Devorah Lev-Tov

Writing ⋅ Editing ⋅ Consulting

Devorah Lev-Tov is a writer and editor with 12 years' experience. She writes about food, travel, luxury, and lifestyle for multiple publications including The New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and National Geographic. An ex-pat from the publishing world, she is also an illustrated nonfiction book editor, with expertise in developmental editing and cookbook/recipe editing. In addition, she has several years' experience in event marketing and nonprofit copywriting. She's eaten her way through Central and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, and much of the United States.

Filtering by Tag: Ephesus

Turkey: Kirazli Köy

When we decided to go to Ephesus, I began to look for places to stay. There are a few surrounding towns with accommodations in the area: Kusadasi, which is on the water and popular with the cruise crowd; Selçuk which is the town where Ephesus is actually located but lacks character; and Şirince, a charming town that is famous for it's fruit wines, and apparently, expensive hotels. After poking around lots of hotel websites I decided to check out AirBnB. For those who have never used it, AirBnB is a site that lets home owners rent out all our part of their homes for as little as one night or as long as they wish. The owners have the power to accept or reject any guest applicant and can decide how much to charge.

On there, I found the adorable and affordable Artists Studio in the village of Kirazli, about 15 minutes away from Ephesus. I liked this option because we would have our own studio, completely separate form the owners' house next door so we would have complete privacy, and at $60 a night it was the cheapest thing I'd seen that wasn't a hostel. Plus, Kirazli looked like a very interesting and traditional village, which was more along the lines of what we were interested in.

As we approached Kirazli (which is accessible by a Dolmus that drives from Selçuk to Kusadasi, but we had rented a car), after driving through it's neighbor-village, Gokcealan, we could hardly contain our excitement. This seemed to be the real deal: a traditional Turkish village complete with stone houses and tractors. Not only is Kirazli a traditional Köy, or village, but it is an organic one at that. All the farms are organic and the village has begun working together to market their cottage industry products of jams, preserves, and oils.

There is a farmer's market every Sunday and a small stand set up everyday (where we bought some homemade pasta that we later cooked in India, which was fabulous), and several excellent restaurants serving traditional village food, like koftë (meatballs), manti (meat-stuffed pasta triangles in a tomato sauce and topped with yogurt), and gözleme (thin pancakes with cheese filling).

The most popular restaurant is the Köy Sofrasi, right on the main road as you enter the village, and it did not disappoint.

Our other favorite meal was at what appeared to be someone's home. We sat outside as the wife/mother worked away in the kitchen right inside, serving up possibly the best köfte in Turkey.

Not to mention, everyone in the village is incredibly friendly. The village itself is beautiful. Kirazli means cherry in Turkish and the surrounding mountains are filled with cherry and pine trees, although it wasn't cherry season when we were there, unfortunately. (Although I'm pretty sure it was grape season) There are several hiking trails leading out from the village and it's very easy to be outdoorsy there.

Our hosts at the Artist's Studio were wonderful. Karyn, originally from Wales, built the stone house in the traditional village style five years ago and has become a real part of the community. You can read her blog here. She and her friend Nick know everything about Kirazli and the surrounding area, and they also serve excellent breakfasts and snacks, of course using mostly local ingredients. The Studio was the perfect base for us to explore Ephesus and beyond and we were sad to leave after only two nights.

Turkey: Ephesus

After three wonderful days in Istanbul we hopped on a short flight to Izmir, 564 kilometers south of Istanbul. We took an early morning flight so we could have still spend a full day at Ephesus. We rented a car and after getting lost trying to find the airport exit and subsequently trying to get on a toll road without the proper card, we made our way to Ephesus, about an hour fro Izmir. Ephesus was a major capital city and part of the Ionian League in the classical Greek era and was also a major city in Roman times. It has ruins dating back thousands of years. It used to be home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, but it was destroyed in the year 401 CE. Okay, enough history. We were thrilled to be there in the fall when there are supposedly less crowds and the heat is a little more merciful. It was still quite hot, and there was still a lot of tour groups there, but it was manageable. We did get frustrated with the many tour groups--there seemed to be very few lone explorers like ourselves--but something I read in our guidebook helped me not get too bothered: although the crowds can be annoying, it only makes the experience more lifelike because in ancient times it was home to over 250,000 inhabitants. We opted not to get the audio guide after our disappointing experience at Topkapi Palace and simply used our guidebook and read a lot of signs. The massively imposing and beautiful façade of the Library of Celsus at the end of a long road did not disappoint, and there are also several interesting remains of temples. The large odeon theater was impressive as well. A highlight was the Terrace Houses, which many people opt out of because they cost extra money. Because of this we were rewarded with some peace and quiet (there were only about four other people there), and it's covered by a roof so we were able to cool off. Not to mention, the remains there are fascinating. You can see actual homes, resplendent with marble walls and intricate mosaics.

The worst part about Ephesus is the tacky market right outside it. This is tourism at its worst and it pained me to see people shelling out money for ugly scarves probably made in China and fake watches. Ephesus is a popular stop on the cruise circuit and I guess that's what happens? It reaffirmed my desire to never go on a cruise.


Powered by Squarespace. Background image by Devorah Lev-Tov.