I set out wandering Izmir early, munching on a white cheese sandwich from a street vendor while walking.
I bought pomegranate juice (this time for 1 lira!) while wandering around the bazaar, which seemed to be made up of more shops with windows than stalls with bizarre items, but nonetheless was intriguing, with locals doing their shopping and no tourists that I could pick out.
No one was at the Agora Open Air Museum except for this dog and a couple of cats. I enjoyed walking around a part of the old city, which seemed vastly underappreciated–at 5 lira to get in, I felt it was a steal. The area used to be part of the city of Smyrna and the ruins included old governmental buildings and a cemetery.
The city, I soon discovered, is similar to San Francisco: it’s right on the ocean, and it has a ton of hills! To my disgust at one point, I went all the way down a hill just to get stuck because the road led to an area for military personnel only, and I had to turn around and climb the hill again just to go back down the next road!
The Asansor is an elevator a wealthy person had built for the less able to get up the hill. It was super old, having been built in 1907, but surprisingly stable and the view was amazing.
The walk to Kadifekale castle was supposed to take an hour, per my map, which would be exactly enough time. Though it was far and involved crossing two highways, I decided I’d rather walk than take a taxi. To my delight, I chanced upon old roman aqueducts from around 200BCE. Though I hadn’t expected them at all, they were the best surprise, and the sun was absolutely gorgeous and cast them in shadow.
For the first time, my spontaneous map planning failed me, and I ended up in the Kadifekale district instead of at the Kadifekale Castle, which I didn’t realise until a local girl I asked for directions shoved me in a taxi and the ride took fifteen minutes. Oops. The castle wasn’t very impressive, though it certainly looked very cool from far away.
By the time I got back to my hostel, I had just enough time to grab doner and eat on the way to the bus station. In Izmir, I stayed a night at the Lotus Garden Hostel. Though it’s a new hostel, the staff was extremely friendly and it had a very cosy atmosphere. It was located just off a street of delicious local food and walking distance from everything I saw.