09 August 2013

June 9 and 10: Nazlihan Hotel

Our destination after Troy is the Nazlihan, a “boutique” hotel in Assos (or Behramkale), on the Aegean coast. It’s about 2 hours south of Troy, an hour and a half drive on the main highway and then another half hour on a secondary road.

The city of Assos was founded about 1000 BC by settlers from Lesbos, a large island off the coast of what is now Turkey. In 530 BC, the people of Assos built a Doric Temple to Athena on top of a large crag. A couple centuries later, Assos was ruled by King Hermias, who encouraged philosophers to come to the temple and the city. The most famous philosopher who came was Aristotle, who lived there from 348-345 BC. We could see ruins of the temple from the bus, but did not stop to explore.

Our hotel is down the steep seaward side of Assos. And I mean steep! I had to close my eyes as our big bus maneuvered a couple of the sharp switchbacks down the hill. In fact, the bus couldn’t get all the way down to the hotel. We had the option of walking or taking a shuttle: I walked.

This is the view looking south from on top of the hill at Assos. The island in the distance is Lesbos, which is part of Greece. (Yes, lesbian derives from Lesbos.)

Assos view

This view shows the jetty that forms a small harbor in front of the hotel area.

Assos view

The views from the seaside near the hotel are amazing. The water is turquoise, the air cool, and Lesbos is in a slight haze in the distance. Sails and flags ripple in the salt-tinged breeze. The hotels are on the right, the jetty on the left in these views.

Assos view

Assos view

This is the swimming area. Only one couple of our group took advantage of this great swimming spot. John and I meant to, but were drawn to the outside tables for beers instead. We didn’t get checked into the hotel until almost 7 pm, and left right after breakfast the next morning.

Assos swimming area

My feet in the pebbly - actually stony - water.

feet in water

We settle into our room in the Nazlihan. It’s small and funky. We begin to realize that “boutique” is not synonymous with “luxurious”. The hotel structure was used as an acorn storage house during the 1890s; it was renovated as a hotel in the 1990s. I described our room in my journal: “tiny, moldy, hot, noisy, uncomfortable”. We spent less than 12 hours at the Nazlihan, most of that eating and trying to sleep. It would have been nice to have had a couple more hours to swim and relax in the seaside chairs.

The front of the hotel is shown in the photos below. It opens into a big two-story entryway, with a stairway to rooms on the second floor. Birds flew into the entryway. That was cute, but those birds were noisy and they pooped everywhere.

Nazlihan

Nazlihan

It was good to have free wi-fi at the Nazlihan. The Divan charged daily for wi-fi and none of us purchased it. So by 4 days into our tour, we really wanted to check our emails and connect with family and friends. We also looked up news of the Istanbul protests. There is still unrest, but nothing noteworthy happened June 9-10; we had been a bit worried because the crowds were escalating. It was good to know that our protester friends were safe.

Our favorite feature of the hotel was the outside tables and the great Greek food served at dinner. It was a lovely place to sit, drink, eat, chat, and enjoy the view.

eating area

A cat came to visit us at the tables.

Assos cat

The youngest member of our tour said she had seen a litter of kittens out in the rocks on the jetty. So she and I walked out to take a peek.

Assos kittens

The kitten on the left looks so much like my cat that it startles me.

Assos kitten

My cat when she was a kitten:

my cat

Cats and dogs roam freely throughout Turkey. They don’t belong to anyone, nor are they feral. They are friendly and always willing to share your meal, or get petted, but are not pushy. Both dogs and cats were street-wise. In general, Turks seem comfortable with the free-roaming dogs and cats, and are against euthanasia as a form of animal control. Instead, laws have been passed requiring trap-spay/neuter-vaccinate/treat and release of the strays. Many dogs that we saw had tags indicating such treatment. Here are a couple web articles if you would like further reading: Legal Nomads and Animal Behavior Associates.

We had to leave the cute kittens and go eat dinner. I snapped a photo of our hotel from the jetty.

hotel area from jetty

The experience at the Nazlihan was interesting. The Assos seaport is really lovely. But John and I will be leery of “boutique” hotels in the future.

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