How times change. In my former life in the UK I stayed in hotels...very nice hotels...quite often. In different countries as well as in England, when I had to regularly travel to area meetings with my job.
Those were the days when I wore business suits, and not fleece pyjamas I wear now to fit in with the village dress code. I lived in a house with central heating, a bath, a shower, and every other mod con imaginable.
I don't miss my former life except for basics like hot water...well water hot or cold as we're often without both. I love this country, in spite of it's problems, and it has enabled me to do as much as I can for the street animals, and that far outweighs material things.
But it's probably getting on for almost 20 years since I stayed in a decent hotel. This past few weeks has been very stressful and there have been a lot of tears shed, both by me and Mr A. He can take himself off to the teahouse to relieve his stress, but there is nowhere for me to go.
By coincidence my friend Maxine who lives in the UK was making a short trip to Izmir this week, and would be free today. We have been internet friends for a while, and we are both admin on a Facebook group. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to meet.
I had doubts about booking buses and hotels, because I thought I just wouldn't be able to afford it. I guess I was still thinking about the costs of travel and hotels in the UK, which would be way beyond my reach.
However, I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my search. For any of you thinking about travelling to Turkey, you might want to consider getting just your flights, travel around and book hotels direct, or as I did, with a company called Booking.com.
The trip to Izmir from Milas by bus takes two and a half hours. You are served hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, and there is wifi on board. The cost of the return trip is 50 lira (just over £14) and this includes a free service bus from the bus station to your chosen area in the city.
The hotel I booked is a 4 star. It is exceptionally clean and the service is very good. The room was spacious, comfortable double bed with lots of soft pillows, and a BATHTUB which I really needed. Also toiletries, bathrobe, slippers, and free wifi (which incidentally was far better than the reception I get at home).
I booked in around 2pm Thursday, for two nights, and check out is up to 1200 midday on Saturday. The total price for this was 269 lira (just short of £77) and this includes breakfast. Shortly after I checked in, a waiter knocked on the door to deliver a big dish of fruit and biscuits.
I can recall the days of room service in the UK, when my company were paying the bill, and the ridiculously high prices just for a sandwich. Because I needed to relax I checked the room service menu and ordered 2 glasses of wine (ok I thought they would be small so I'd need two, but they were large...slight headache this morning), and a pizza. This was enormous and I only managed to eat half of it. I have saved the remainder to feed any street dogs I might see today. The total price for the wine and pizza 33 lira (£9.50).
And talking of street dogs. I took a short stroll around the area, which seems to consist mostly of wedding shops, and I noticed three dogs being fed by different people, and also this one, outside a wedding shop, where a carpet had been placed for him, along with food and water.
It fills me with joy to see how well the dogs are cared for in Izmir. If only it were the case everywhere else.
This morning, Maxine will come to my hotel and we will have breakfast together, then spend the day together. The weather forecast looks good. Perfect for a stroll by the sea, stopping for cay and coffee, and a good old chat.