Friday, January 11, 2013


Executive summary by darmansjah

Best for Coastal Life

In the restaurants lining Ayalik’s seafront, mellow evenings are spent washing meze and balik (fish) down with the anise spirit raki. There’s even an Aegean saying about the time-honoured activity: ‘Raki,balik,Ayvalik’ – which tell us something about the pace of life in this classic small town.

 the traditional fishing town of Avyalik on the Aegean

Boutique renovations are yet to alter the old town, where traditional life continues unimpeded. In a scene that could have taken place 50 years ago, a gang of boys in shorts play a game with bits of string on a doorstep, while in the shade nearby, the slower fingers of men in woolly hats click backgammon pieces.

Staircases clamber between some 2,000 crumbling houses, and sunlight streams into the narrow lanes between peeling pastel-coloured buildings. It’s a peaceful scene, but the presence of Greek houses recalls upheaval – in 1923, most of the town’s Greek Orthodox inhabitants were forced to swap places with Muslims from the island of Lesvos across the bay as part of a mandatory population exchange.

In Tarlakusu Gurmeko deli, the proprietor, Ayfer Eroguz, happily works the coffee machine and enthuses about Aegean cuisine. The area is famous for its tangy olive oil, and juicy local olives figure prominently in what Ayfer describes as ‘exchange recipes, which you can still taste in homes. The style is fresh, the cooking period is short and the vegetables do not change their colour or taste.’

Ayfer buys her fruit and vegetables at the Thursday market, where the produce is strictly local, brought from the hills by farmers in old trucks. ‘Ayvalik is quieter than the south of Turkey. It’s more natural and there are fewer people,’ she says.

Further Information has useful travel information

Where To Eat

Most traffic to Mutlu, just 15 minutes’ drive inland, spot at olive farm and gardens Nostaiji. Olive oil tastings and a museum of curious are also on the menu (mains from US$16;

Where To Stay

 Taksiyarhis Pension
Sharing a cobbled lane with the Greek Orthodox church of the same name, picturesque Taksiyarhis offers the chance to wake up in the quiet to old town. Bedrooms are spacious and vine-covered terraces are perfect settings for kahvalti (breakfast), with views across ayvalik’s terracotta roofs (from US$63;

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