots in both Manisa and Izmir. It was a quick tour since I only had one full day to check out the two cities, which are only 30 minutes away from each other by car or bus.

Manisa is dwarfed in size compared to Izmir, which is the 3rd most populated city in Turkey. There were a couple of sights worth seeing, including the Weeping Rock of Niobe, which according to myth, is Niobe turned into stone by Zeus to end her suffering after she continuously weeps because all her 12 children are killed by Apollo and Artemis. We also visited the Sultan Mosque and the Hamam, but I think I'm too exfoliated from my first experience to pay for another one...maybe at the end of my trip in Turkey.

The city is also known for its special paste called "Mesir" which is a mixture of around 30-40 different spices. It's sweet and chewy, rolled into a long cylinder, like a jumbo tootsie roll. In the past, the paste was used to cure the citizens of various ailments. They were freely distributed to the citizens of the city.

After the short trip to Manisa, we headed to Izmir, where I visited the Clock Tower and the Kemeralti Bazaar. The city was so much more crowded and busy compared to the laid-back town of Manisa. Maybe because I was there during the weekend...

We walked around for a while before Ahmet and Volkan treated me to one of the specialty foods of Izmir - the Kumru sandwich, which contains a huge amount of meats and cheese. In the end, the sandwich won the battle as I couldn't finish it, but it was delicious nonetheless!

Tomorrow I head to Kusadasi (probably the hardest city to pronounce so far in Turkey!) to see the classical city and ruins of Ephesus...

Niobe Weeping Rock

Sultan Hamam

Izmir Clock Tower

Kumru Sandwich

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