Thursday, July 28, 2011

Çeşme & Alaçatı with Dani, Luka and friends!

Dear readers,

It has been a few day since I have had a chance to post to my blog, so now I am back and I hope you come back too as I see my readership has fallen as I have not posted any new articles!

I am on a well deserved "vacation" mode for the next week or so as I have had a very busy schedule this year and need a break - just like everyone. I did think freelance life would be a little easier - but I've noticed that I do work more at times. But, it is fun and I am happy with my decision and now have the opportunity to work on lots of different projects for many different clients. I do recommend it to everyone who has the opportunity to do this instead of having to go to an office everyday for set hours! I did this throughout my entire career which spans over 30 years!

In my last article, I gave all of you a little preview of Çeşme and Alaçatı which is about a 45 minute drive from Izmir on the Aegean coast.

Luka and my vacation to this area began on Monday morning when we took the 11.00am flight from Istanbul via THY to Izmir... the flight time is about 45 minutes - we were delayed leaving and arrived at about 12.15pm and were picked up by a taxi to take us to Çeşme. As I mentioned in my last post, there is no "shared" ride system like the Havaş bus from the airport to Çeşme. You can take a taxi to the center of Izmir and pick up a bus to Çeşme, but with all the connections, will take you a couple of hours to arrive. The current price of a taxi to Çeşme is 170 TL - a little over USD 100 and about 85 Euros.
I am staying in an area called "Şantiye" in the Ilıca district of Çeşme which is right on the waterfront and in front of Ilıca Beach (a public beach) at my sister and brother-in-law's house. The house has a beautiful spacious garden with a swimming pool.  Below is a partial view of Ilıca Beach from the house and Luka and my nephew Arman getting re-acquainted after not seeing each other for awhile.

On the first night of my vacation to Çeşme, we had a "ladies night out" at the Çeşme Marina. The group included some friends also in Çeşme and we were about 9 women in all. We had dinner at Tuval Çeşme Marina. Tuval is a longstanding and popular restaurant in Çeşme and their main branch is on the main strip on Kemalpaşa Street in Alaçatı. This branch opened last year and is on the waterfront at the Marina. The Çeşme Marina opened last year and the state-of-the-art marina is a great addition to the area. There are numerous restaurants, clubs, bars, supermarket, retailers and more. You can literally spend the entire day/night there and find something to do, but of course, during the day it is just tooo hot!

Back to Tuval Çeşme Marina... the menu at this branch is not the same as the main branch, so some of the specialties cannot be found. The emphasis here is more on seafood, while the other branch specializes in meat dishes. The wine list is quite limited when it comes to "by the glass" and only one Turkish brand and one foreign brand of wine are available. By the bottle, there are more choices. The majority of us offered meat and a few (including me) ordered fish. Unfortunately, I had been there before, but on this visit, the service was very slow and we waited quite a long time to get served. However, the waiters were very nice. Afterwards, as all women do, we walked around and did some shopping before getting back home around 1.30am.

On day 2 of my vacation, we decided to go to a beach club and our choice for the day was 7800 Beach Club. 7800 is a posh boutique hotel and residence on the watefront in an area called Boyalık which is about a 15 minute car ride from Ilıca. So, the entire clan and my sister's sister-in-law arrived at the beach club in the late afternoon.  The beach club is independently managed and owned by Emre Ergani, a name well known in the nightlife scene with restaurants and clubs/bars in Istanbul, Bodrum and starting this year in Çeşme - he does get around and is quite successful.

The club is moderately sized with chaise lounges on the sandy beach and also spread out in the garden area. There is a fairly large sized bar with seating in the center and a separate area for dining. There is always music playing in the background while you sun and swim. It is a fun place - it is an exclusive place and finding a place to sit - especially on the weekend can be difficult, so I suggest you go early. Most importantly, the water is crystal clear and it is not very deep at first, so the beach is also good for the kids.

The menu is pretty extensive at 7800 Beach with apps, salads, burgers, pizza and more - the prices are "beachy" prices and the food is so-so. My expectations for meals are never very high at beach clubs around the world. However, the drinks are always good!!!!

We were at 7800 Beach until about 7.00pm and then went and did some food shopping because we decided to eat in and my brother-in-law prepared the "best" bbq grilled seabass for the entire family (about 9 of us). After dinner, we decided to go out for drinks and headed to Alaçatı around 11:00pm. As I mentioned earlier, the main strip in Alaçatı is Kemalpaşa Street... which is a very narrow street with even narrower side streets lined with all sorts of eateries, hotels, clubs, retailers and more. And... each one is packed to the hilt with vacationers every night of the week! It is a fun place if you like crowds!

We went to the Istanbul based Biber Bar  for cocktails. Once again, this place is owned by Emre Ergani and this branch opened this season. We were there for several hours hanging out with friends we ran into, having cocktails and listening to music.

On the subject of music, a new law went into effect in this area of Alaçatı last year. In an effort to reduce noise pollution, all the clubs and bars in the area have to really turn down the volume of the music played after midnight. So, for this reason, most clubbers head to different parts of the resort town where this restriction does not apply. Thiş particular night we were tired so we justed headed home after Biber Bar.

Day 3 started like the rest of the days... getting up around 9:00am - I'm lucky - Luka is alllowing me to sleep in an extra hour here!

Our "beach" of choice for today is Memo's Şamdan Beach in Dalyan. Şamdan has been one of the best clubs in Istanbul for over 35 years and is owned by Mehmet Tuna. Şamdan closes for the summer months and Mehmet opened this beach club this year in Çeşme.

Dalyan is most known for its great seafood restaurants - most lined up side by side along the waterfront. This beach club is in a more secluded area of Dalyan and is connected to the Dalyan Residence Hotel and there is a public beach next door.

Şamdan Beach is not very large - on the waterfront the club is situated in a tiered level deck (no sand thank god!) with direct access to the clear blue waters of the Aegean. This beach club is quiet - no blasting music and is more suitable for adults as there are no attractions to keep the kids busy. Compared to other beach clubs, the food and service here are quite good and the prices are moderate to expensive. We totally enjoyed our salads (Stroganoff and Parmesan and arugula) and köfte (Turkish style meatballs) and had several frozen cocktails (with watermelon and peach with vodka) and had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. BTW.. Luka loves the beach too! As with all dogs, he is a natural swimmer and goes swimming a couple of times with his aunt Meltem - as his mom does not swim and is afraid of the water! We had a thoroughly enjoyable day at Şamdan Beach and headed home around 7:00pm.

For dinner, we decided we were in the mood for Italian and made reservations at Beatrice in Alaçatı. On a side street off of Kemalpaşa Street, it is located in a lovely modestly sized and quiet alcove. Owned by Beatrice (an Italian woman chef), it has been at this location for the past 4 years and we just "discovered" it! We had reservations for 9:00pm and after getting a little lost, arrived at 9:15pm. It was a quiet night for the eatery with very few customers.

Our waiter was Giovanni... he is a friend of Beatrice's and has been coming to Alaçatı during the summers to help his friend out... he is from Umbria and also lives in Goa, India during a portion of the year.

The menu at Beatrice is very simple with a modest selection. There are about 7-8 pasta dishes; around 6 appetizers and pizza; 2 main courses and desserts. While deciding, homemade bread (excellent!) and fresh basil dip and ricotta cheese balls were served.

We decided to share an appetizer and had Beef Carpaccio which was very fresh and served with arugula and Parmesan cheese.

As a main course, my sister had orchietta (probably spelled it wrong) pasta with shrimp (delicious). I had a pizza margherita and my brother-in-law a prosciutto pizza. We had 2 bottles of Italian wine from Tuscany ... and coffee. The bill was 285 TL and we left saying we would be back and recommend Beatrice to all visting the area.

Tonight was a fairly early night for us and after walking around Alaçatı for awhile we headed back home around 12.30am and the following is a typical side street in Alaçatı.

Today is day 4 of my trip and as I am writing in my blog, you can imagine, I am home sitting in the backyard in the shade - enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family and getting ready for an evening out!

So... I will have more news from my trip in the coming days - so keep on following me and sharing my post with your friends!



  1. It was an enjoyable reading. As you are interested in blog writing, may I suggest if you could summarize the venue names with web links under the text may be. Also do you know any decent not too pricey bed and breakfast pensions in Cesme? Thank you very much. Bon voyage!

  2. Vildan Hn,
    Ellerinize sağlık. Bora'yla bir sonraki tatilimizi Çeşme'de geçirmek istiyoruz. Keyifli tatiller dileriz.

  3. Dear reader..

    Sorry since you didn't write your name, I can only respond as dear reader! You are absolutely right - I always add web addresses/telephone numbers, but unfortunately, I did not get a chance to get this info for this post... but check out the new one! No... I don't know of any "not pricey" BBs right now but if you can give me an idea of your price range is and when you would visit, I will see what I can find out for you.

  4. Sevgili Pınar,

    Çok sevindim!!! İnşallah sana post'larımla ardımcı olabilirim. Sevgiler