Bermata-Travel Diary
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Travel Diary


 Buyuk  Efes Hotel
                               Thursday, July 7, 1983
                               Izmir, Turkey

      Viv and I flew from Athens to Izmir on THY Turk Havar Yollari.  We arrived on Tuesday, July 5, 1983.  The customs people were courteous and only noted that I had the JVC video cassette camera into my passport.  They didn't open a single bag.

      Our taxi ride was with a congenial gentleman who spoke with me as I tried out my Turkish.  We communicated well.  The cost of the ride into town was 1950 TL.  The driver had predicted it would be 2000 TL.  I had changed $100.00  for 22,000 TL  at the airport bank.  When I tried to buy TL in Athens at the airport, I was given a disdaining look and told it wasn't possible.

      The reception people at the Grand Efes Hotel were efficient, and helpful.  We are in room 609 overlooking a beautiful park, a square with a statue of Attaturk and the Bay of Izmir.

      Settled quickly into our room the first order of business was to make arrangements to go to Bermata.  At about 4 p.m. Viv and I walked along the waterfront  North to the Hertz auto rental agency; explained what I wanted to do and the gentlemen said he would call our hotel in the morning.  We took a cab back to the hotel where I told the reception clerk I expected a call the next morning and if we weren't in to take a message for us if the trip were on or off.  He asked what trip we were planing and then suggested he call Ramtur, a local organization and get a fixed price for what we wanted to accomplish.

      We went up to our room and I called and spoke with my mother letting her know we were in Izmir.  The phone rang and the receptionist asked me to go down to the desk.  He had a flat price for Ramtur of $430.00 for the trip to Konya by car, two nights at the Park Hotel, two trips back to Akshehir, a third night at the Tusan motel at Pammukkale-half board each day (2 meals) and back by way of Ephesus.  Returning to Izmir on Monday evening. We cancelled the Hertz car program.  Since arrangements for the main purpose of our trip had been made we had two free days in Izmir.  Dinner Tursday night was Chipura fish at Deniz Restaurant on Attaturk Caddesi.  Excellent meal about $30.00 for the two of us. (6,600 TL).

      Wednesday morning we took a driver from Ramtur (Nacarti Tuncer) and went to Pergammum and Aesculapium.  The medical center is better described in books we have purchased.  I was impressed by the layout that led the patient thru a progressive program of suggestive psychiatric treatment.

      Lunch was at a small restaurant super yogurt and good okra, fair eggplant, good salad and watermelon.  Purchased a rug to be a present for Tom and Gloria for their new house.  We returned to the hotel about 4 p.m. took a swim and I went to a Hamum (turkish bath) where I sweated and was given a kese (rough rub) then a cold splash-cool down and a massage-great-I made an appointment for another massage for Thursday at 6 p.m.

      Wednesday dinner was at the Mangal restaurant Attaturk Caddici south of the square; various hors d'oeuvre then shish- kabob. Excellent- cost about $20.00 (4,500 TL)

      Thursday morning we took a cab set price 2500 TL ($10.00 to the Agora then Mount Pagus Acropolis of Izmir and the Archeological Museums.  First St. Nicholas then at the Fair Grounds.  St. Nicholas had pieces form Roman and Hellenistic periods ourside in the yard nicely displayed and organized as to period and places of discovery.  The church was locked.  The museum at the fair grounds was locked.

      Lunch at the Hotel Anatolian Yalle Chorba (yogurt soup) super, salad and yogurt.

       Rest and read and massage.  Dinner at Palmyeri Restaurant at the Fair Grounds.  Ride on  ferris wheel at Luna Park and back to hotel to write and catch up on this journal.  Good nite.

           Speculations on the name Bermata.  Some of the villagers think the name came from Ber Manda meaning one buffalo or little buffalo or a little water buffalo.  The river that flows through the town is called Bermender.  This river is crossed by the main highway from Illgin to Akshehir.

      The Sultan Dag range of mountains form the backdrop for Bermata.

                                    Tuesday, July 12, 1983

           As I wait for  the time to pass when we will depart Izmir, I think I can record some thoughts of my visit to Bermata.

           The drive from Izmir to Konya was broken up with several stops which I'll talk about later.  When we reached Akshehir  we inquired as to the way to Savash Kuyes. At a round -about there is a bus station and to the right of the bus station a fork in the road with cone small shapes.  It is this right hand road to Isparta that is taken,  A few miles down the road is a sign Savas 5 Km it means 5 Km from Akshehir you make a right turn and about 500 meters ahead we came upon an open area with a group of men sitting on a stack of logs in front of a coffee shop.  As we approached our chauffer-guide Necati spoke to them and introduced us as guests from America who had come to find the birthplace of their parents.  We were offered chairs and sat and talked about the family name Jenetopulos.
           They immediately acknowledged that other visitors with that name had visited in 1981 and others before them.  I assume this was Alexandra and (Babe) Clara Genetos.  They told about a visitor who had sent back a tank to store water for the hamam.  They never got the bath working though.
           Several of the men suggested that older people especially grandmothers might remember where our house was.  All this time Viv sat in the car.  They asked what kind of work I did and I explained cable television which gave me the opportunity to go to the car and get the camera and show the TV on the small video screen.  They have TV antennae on some houses so they just were pleased when I showed pictures of Uncle Apostolos and his grandaughter Anna at Nea Heracleon.  I asked if it would be permissable to take some pictures the next day, Saturday and they agreed there was no harm in it.

           Necati and I walked around some parts of the village speaking with some children and others who stopped to greet us.
 Viv's Trip to Bermata- July, 1983

      Left Athens July 5th by air to Izmir.  About a 45 minute trip.  Izmir is a beautiful city set into hills.  Staying at the Buyuk Efes.  Dinner at Deniz Restaurant on the waterfront.  Excellent Tsipouras.  6600 TL.  All arrangements made for our trip into the interior on Friday.  Lights on the hills overlooking the water twinkle like Christmas tree lights.

          Wednesday, July 6th.  Had a tour guide(Necarti) and car drive us to Pergamon.  Saw the ruins of Aescepolis and the Acropolis there.  good Turkish lunch.  Bought a rug at a rug factory. Hand made.  Watched girls weave rugs. After a swim back at the hotel Matt went to the Turkish Bath and had a massage.  Dinner at Mangal. (4800 TL.  Excellent Shish Kebab.  Took a buggy ride around town.  Back to the hotel for Turkish coffee.

          Thursday July 7th.  Saw wreath laying ceremony of students in caps and gowns at the statue of Mustafa Kemul Ataturk from our room.  Hired a taxi and visited the "Agora".  Saw statues of Poseidon and Demeter.  Then to the top of Mt. Pagus the "Acropolis" for a beautiful view of the city.  The museums were closed.  Lunch at the Buyuk Efes.  Yogurti soup, salad and yogurt.  Dinner under the Palms ourdoors at the International Fairgrounds.  Delicious Swordfish Kebabs, Salad, french fries, eggplant salad and cacik and wine for 2200TL (about $10.00) for two.

          Friday July 8th.  Started our trek into the interior.  Except for a 20km area outside of Afyon, the roads were good.  No real mountain driving although they were certainly all around us.  To our surprise Necarti is our driver.  We saw the Temple of Artemis at Sardis, also the Gymnasium and a  beautifully restored Synagogue.  Found the village of Bermata which is now called Savas Kuyu.  The men were very courteous and took Matt and Necarti to see the village.  I stayed with the car.  They brouht me water to drink for the Vrisee.  So cool and delicious.  Went to Aksehir and saw  the tomb of Nasreddin Hoca. The festival is on and we also saw some folk dancing.  On to Konya.  We arrived about 8:30 at the Hotel.  After dinner we went downstairs to see rugs.  I left Matt there.  He bought a rug for our dining room.

          Saturday, July 9th.  Konya Hot a.m. windy rainy early afternoon.  Went to Chatakoyuk to see a dig about 25 miles out of town.  Ancient Hittite civilization. Some bones still in the earth. (on this drive I smelled Cumin and asked about it and Necarti pointed out a field of white flowers that we passed by).  Back to center of Konya and bought candy and balloons for the children of the village.  Also bought "churek otur"  (black seed for yalekmek and koulourakia)   What a welcome at the village.  The balloons and candy were a big hit.  As was the coffee we took them.  Matt took all the movies he wanted while I entertained the children.  A very nice gentleman made a map of the village.  I was given a loaf of yalekmek.  The flour was a little coarser than what we make but basically its the same.  Although it is an old worn down village the people and especially the children are as vibrant as anywhere else I've been.  After bidding Bermande (Savas Kuyu) goodbye we went to Akshehir and Matt finished the film at the tomb of Nasreddin Hoca.  Back to Konya where we had a delicious dinner of Basterma and eggs at the FairGrounds Restaurant.  (Since this was the end of the feast of Ramadan the populace had beat us to the restaurants and the only things available for dinner were what we FEASTED on).

          Sunday, July 10th  Went to see the Mevlani Museum (whirling Dervashes) and the Archeological Museum in Konya.  Then to Aksehir to pick up the silk screens of the Hoca.  Then we drove over the Sultana Mt. range to beautiful Lake Egridir and lunch at Derya.  Excellent Fish(Levrek).  (an incident on the mountain road.  We wanted cheese to go with the yalekmek and the stores were  closed.  So Necarti asked some people where we could buy some cheese.  They not only "gave" us the cheese, but a big bunch of cherries.  Just beautiful!)  Passed into Menderes valley to Isparta.  Then Dinar where Matt's uncles were born.  Raining pretty heavily.  When we reached Pamukkale it was a sight to behold.  Looks like Niagra Falls Frozen.  Or a big batch of soap that flooded out of a machine.  What it is is a petrified limestone formation.  As the water flows it dries into stalactites.  We're at the Koru motel where they have about five warm water pools  overlooking the valley. Water is heavily sulphated and not refreshing.

          Monday July 11th.  Saw ruins of Hieropolos there at Pamukkale then we drove to Ephesus.  Some beautiful archaic finds.  So much to see.  Went to the "House of the Virgin Mary". then to the Museum.  Back to Izmir to pack for our departure tomorrow.

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