Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

Summer

In another few weeks, we will have been here for a year.  Predictably, the time has flown past, and I suppose I should be more worried that we don’t have any new buildings yet.  But I’m still happy with our progress: we’re getting there.  The bureaucratic checklist is nearly complete and we should be able to break ground on the foundations for the cafe and bungalows soon.

In the meantime, summer has definitely arrived.   Afternoon temperatures are in the mid 30s, and we can go for a couple of weeks without any rain.  The sea has warmed up and an afternoon swim at Pamucak Beach or in the Dilek National Park is always tempting.

Visitors continue to give us a good excuse to get out and discover all the fantastic places around us.  I know I keep going on about ruined Ionian cities, but there really are dozens of them around here.  Priene was one we hadn’t seen before.  It sits up on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Meander river, and is only a few kilometres from the site of the Battle of Mycale where the Greeks destroyed a retreating Persian force in 479 BC.

The theatre at Priene.

The theatre at Priene.

Sirem among the columns.

Sirem among the columns.

Priene is big enough and famous enough to have a ticket office and a very reasonable admission charge, but like Tralleis and Magnesia, we had the place pretty much to ourselves.  It is a great spot to visit on a hot day, because the elevation means you get a breeze coming in from the sea, and the encroaching pine forest gives a lot more shade than at other more exposed sites.

View from the ruins of Priene out across the Meander Valley.

View from the ruins of Priene out across the Meander Valley.

Priene is also close to the half-abandoned, half-restored village of Eski Doğanbey, so we dropped in for another visit.  I can’t help taking photos there.

Blue shutters.

Blue shutters in Eski Doğanbey.

Renovation project, would suit first-time buyer.

Renovation project, would suit first-time buyer.

Our guest that day was Mark, an old friend of mine from Australia.  Here he is getting comfortable at Priene.  Mark was only here for a few days but I hope we helped him to unwind.

A game of thrones: Mark briefly appoints himself king of Priene.

A game of thrones: Mark briefly appoints himself king of Priene.

The day after Mark left, Joe arrived for a two-week stay.  Joe is a friend of ours from Southampton, and a former work colleague of mine.  He wanted to get some sun before an imminent move to Norway.  Anyone considering visiting us in the future should know that Joe has set the bar very high in terms of helping to build things.  He helped do the last of the cabinet doors in the kitchen, as well as a large (and very heavy!) storage cupboard for the verandah, and a computer desk on wheels that makes it much easier to watch movies at night in the courtyard.  Joe, thanks again.

Joe enjoys a mug of ayran by Lake Bafa.

Joe enjoys a mug of refreshing ayran (yoghurt, water, and salt) at a lakeside restaurant.

The storage cupboard and the computer desk deserve photos but I’m going to wait until they’re sanded and stained, etc., so Joe’s efforts get the best possible presentation.  Also, for anyone who wants to see Ephesus but only has 37 seconds to spare, I give you Joe’s GoPro video of his visit.

Most of our visitors have arrived at Izmir airport, about an hour to the north, but Joe flew into Bodrum/Milas, which is south of us and a little further away.  The drive down there is interesting, as the middle section runs along the shore of Lake Bafa, which was once part of the Aegean Sea until the Meander River silted up and blocked the connection.

Sunset over Lake Bafa.

Sunset over Lake Bafa.

Fish restaurant on the lake.

Fish restaurant on the lake.

On the way back we saw brown tourist signs for “Euromos”, a city we’d never even heard of.  Very glad we stopped though, as we got to see the sun setting behind the Temple of Zeus.

The Temple of Zeus at Euromos.

The Temple of Zeus at Euromos.

Summer has also brought a different species of visitor.  We try to be responsible pet owners and get all of our animals spayed as soon as they’re ready.  But our youngest cat, Sookie, got pregnant sooner than expected and we missed our chance.  (If your vet tells you six months, do it at five.)  So we are now the proud and slightly alarmed grandparents to four new kittens.

Kittens, less than 24 hours old.

The proud mother with her kittens, less than 24 hours old.

We are of course looking for good homes for them all.  It would be crazy to keep four more cats.  Totally crazy.  Out of the question…

14 Comments

  1. Hi I’ve just completed my first year in NZ – the time has gone by so swiftly!

    • Jason

      3 July, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Hi, Lorraine. Hope you’ve settled in OK and that the workplace environment is less crazy than your last one. :)

      Do you feel at home in NZ yet?

  2. Hi Jason and Sirem as always your photos are magnificent. Guess you are really getting hot now. I am in Madrid and on my way to Seville today and it is very hot here too. From Seville I head to Granada for a few days and then fly home in a week. Had a great time with Stephanie and Mick in northern Spain for a couple of weeks. Always love your blog.

    • Jason

      5 July, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks!

      It’s warm lately, but not touching 40 yet — I think we’re due to get some 37 degree days later this week. So you’ve probably seen warmer temperatures in Spain, I would guess. Really glad you’re enjoying it there. I’m sure you will love Granada.

  3. Cliff & Diana

    3 July, 2015 at 11:22 am

    We can’t get used to the fantastic scenery surrounding you. Can’t wait for October. As far as the cats are concerned, will there ever be room for visitors?
    I think this is a crafty ploy on your part, disguising a change of policy!
    C&D 99

    • Jason

      5 July, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks, both of you. There’s definitely some stunning scenery around here and we can’t wait to show it off.

      You may be right: perhaps we are better suited to running a cattery than a hotel. No formal change of plans yet though! :)

  4. I just watched Joe’s GoPro video. Looks like he could have done with some ‘unwinding’ as well :-). Is there a way to play it a normal speed?

    • Jason

      3 July, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Fair point! I think he was filming at one frame every 5 seconds, experimenting with the camera’s time-lapse function. So it does feel a little rushed. I think on YouTube you can ask for it to play back at 1/2 or 1/4 speed, which should help a bit. Look for the cog menu icon (“settings”), the second one of four in the bottom right of the YouTube display panel.

  5. Hi to you both, Love all the photo’s – keep taking them.
    It looks gorgous but appreciate all the Pine trees for some lovely cooling shade which must appreciated in those temperatures. It’s a tad warm here but yours are more consistent, I am hoping the thunderstorms arrive shortly tonight to cool off and clear the air in Southampton.
    One day, I hope to get over there and see it first hand, always keen to pitch in but no specialist skills I am aware of. I am willing and keen to pick any skills up.
    I can see you are having fun it just shines through. Karen

    • Jason

      5 July, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      Hi, Karen (and Sirem says hello!). Thanks for the kind words. And yes, you’re right, some pine trees would be great. We planted some cypress trees which should help with shade one day, but pines would be good too. Must get some seedlings.

      No special skills needed; we are just making it up as we go along. :)

  6. Hi guys.
    I miss you both dearly. Southampton is not the same without you. Watching you both making such a wonderful life in Turkey is so nice to see. You have achieved so much in so little time. Your blog is such an inspiration to take a chance and live the dream.
    The photos are like postcards, images I hope to see for my self soon.
    Love and blessings to you both xx
    Shakira and Martin

    • Jason

      12 July, 2015 at 3:18 am

      Aww, thanks Shak. Very kind words. We miss you too: your shoes are hard to fill!

      I hope things are well with you. Say hi to Martin, and we hope to see you both before too long.

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