Hurray it’s spring! Bouncing into March with a spring in our steps and sun on our bones (getting old, need heat!) and a bright beautiful blue bowl of a sky above us. It was an incredibly wet winter this year but mercifully short and we’ve been out and about in t-shirts already, the doors and windows of the house are all open during daylight hours and the dogs are basking in the sun in the courtyard. We haven’t needed heating at all for the last week and I think, on balance, judging by the buds of the wisteria and the miraculous resurrection of the wild roses in the garden that we are about four weeks ahead of where we normally are at this time of year.
We’ve had some lovely people visiting over the winter and despite the torrential downpours they have all managed to get out and see the sites and only one poor couple endured continuous rain during their stay but they say they were happy and just read and relaxed and enjoyed the dramatic thunderstorms.
If you are planning on visiting Izmir, Selcuk or Kusadasi area in March here are a few ideas on what to do and what is on locally.
The Izmir International Jazz Festival –
Now in its 20th year the festival is already in full swing and is running between March 4th and 20th. Organized by the İzmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education, it hosts performances by jazz musicians from across Europe as well as Turkey. You may have missed the opening concerts but there is still plenty going on over the next two weeks with the David Hellbock Trio performing on March 7th and the François Corneloup Trio on March 14th. The festival will close with a concert by the Mauro Grossi Quintet on March 20th.
The concerts will be held at the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Art Center (AASM). While tickets for most of the performances are available for purchase online from Biletix, on March 18 and 19 there will be free concerts by the Open Jazz Orchestra, for which tickets can be obtained at the AASM box office. As well as performances the festival also hosts a photography exhibition titled “Magic of Jazz,” by Aykut Uslutekin.
Information in English – www.iksev.org which includes links to online ticketing through the biletex website and details of where to buy in person.
Heads up: the New York Philharmonic are performing in Izmir on 2nd May 2013, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Minor and Bruckner Symphony No 3. Tickets are already on sale and can be bought through biletex.com
House of Virgin Mary at Easter –
Holy Week 2013 is Sunday March 24th to Saturday March 30th with Easter Sunday on 31st March this year. The House of the Virgin Mary near Selcuk will have a full schedule of services and you can find out the latest news about the shrine and the times of services and prayers via their website at www.meryemana.info or check out their Facebook page at Meryem-Ana-Evi Facebook
Spring Diving –
Active Blue Dive Centre at Ephesus Princess opens imminently. There are some advanced courses running over the quiet spring period before the tourists descend and if you are thinking of getting qualified in time for summer in the Aegean now is a good time to get in the water.
A basic open water course was running last weekend and saw people qualifying in the shallow waters off Snake Island and we’re reef diving at Adabanko reef next week, weather and my current head cold permitting. If any qualified divers in the area fancy coming along just drop me an email or contact Tagmac at Active Blue dive centre – Active Blue Diving Facebook Page or Active Blue website
It is a brilliant time of year to visit any of the vibrant markets we have in the area. The new spring produce is not just delicious it’s pretty to look at piled high on the stalls and the plant sections have gorgeous displays of spring flowers. Selcuk market, our favourite, is on every Saturday. Davutlar market is every Sunday, it’s under cover if the weather isn’t friendly and it has a really good plant selection at the back. Kusadasi has its Wednesday and Friday markets and Germencik has a massive market on Thursday.
For interesting and transportable gifts to take home to family and friends you can find some great things on the markets; organic olive oil (the oil has been good this year, very low acid), small jars of local honey, bee pollen (more on that coming soon!), dried herbs and spices and many of our guests buy brightly coloured scarves with edgings of hand made oya a distinctive needle crochet that is highly valued in Turkey. One guest bought 20 to gift to her work colleagues and wrote to me later saying everyone loved them as they really brightened up the corporate suits they had to wear.
The Big Sites –
Ephesus, Priene, Miletos and Pamukkale are, I think, at their best in the spring. They are uncrowded and carpeted in wild flowers and a joy to visit at this time of year. Currently Miletos has a lot of water on the site as the winter rains have flooded it but this gives it a dramatic appeal all it’s own and gives some amazing photo opportunities with the columns and colonnades rising out of the flood waters.
Early March – A little gallery of Spring arriving…..