After all the Istanbul exploring, we took a night bus to Kusadasi. Since we were doing the ‘culture soak’ this time round, we decided to camp at a cozy little family owned restaurant. The name of the place was hotel Albora. Its run by a super sweet Turkish family and even though the accommodation was a tad modest than a 5-star hotel, the warmth of this family more than made up for the lack of luxury.
It took us about 8 hours to drive from Taksim to Kusadasi and we reached in the wee hours of the morning. Too tired to do anything, the boy and I crashed, but the others went scuba diving and some of the girls went to get a Hamam (Turkish Bath). I didn’t really want to go scuba diving, because, that’d take time, and unless you’ve done it before or have practiced breathing with the scuba regulator, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to go into the water. I was kind of leaning toward getting the Turkish Bath, but I wanted to read up some reviews and hit up the internet. I didn’t find too many good reviews about the Hamam places in the area, so decided to skip going to any. [On another note, I talked to a local friend of mine and she suggested the Cemberlitas Hamami in IST city for an authentic Hamam experience. Apparently, other places are way too touristy and some are just rip-offs. I think its always best to meet with a local friend and go with them to make sure you’re not taken for a ride.]
So back to Kusadasi – We woke up in the evening and decided to walk down to the shopping center which was about 2-2.5 km from our hotel. It started to rain mid-way and thankfully there was this taxi-stand kind of place we ran to and took a taxi to the shopping center. The shopping place is meh. Lots of clothes’ stores with fake Pradas, Guccis and all that. The boy was having trouble with his shoes not coping with all the walking we were doing each day, and wanted a new pair, so after browsing around, we finally chanced upon an authentic Nike store. An hour and several tries later, his royal highness found the perfect pair. Sir happy feet and I then decided to grab a bite somewhere on the docks, but then there were a lot of sea-food places, and I’m a vegetarian and the boy (AN) isn’t much of a sea-food fan, so we decided to walk back to the hotel, just in time for dinner.
The best part about staying at hotel Albora was that the owners’ wife and mom(I think) made some delicious Turkish food for us. And since we were a group of vegetarians, they were kind enough to make sure a lot of the stuff they put out was vegetarian. [Such wonderful people, I was so touched by their warmth, I can’t rave enough about them :)]
Spread out for dinner was cucumber and carrot salad, lettuce and spinach salad, tomatoes, a coupla’ varieties of zatziki, and some freshly baked bread. The main course was tomato çorba, rice with a side of potatoes and peas curry and chicken in gravy. Dessert was some store bought chocolate mousse. Simple and hearty meal. Just perfect to call it a night.