How to summarise the week-long "Balkan Project". The idea behind the project is to give people living in the Balkans a taste of Turkey in a week - well at least around Ismir. We were busy all day every day and so it was quite hard going - but I must say that in 10 days I truly feel like I saw and experienced as much as I possibly could.
The project was run by two wonderful Chinese Americans - Jason and Mailin. To start off with we had 3 days of workshops and seminars, and a leetle adventure on our first day, where they took us across town "for lunch" and then disappeared, leaving us with an envelope with (a little) money, a transport card and instructions to find our way back to the Internet Cafe that they have by 3.30, taking photos on the way of certain things... Needless to say since I am writing this, we didn't get (very) lost and made it back safely!
The rest of the week wasn't quite as adventurous, but we did have fun. From going to a village to watch how they make glass beads, to visiting the castle overlooking the city (above) , going to Ephesus (which was definitely the highlight!), going on the bus, the ferry, the metro and a cable car to get around (and walking a LOT)- and eating pretty much every kind of Turkish food that they have in restaurants and fast food places! We also did various projects - like cleaning trash in one neighbourhood, and giving out food to homeless street kids, as well as hosting a Balkan evening in the internet cafe (which was great fun!).
They did give us (not enough) time for shopping, but the only sea we saw was in the bay which is totally built up and so dirty you can't swim in it - so no beach going or swimming for us! But we did have an amazing view from the place we were staying!!!