Again with an intercity bus I come from Antalya to Izmir. I want to visit my friends from TIAFI Refugee Center again and maybe this time I’ll be able to see some of the city too.
I’m staying with two nice guys in Konak, a neighborhood near the sea. Izmir is the second largest city in Turkey after Istanbul. To me it seems, similar to Antalya, to consist almost entirely of blocks of flats.
I take the boys to a remarkable elevator. The ornate tower houses an elevator that takes everyone up a few meters or to sea level for free. Down there a street full of alternative bars of young people is waiting for us where we go for beer and mulled wine.
The city is considered young and liberal in Turkey.
Say the young and liberals.
It’s a place that’s more like a room at Couchsurfing. If you like Couchsurfing and want to do something with your hosts, but haven’t found a host on Couchsurfing, this AirBnB is for you. Ibrahim offers his home and all his warm hospitality.
TIAFI doesn’t leave me much time for other activities. But since I need a bank, I can at least get into town for a short time and look around. I can look at the beautiful bell tower and the bazaar of the city. A bell tower and an elevator tower – there are really exceptional towers in this city.
There isn’t that much to see, at least not at first glance. I probably need a local person to show me the city. You can almost lose yourself in the small streets of the bazaar. As in Antalya, salespeople are very aggressive and try everything they can to lure me into their shop.
Where are you from? I’ll make you a special price!
I am somewhat reminded of Morocco, where twenty years ago I was forced to drink mint tea in every second shop while walking through the city. Here it is black tea.
I get on really well with a dealer and we tell each other stories about our motorcycles. He gives me an “Evil Eye” to hang on my keychain for protection.
The city is huge and I don’t have an overview. My hosts tell me that Izmir is a very liberal city. This is anything but typical for Turkey.
In any case, I will have to get more impressions of the city in the future. Now work is calling me again. I want to see how the courses for single Syrian women at TIAFI are going and how the refugee center has survived the tough times surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.