Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

It’s a new car!

Well, not new exactly. More like 2007.

We were feeling increasingly guilty about borrowing Sirem’s mum and dad’s car. And we needed something capable of carrying a load of timber or tiles or plants home, but also able to pick up four people and luggage from the airport. So we bought a double-cab Toyota Hilux. We heard they were tough and reliable: you do tend to see them on the news being driven around conflict zones, for example. Very happy with it so far.

The new truck. Our transformation into proper rednecks is now complete.

The new truck. Our transformation into proper rednecks is now complete.

Better have a road trip to test it out, right? We had to go to Izmir anyway, to sort out some paperwork for our here-any-day-now container. So on the way back we got off the highway and drove to the town of Tire, in the next valley north of ours. Then home via some narrow, winding roads across the mountains.

It was a bit of a gamble, as we weren’t 100% sure there was a proper road going all the way across. But we’re so happy we took the chance: the scenery was breathtaking. We knew that our place sat in the foothills of a decent-sized mountain range, but we didn’t realize how beautiful and secluded it was up there.

Looking north, with Tire in the distance.

Looking north, with Tire in the distance.

The view across to the other side of the Kuçuk Menderes valley.

The view across to the other side of the Küçük  Menderes valley.

The first part of the drive we were climbing with views of the farmland around Tire. Then we got over the ridge and we were up into a different world. Steep hillsides covered with figs even at that altitude, and deep ravines sheltering villages of old stone houses. It was so quiet up there, and at least 5 degrees cooler than down on the plain.

Range after range of hills, looking east.

Range after range of hills, looking east.

You get the feeling they don't really need the fence. There was nobody around.

You get the feeling they don’t really need the fence. There was nobody around.

We have to go back soon…


  1. just – wow!


    23 August, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Nice ute mate

  3. It looks absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to come visit!

    • Jason

      23 August, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Cheers, Ash. We’ve been luckier than we thought: so much great countryside around here. See you soon, I’m sure.

  4. love your new car!! An you have visited Yusuf’s homeland, Tire :)
    Lucky you, you are so close to all that great places!!! Tire-Tyre, Dydmia-Didim, Selcuk-Ephesus, İzmir, Muğla-Bodrum!! Wanna visit your place again a.s.a.p. :)

    PS: Of sure, I want to taste again the delicious fig jam of Sirem!!

    • Jason

      23 August, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Thanks, Ceren. I didn’t realize Yusuf was from Tire? It seems like a nice, quiet town. And yes, we didn’t realize how good our location is: we seem to be right in the middle of lots of great places.

      Plus: more green figs (for jam-making) were picked yesterday. So come any time for the latest batch!

  5. It gets more tempting with each post.
    Can’t wait ’til next year, when it’ll be ‘first hand ‘.
    (Fewer and fewer trees in this part of the world,
    If you follow my meaning!)

    • Jason

      23 August, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, both of you. We look forward to seeing you but I’m glad we have some months to clean the place up a bit. We’re trying to plant more trees than we cut down, personally. ;)

  6. Well done! The Redneck is a life form that has evolved in an ecological niche that was similar to yours, so morphing into one is probably a rational response to your situation. As for the choice of brand: when my father lived in Oman, all his British colleagues bought Landrovers (for reasons of Britishness) and my father and the external contractors were the only ones to buy Toyota Land Cruisers (for reasons of reliability). So about twice a week, you could see a Toyota tugging home a broken down Landrover. Toyotas are also cheaper.

    • Jason

      23 August, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I know what you mean about the niche. :)

      And that’s funny: my parents drove a Toyota Landcruiser in the 1970s, most notably to take us all on a three-month trip around the Australian coastline. And I remember similar stuff with the Australian 4WD scene: for a lot of people Land Rovers were the sentimental favourite, but they definitely broke down more than the Toyotas.

    • Colonial experience here: 30 years ago, Land Rovers were the preferred instrument for getting things done in the recently liberated outposts of the empire. Since then, however, there’s been a rapid shift towards specifically Land Cruisers – a combination of price, the financial woes of the British motor industry, and the rebranding of Land Rover as a car for the suburban terrain. And reliability.

      I anxiously awaiting the photos of you digging it out of the mud…

      • Jason

        26 August, 2014 at 9:59 pm

        Thanks for the colonial perspective. :) (Don’t tell anyone, but it is actually 2WD. Mud beckons, certainly.)

    • Stuart 'Coelacanth' Rossiter

      22 September, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Astute as always JP ;-)

      The Hilux is a fine choice, and I assume you had the machine-gun mounting point pre-fitted to the rear. Stock up on the bandoliers and start digging the survivalist cellar. (I have visions of that bit in The Road…)

      • Jason

        22 September, 2014 at 6:08 pm

        Yes, indeed, the Hilux is a vehicle with many possibilities. As for your “The Road” scenario: We have a fair bit of stored figs to get through before we need other sources of calories, but I’ll keep it in mind. :)

  7. Benjamin Schumann

    27 August, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Jason, closely following your posts here, great to hear how things are going.
    Just had some supermarket “fresh” figs the other day and couldn’t stop thinking about your place :-)

    keep posting, loving it :-)

    • Jason

      27 August, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks, Ben. It’s great to know people are reading! And yes, I think I will never look at supermarket figs the same way again. :)

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