We began our Turkish summer vacation in Izmir, spending four nights and day tripping to the coast and Ephesus. We opted for Izmir over the more popular Bodrum area due to flight schedule and cost (Izmir was much less expensive) after going back and forth regarding whether to stay in Izmir city, Alacati (an hour away on the coast) or further south (around Bodrum). We ended up thrilled with our decision and really enjoyed Izmir. We have already decided that we need to come back and spend a few weeks in Izmir during early retirement!
The flowers in Izmir are beautiful.
THE TURKISH CITY OF IZMIR
Contrary to what we thought prior to this trip, Izmir is a large historic city (the third largest in Turkey!) in Western Turkey on the Aegean cost. Izmir is about an hour flight from Istanbul or a few hours’ drive, which drive seemed quite popular with locals. Izmir is also only one hour from the beach and one hour from historical Ephesus (both on modern highways).
Sunset in Izmir.
Aside from having a good location, Izmir is not super touristy and feels very much like a real Turkish city. Locals abound and you will be hard pressed to find too many foreign tourists out and about on a normal evening. The locals were also nice and seemed to really be enjoying their life on the sea. In fact, we met more than one person who left their busy life in Istanbul and moved to Izmir for a better quality of life. And I think that’s part of what we liked about Izmir, it was chill, there was no pressure to do anything, Izmir is safe and not expensive, and we felt like we were really in Turkey (not dropped into a foreign country with 100s of other Americans).
Dan and I travel every US Thanksgiving, mainly because its quiet and we get two days off of work without taking any vacation. This year we traveled to the Seychelles (after 3 nights in Abu Dhabi) to explore more of the Indian Ocean (after going to the Maldives two Thanksgivings ago). We loved our time in the Seychelles, but due to the time it takes to get to the Seychelles, would probably reserve another visit for when we have longer to explore the surrounding area. This is my review of what we did and where we stayed during our week on the Seychelles!
Rainbow in the Seychelles.
THE SEYCHELLES ISLANDS
The Seychelles (pronounced like the plural of a “seashell” found on the beach) are are group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, directly east of Tanzania and north of Reunion and Mauritius (and along with Comoros, Madagascar, and Mayotte, referred to as the Vanilla Islands). The Seychelles is its own country that is a part of the continent of Africa. Prior to gaining its independence, the Seychelles were occupied by both the French and the British. As a result, most people speak English, French, and the local Seychellois language. Here is a map of the Seychelles’ location – kind of in the middle of nowhere in the best way possible.
As you probably know, Dan and I went to Jordan last month for almost two weeks! Our trip was amazing, but the main point of it was, obviously, Petra!! Petra had just re-opened during our visit and we only saw 12 other tourists, which was crazy! I will be posting a full write up and guide on Tuesday, but here are some of our favorite pictures for your Friday viewing pleasure! Happy Weekend!!
Of everywhere I’ve traveled and eaten the last few years, I receive the most questions about the underwater restaurant I visited in the Maldives! Named Ithaa, meaning “pearl” in Dhivehi, the local language, Ithaa is a restaurant 5 meters underwater at the Conrad Rangali Island resort!
You can just see Ithaa under the water. It’s the grayish looking tube.
If you read my last post, you know that my husband, Dan (a bit of a points guru), found a crazy deal for a week in the Maldives at the Conrad Rangali Island, Maldives the first week of December – 5 nights in an overwater bungalow totally on points. So that became our Thanksgiving vacation! I was a little iffy about staying a full 5 nights and 6 days on a remote island with no realistic ability to leave, but we had a wonderful time and it was perfect during the pandemic. And actually, Dan and I both felt that our Maldives vacation FLEW by and we easily could have spent another week. Big surprise! Here’s a run down of our week if you are curious (or hesitant) about what you would do on such a stay!
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