Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

Tag: UK

Container day

You know you’re really going when three men turn up to put everything you own into boxes or bubble-wrap, and then a huge truck parks outside your house. The guys from Robinsons were extremely professional, though, and packed every last plate and glass a lot better and a lot faster than we could have.

Boxes in the spare bedroom

Boxes in the spare bedroom

We had been told that our stuff would just about fit into a 20-foot (6.1 metres) container but we didn’t realize how close it would be. It’s lucky that we took so many loads to the recycling centre, as in the end we had to leave out an exercise bike, some flower pots, and an old office chair. The container was that full. Still, at least this means there’s no room for anything to slide around during transit!

Loading the container

Loading the container

So now it’s all gone and we are (briefly) living in a very empty and echoing house. Just some cleaning up to do today, and then we’re ready to fly on Friday.

If the ships sinks, this is the last we will see of it...

If the ship sinks, this is the last we will see of our belongings…

A farewell to Hampshire

Time flies.  There’s now less than a week to go before the removal company comes to take all our worldly goods away. So we’re frantically preparing by making an inventory for the insurance: how much does it cost to replace an ageing CD collection or a drawer full of mismatched socks? We’re recycling junk from the attic, based on the theory that a box you haven’t opened in seven years probably doesn’t have anything in it that you really needed.  And working our way down that long, tedious to-do list that all movers have to deal with: banks, phone, internet, gas, electricity, driving licence, etc.

We found out today that our shipping container will be travelling on the 366-metre-long Hamburg Express, direct from Southampton to İzmir.  Here’s hoping our box doesn’t fall off the side.

The ship that will take our furniture to Turkey.

The ship that will take our furniture to Turkey (credit to Herbert Sommer and MarineTraffic).

Before we go, we want to thank all of our friends, neighbours, and colleagues for the warm send-offs we’ve been given. You have all been incredibly thoughtful. We’re determined to get out to Turkey and to start this new chapter in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we won’t miss you.

And some days it seems as though even the British weather is trying to convince us to stay. I took this shot of a double rainbow from our back garden a few days ago. If Southampton always looked like this after rain, we might have had a tougher decision on our hands.


Double rainbow from our garden in Southampton.

Why Turkey?

Right now we’re still in the UK, but our plans for the big move are firming up. Sirem has left her job and I am in the last few weeks of mine. All our furniture will be stuffed into a shipping container and sent by sea on the 15th of July. We should be completing the house sale on the 18th of July, and will fly out to Turkey on the same day. The cats will be going ahead of us, travelling overland across Europe with the help of the nice people at Paws Kennels and Cattery.

Once we’re out there, and once we get our internet connection sorted out, the blog will get a lot more practical. We’ve got some immediate jobs to do like modernizing the bathroom in the old farmhouse, digging drainage ditches up in the orchard, and harvesting our first batch of figs. All that should mean lots of progress photos, of course.

In the meantime, some friends have asked why we’ve chosen southwest Turkey for our big plan. I think the easiest way to answer that is with some photos from previous visits.

Restaurant in Kirazlı, about 20km from our place

Köy Sofrası restaurant in Kirazlı, about 20km from our place

Valley in the hills nearby

Valley in the hills nearby

Gület (yacht) moored in beautiful Aegean waters

Gület (yacht) moored in beautiful Aegean waters

View from a hilltop looking out towards the Greek islands

View from a hilltop looking out towards the Greek islands

Moving to Turkey

Photo of us Hi, and welcome to our blog. Some of you will already know us, and will have heard about our crazy project in great detail.  For those who haven’t met us before, we’re Jason and Sirem.  We’ve had enough of our jobs in the UK and are about to move to rural Turkey to build a hotel.

Semi-detached Southampton house This is the house in Southampton we’ll be leaving behind. We’ve been here for seven years and it’s been a great place to live, but it’s time to go.

And here are some photos of where we’re going.  We bought a small farmhouse and about an acre of fig orchard on a hillside near the village of Hıdırbeyli.  Which is near the town of Germencik, just inland from Turkey’s Aegean coast.

The orchard as it looked in March 2014.

Sunset from the orchard, looking towards Mount Mycale.

Looking out across the olive groves.

We’ll be about half an hour from ruins of Ephesus, with many other archaeological sites only a short drive away (e.g., Priene, Magnesia, Miletus, Didyma, and Aphrodisia). We’re also about half an hour from the beach.

All that archaeology gave us the idea for what to call the hotel.  We’re right in the middle of what was once Ionia, one of the colonies of ancient Greece.  So our place will be the Ionia Guest House.

The plan is to build a small hotel with about six rooms around a central garden courtyard and pool.  We want it to work as a base for visiting the attractions of the Aegean coast, and at the same time give people a taste of the Turkish countryside. We plan to grow our own fruit and vegetables, to use great local food, and to raise chickens for eggs.  We want to build the place in a sustainable way (timber-frame straw bale construction, covered in local clay plaster). It’s going to take us a couple of years to get it all up and running, so the blog is for keeping people up to date on our progress.

Thanks for stopping by.

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