The city of Izmir boasts a very strange shape. It sits on a natural harbour that is unusually long and deep. This means that the city stretches out for great distances on either side. It is almost like they occupy two sides of a river. Because of this, transport around the city is not always straightforward. Both the metro and the road system has to travel a long way to go from one side of the harbour to the other. This means it is often easier to use the ferry.
Our journey to Karsiyaka from Bornova proved how tricky it was to travel. We decided to go there using a Dolmus (a cross between a minibus and a taxi that is hugely popular across Turkey). The journey was long and cramped. The dolmus had about 30 people in it and we were left standing in a highly confined and airless area. It also seemed to go on forever. The journey must have taken well-over an hour as we winded our way around the tip of the harbour. As I was nursing something of a major hangover, this was not at all pleasant.
Eventually we reached Karsiyaka and enjoyed an hour or so of shopping before deciding to return to the southern half of the city. Instead of taking the dolmus back – which I am not sure I could have faced – we took the ferry which proved to be a very pleasant, albeit slightly blustery experience. The ferry runs between Karsiyaka and Konak taking a north to south axis and takes about 10 or 15 minutes. It costs just 2TL and is a very pleasant way to get about the city … much better than the dolmus.
When we took the ferry, the weather was not what you would describe as 100% pleasant. It was extremely windy and there was just a hint of rain in the air. Despite this, we decided to sit on the upper-deck of the ferry. The seating area was covered, but open at the sides, so we were by no means warm. However, we were able to take in some of the rather firm sea-breeze, which was rather pleasant. As it was quite windy the water was a little choppy, but nothing too serious.
Sadly, the view around Izmir is not as wonderful as you might expect. There are plenty of mountains around to give it an imposing feel, but the city itself is rather industrial in parts, so we found ourselves looking out at shipyards and passing scores of container ships that were waiting for their passage to the Black Sea. However, I would certainly recommend taking a ferry trip in Izmir as it is the quickest way to get across the city and is far more refreshing than a Dolmus or the Metro.