My Vegan Road Trip Across Cape Cod

For those of us living in the northeastern corridor of the United States, summer means one thing.. Cape Cod beaches!

I have spent many a summer day since my youth, along the southern coast of my beloved state of Massachusetts! The cobblestone roads, grayish clapboard houses, and gorgeous beaches make this the perfect warm weather destination! It really fills my heart with joy, now that the Cape region is becoming increasingly vegan-friendly! A couple of years ago, I had written blog posts, regarding my quest for vegan dining across Cape Cod (the post urls are included at the end of this article). However, My desire for a new excursion along the Cape was fueled by the fact that there have been more recent additions to the vegan dining scene there! This recent jaunt was not focused on any particular region of Cape Cod, but spanned from Lower to the Outer Cape.

It had recently come to my attention that a bagel shop, located on the Upper Cape, was offering some vegan breakfast items. My breakfast selection at Jo Mama’s (Jo Mama’s NY Bagels) was a jalapeno bagel filled with vegan ‘chicken’, avocado, and tomato with vegan cream cheese. The bagel was perfectly chewy and moist, while the faux ‘chicken’ was quite flavorful with fresh veggies! What a great way to start the day! The restaurant has two locations: Brewster and Orleans.
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I decided to drive around the region for a while, exploring and admiring the landscapes. When lunch time had arrived, I headed to the town of Mashpee. This town is more residential, boasting of well-to-do homes and golf courses. The Mashpee Commons is a large, contemporary shopping and restaurant plaza. I dined at Sienna Grill (Sienna Grill). They offer a separate vegan menu, upon request. For lunch, I opted for the grilled eggplant and asparagus over Himalayan red rice. After all, how can anyone pass up some grilled food during the summer months?! My meal was absolutely delicious! The presentation of the food was superb. The outdoor dining under umbrella covered tables made for a magnificent atmosphere! It was wonderful to find new, vegan dining options in the Upper Cape region.

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After my exquisite lunch, I had to make great haste in order to get to my next destination before its early evening closing time! The town of Truro, on the lower Cape, was over one hour away by car. Fortunately, being mid-week, I did not encounter the typical traffic flow! I made it there in time! Chequessett Chocolates (Chequessett Chocolates) is a quaint chocolate boutique that creates their own homemade chocolates from top quality cocoa beans that have been locally grown in an eco-friendly environment.

Shelves of various varieties of chocolates bars, many of which are vegan, greet you at first glance towards the back wall of the shop.
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Other shelves and displays showcase a variety of chocolate treats such as peppermint patties, chocolate bark, and truffles.
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Upon entering the shop, you see a glass display case of raw chocolate sweets such as macaroons, tarts, and other items. Most of the treats are vegan.
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I purchased a dark chocolate bar flavored with sea salt. This was appropriate, as it was a seaside locale.
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My next purchase was a dark chocolate lollipop shaped like a seashell. Obviously this choice was a must-have, due to my beach destination!
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Finally, the piece de resistance…a raw chocolate tartlet! A outer shell of chocolate and finely chopped nuts contained a smooth, dark chocolate filling. The taste was absolutely superb! Decadent and sweet, yet offering the anti-oxidant benefits of dark chocolate & cocoa, it was an excellent choice! All of my chocolate purchases were tasty. I recommend this chocolate shop to any vegan visitors on the Cape! It was crucial that I only took a couple of small bites, as I had to leave room in my stomach for the next vegan delicacy on my itinerary.
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Orleans was a fairly short distance away. My twenty minute ride took me to an ice cream shop called “Ice Cream Café” (Ice Cream Café ). This was something that I was really looking forward to! Finally, Cape Code had an actual ice cream shop that offered a couple of vegan flavors! I had waited for years, hoping this would come into fruition. The staff told me that they offer vanilla, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate twist soft serve on a regular basis; and that they typically offer one hard ice cream flavor that is vegan. This particular day, the vegan hard ice cream flavor was granola. I opted for the chocolate-vanilla twist soft serve. Wow! It was really, REALLY yummy! I was so excited!
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My hunger pangs had been satisfied, so it was time to hit the road and get to some of those amazing beaches, for which Cape Cod has earned it’s distinguished reputation. Along the way, the coastal route leads to some picturesque ponds. Various size boats and canoes can be seen on the waters.
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I first visited Cook’s Brook Beach in the town of Eastham. This small beach is located on the bayside of town. The silky smooth sands and gentle waves make this a wonderful choice for a lazy afternoon or for evening relaxation.
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The sun was just beginning to set as I was leaving the beach. It was breath-taking!
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My schedule afforded me the time to visit one additional beach. Again, my goal was to find a beach that was new to me..one that I had never visited before. First Encounter Beach occupies an important place in local history. This was the location of the Pilgrim’s first encounter with Native Americans, prior to their arrival in Plymouth. It is also located on Cape Cod Bay and offers small dunes and warm waters.
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As the evening progressed, my eyes were to behold a stunning sunset view!
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Dinner time had arrived. A wonderful restaurant serving South African specialties offered several vegan items on their menu. Karoo Café (Karoo Café) in Eastham is a spacious restaurant whose interior is decorated with reminders of CapeTown and its’ environs. African carvings on the wall , in addition to South African packaged foods and sauces available in the gift shop, add to the authentic ambiance of this restaurant.
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The dinner entrée I selected was a South African dish called “Pap and Chakala”. This spicy South African veggie stew consisted of cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, peas, chickpeas, and red beans, over ‘pap’; a porridge made of ground maize. What a delectable and flavorful meal!
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My day trip to explore new vegan-friendly restaurants, ice cream shops, and chocolate shops across the entire Cape Cod area had come to an end. I was very pleased to find such wonderful and new vegan treasures here! The gorgeous ocean views and tranquil beaches really made for a special day!

For more vegan-friendly dining across the Cape and Islands, please refer to my previous blog posts from the past couple of years. The following are their urls:
Upper Cape Cod: Upper Cape Cod / Outer Cape Vegan Restaurants
Lower Cape Cod: Lower Cape Cod Vegan Restaurants
Central Cape Cod: Central Cape Cod Vegan Restaurants
Provincetown: Provincetown Vegan Restaurants
Plymouth: Plymouth Vegan Restaurants
Martha’s Vineyard: Marthas Vineyard Vegan Restaurants
Nantucket: Nantucket Vegan Restaurants

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My Last Day in Turkey – A Vegan in Instanbul

The overnight bus from Canakkule had arrived back in Istanbul slightly before midnight, ending my ten day vacation in Turkey. This allowed me approximately three hours to shower and then nap, before heading to the airport for my flight back home to the United States.

It made me so happy to find a kiosk selling simits at the airport in Istanbul! I was able to enjoy this yummy vegan Turkish treat for one more time! Fresh and warm right out of the oven, made this snack feel especially wonderful!
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Onboard my Air France flight, my VGML vegan breakfast was served. A sandwich baguette filled with baby corn, eggplant slices, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers was my tasty option! It was served with a succulent bowl of mixed fruit. Air France knows how to take care of vegans!
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Several hours had elapsed and lunch time had drawn near. I was served the VGML vegan entree of couscous with raisins and sliced zucchini, a salad, a sweet bread, and some mixed fruit. The meal was very flavorful!
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For an afternoon dessert snack, a sweet croissant was my offering.
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As my flight landed back in Boston, I reminisced about my amazing ten day vacation in Turkey! The wonderful vegan foods, the ornate palaces and beautiful churches and mosques in Istanbul, the fascinating rock formations in Cappadocia, the breath-taking calcium thermal water pools in Pamukkale, the impressive ancient city ruins at Ephesus, and the legendary civilization of Troy would all be permanently ingrained in my mind!

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My Vegan Travels to Troy(Canakkule), Turkey

The last official day of my eight day tour of Turkey had begun! The overnight bus arrived at my destination in the coastal city of Canukkale. Prior to the tour, the tour company had arranged for us to stay for a few hours at an intermediary hotel:”Hotel Helen” to get some rest and to freshen up. Breakfast was included. My morning meal included slices of crusty bread with cherry jam, apricot slices, raisins, as well as olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Tea was my am beverage of choice. The meal filled me up and energized me enough to start my day!
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The day’s tour would take us to the location of the ancient civilization of Troy. Our morning was free, however, since the tour did not start until early afternoon. This gave me ample time to get some much needed rest after several days of amazing, non-stop sightseeing with lots of walking and hiking. My refreshing nap gave way to lunch time. While this city did not really have many vegan dining options, I was fortunate enough to find a vegan-friendly restaurant called “Cafeka” (Cafeka Restaurant) across the street from the hotel. it appears that their online menu does not include the vegan-friendly meal that I selected from their hardcopy menu. I dined on Spaghetti Napolitano (not made with eggs) in a lovely tomato sauce, adorned with sliced tomatoes and green herbs. It was really good!
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The tour guide arrived promptly in the early afternoon. It was a surreal experience to finally be visiting Troy: a site only previously known to me through my childhood literature! Granted, an actual “Trojan Horse” has never been found at the site. It may have only been a figment of author Homer’s imagination. However, excavations of the land have proven that civilizations did indeed call this region their home. Likewise, the Trojan War most likely did occur. Nine layers of civilizations were excavated at the Troy site.

Upon arrival at Troy, we are first greeted at the entrance, with a large replica of a Trojan Horse. The wooden figure was built during the 1970s. It was so much fun climbing the wooden staircase inside the horse, to its first level, followed by a climb up a wooden ladder to its second level. I peeked through an upper window of the horse, onto the landscape below.
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Troy’s grounds accommodate the remnants of ancient buildings. While the Trojan Horse may in fact be legend, there is actually archaeological evidence of several periods of civilization that lived here. From 3000 BC until 500 AD, nine civilizations called this place their home.

Authentic pottery excavated at Troy was displayed at the entrance to the excavation site.
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Knocked down pillars ravaged by storm and earthquakes lay strewn to the ground.
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Stone pieces with Greek writings are also found among the ruins at the site.
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The Troy VI level ruins included a house structure.
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We strolled further down the walkway and encountered a wall on the right from the Troy VII layer of the city. The wall to the left is from the Greek Troy VI period.
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The Trojan War is thought to have occurred during the Troy VII period between the 12th and 14th centuries, in these fields that meet the sea. Evidence of fires and human massacre points to the belief that the city was captured by the Greeks.
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A Temple to Athena was built on these grounds during Troy VIII.
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The stony walls are marked with indicators as to which period is referenced. The following shows the clear demarcation of the Troy III and Troy IV civilizations.
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A walkway ramp made of stone can be found at Troy II.
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Roman Baths are located at the Troy IX level.
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An Odion Theater is also located at the Troy IX area.
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When our afternoon tour completed, we headed down the hill to our van and drove back to Canakkule center.

A movie about Troy was filmed in 2004 starring Brad Pitt. Though it was filmed in Malta, the actual Trojan Horse from the film was sent to Canukkale and is proudly displayed by the waterfront.
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My tour of beautiful Turkey had come to an end! Our tour group members were transported by ferry for a ten minute ride to a town on the other side of the Aegean Sea. From the ferry, I glanced back at Canukkale from the gorgeous views of the ocean!
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Once we arrived, a minivan awaited us to take us back to Istanbul for our flight home.

We made a quick rest stop along our coastal drive. A playful flock of geese were wading along the edge of the Aegean Sea!

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Our guide gave us a dinner break at a large rest stop for tour buses. The restaurant there offered a plentiful buffet. My entree included sauteed eggplant, green peppers, and potatoes and a bowl of lentil soup. The meal was delicious!
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For dessert, I selected a vegan treat made of chickpeas and raisins in a syrup base, with a slice of watermelon. This soup-like sweet appeared to be a version of the Turkish “Asure” or “Noah’s Pudding”. I really enjoyed it!
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As our drive continued back to Istanbul, we noticed a rainbow forming over the Aegean! What a perfect ending to a magnificent vacation in Turkey!
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I spent the remainder of the journey just admiring the views from the window, until we arrived back in Istanbul. A temporary room at the hotel had been arranged for me to take a shower and to get some rest, prior to heading to the airport for my return flight back to the USA.

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My Vegan Travels to Kusadasi(Ephesus), Turkey

Day#8 of my Turkey vacation had arrived!

Breakfast at my Kusadasi hotel was served poolside, on the outdoor patio overlooking the Aegean Sea! My breakfast included Turkish figs, watermelon, bread and jam, and part of my leftover simit from the previous day. I must re-iterate how wonderful the local figs and simits are!
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As I walked outside for our tour bus pickup, I glanced at the hotel’s entrance and noticed the ever-so-popular blue eye symbol(to ward off evil) on a glass ornament hanging on the lobby wall.
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This was to be an exciting day! The ancient city of Ephesus was first on our agenda. This ancient Greek city was built several centuries BC. The State Agora was the political center of ancient Ephesus, built around the 6th century BC. Governmental matters were discussed here.
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The individual markets’ walls have been knocked to the ground due to earthquakes over the centuries.
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To the north of the state agora was the market basilica. This arcade was used for commercial business, as well as law court meetings. It was constructed during the first century AD during the reign of Roman emperor Augustus. Initially, it consisted of Ionic columns. However when Augustus came into power, he changed the columns into Corinthian order.
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The Varius Baths were built during the Hellinistic Period, then upgraded during Roman and Byzantine times. These marble baths offered both hot and cold water. During the 2nd century AD, sitting rooms and reading rooms were added.
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The Odeon is a small theater constructed around 150 AD. It was used primarily for concerts and plays. Corinthian style columns made of granite adorn the upper part of the theater.
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Fragments of pillars and rooms of a royal family’s home, lie in the space adjacent to the Odeon.
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The Prytaneion contained administrative offices, with a large hall and courtyard. Religious ceremonies and banquets were held here. A sacred flame remained permanently lit, representing the heart of Ephesus.
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The Memmius Monument was a memorial built to Caius, son of Caius, and grandson to dictator Sulla. Their likenesses appear sculpted into the stones, signifying Sulla’s victory over those who had attacked the Romans. It was erected in the first century AD during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It was eventually converted to a fountain, 300 years later.
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We next walk by what are the remains of an altar dedicated to Artemis.
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Domitan was the first emperor who allowed the Ephesians to dedicate monuments to the Romans. More recent research has indicated that it was emperor Titus, for whom the temple was dedicated. The other significant act from Domitan was that he had banished St. John to the Greek island of Patmos.
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A stone carving, dedicated to the goddess Nike can be found at Ephesus. She represents victory, strength, and speed.
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On the opposite side of the plaza, a stone carved relief of a snake is located. This is the symbol currently used to represent the medical field.
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Curetes Street comes into view. This long pedestrian way leads to the Library of Ephesus. The main street begins after passing through “Hercule’s Gate”: large, upright stone columns, with the likeness of Hercules carved into them.
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Trajan Fountain was built during the 2nd century to honor the emperor Trajan. The fountain’s pool was decorated with statues of Dionysus, Aphrodite, and Satyr, and members of the emperor’s family.
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Terraced houses lined with gorgeously tiled floors were located on a hill to our left. These were “houses of the rich”. Six residences were built on three terraces, of which the oldest dated back to the year 1 BC. Their heating system used clay pipes beneath floors and walls. Cold and hot running water also were available in the homes.
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The Temple of Hadrian was located across the street, to the right. Now under renovation, it is one of the best-preserved and appealing structures in Ephesus. It was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian who visited here from Athens in 128 AD. The façade of the temple has four Corinthian columns. Within the temple, above the door, a Medusa figure with leaves displays. Pedestals in front of the temple contain inscriptions for statues of the ancient emperors of that period. To the sides of the door, friezes of several mythological gods and goddesses appear.
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The Scolastica Baths contained public toilets for the ancient city. The latrines were lined up against the wall and had an underground drainage system. A fee was charged for use.
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The Library of Ephesus is found at the end of the Curetes Street. It was constructed in the year 135 AD. The reason for its construction was that Gaius Julius Aquila wanted to show respect for his father Julius Celsus Polemaenus, who was the General Governor of Asia’s Roman province at the time. The sarcophagus of Celsus was placed underground in the cellar. This was also one of the largest libraries of the time and could have contained thousands of scrolls. Corinthian columns made up the exterior front façade. The exquisite library consisted of two levels and a reading section. An additional wall within the library was built to keep heat and moisture from destroying the manuscripts. Nine steps lead up to the library’s entrance. The columns between each of the entrance’s three doors are decorated with figures representing the Wisdom, the Knowledge, the Intelligence and the Fortune.
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The commercial agora lies next to the Library. This massive square most likely contained a number of shops.
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The marble road in front of the Library led to the Great Theater. It was built on the foot of a hill, as was customary for Roman theaters at the time. It overlooked the Harbour Street. Music and theatrical performances, as well as political and religious events took place at the theater.
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The remains of a gymnasium are located beyond the theater grounds. Vedius Gymnasium, dating back to the second century AD was granted funding by Publius Vedius Antoninus and his wife Flavia Papiana. Young Ephesians could attend the gymnasium to study sports, the arts, literature, and drama.
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Ephesus was such an interesting place to visit! Our next stop was for a lunchtime meal. Our guide brought us to the Galata Restaurant. My appetizer consisted of eggplant and zucchini sauteed in a tomato sauce with a side of tomatoes and cucumbers and a second appetizer of fried, long green chili peppers cooked in olive oil with stewed tomatoes. My main entrée was fried potatoes slices. For dessert, I was given some watermelon. This was a satisfying and tasty lunch! Green peppers, eggplant(aubergine), and zucchini are staple vegetables in Turkish cuisine. Vegans will be happy to find these veggies cooked in various forms here: stir fried, baked, fried, and sauteed.
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Next on our itinerary was The House Of The Virgin Mary. She was said to have lived here during the last several years of her life. Apostle John brought her to this spot on top of a hill. The house’s location was determined by revelations from a visionary nun. It is now a shrine. A small room to the right, is where it is thought The Virgin Mary slept. An underground spring provided running water to her in the house, and it led to the current fountain outside of the building.
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Our following stop was the Temple of Artemis, nearby in modern day Selcuk. The Greek temple was dedicated to the ancient goddess Artemis. Only its foundations and statues remain, after its destruction centuries ago. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis was the twin of Apollo, according to ancient myth. She was one of the most venerated dieties of the ancient Greek world.
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Our day’s tour had come to an end. We arrived back in Kusadasi, where we were to spend the remainder of the afternoon.

I headed over to the Bazaar. Small shops sold their wares, including pottery, clothing, jewelry, and little statuettes of local attractions.
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While awaiting my overnight bus, I walked around the center of town. Beyond the roadway roundabout, the palm trees met the Aegean Sea. Other trees with gorgeous deep pink flowers lined the boardwalk.
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My walk along the waterfront was so relaxing. I was just strolling along, admiring the seaside view!
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Dinner time had arrived. With my luggage in tow and only a couple of hours to spare before my overnight transport arrives, my dining options were limited to the waterfront boardwalk. Besides Saray Restaurant where I dined last night, the other two vegan-friendly restaurants(Avlu Restaurant and Koy Sofrasi Restaurant) in town were not within a feasible walking distance. One of the restaurants along the waterfront had outdoor seating and a magnificent ocean view, so I decided to dine there. For my dinner, I chose a salad. My beverage was the freshly squeezed orange juice. Earlier in the afternoon, I had purchased a simit at a bakery across the street, so I ate that along with my meal. It was satisfying and filling.
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Prior to meeting my overnight bus to Cannakale, I strolled along the Kusadasi waterfront and admired the glorious view of the Aegean Sea at sunset!
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I truly enjoyed my educational and fascinating tour of Ephesus, The House Of The Virgin Mary, and the Temple of Artemis this fine day! As my overnight bus to Cannakale drove off into the sunset, my mind was filled with happy thoughts of my upcoming tour of Troy on the following day!

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Spas & Nature for this Vegan in Pamukkale- Heading to Kusadasi!

Day#7 of my Turkey vacation was the only “Free Day” of my trip. Fortunately, guests can experience many amenities at my hotel in Pamukkale!

I started my day with a nice breakfast in the hotel dining room. A large simit(gotta LOVE those!) with strawberry jam, a plum, and dates comprised the sweet portion of my meal, while green and purple olives, sliced tomatoes, and cucumbers provided savory goodness!

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I decided to go for a walk in the hotel’s garden and pool area outside. My enjoyable morning relaxation began with swinging back and forth on a hammock within the beautiful, tree-lined garden. This was such a tranquil and lovely experience! Turkish pop music was being played on the poolside radio.
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Palm trees, various shrubs and some flowers graced the gorgeous area behind the hotel. I even saw different types of birds flying above in the skies and landing on the lamp posts beside me.
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Adjacent to the hammock area, a large pool and a smaller thermal pool are found. I dipped my legs into the healing, warm waters of the thermal pool. What a soothing and calming environment!
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Next on my day’s agenda was a visit to the hotel’s spa. In Pamukkale, spas offer a clay mask treatment using the clay from the bottom of the wonderful thermal pools in the region. That is what I just had to experience for myself! It was quite soothing and my face glowed afterwards with clean pores! The esthetician even gave me several packets of clay mask treatments to take home with me.
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My lunch options in the hotel were somewhat limited. However, I was able to have ‘apple’ potato large slices fried in veggie oil. They were not greasy and were indeed tasty. For a side dish, a nice salad filled my tummy. The food was fresh and well-prepared.
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My dessert was a plate of mixed fruit: watermelon, plum, sliced bananas, and cherries. This was a great treat!
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At approximately 3pm, my transportation had arrived to take me on a five hour ride to my next destination: the city of Kusadasi.

Along the way, the landscape provided changing vistas of hills and plains and various trees. We came across many fields of olive trees. Turkish olives are renowned worldwide and seem to be incorporated into every meal of the day.
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This region of Turkey is also known for its oranges. We drove past many fields of orange trees also. I really enjoyed drinking orange juice with many of my meals throughout my vacation in Turkey!
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After a couple of hours had elapsed, our bus driver stopped at a rest area for the obligatory restroom and snacks break. I found a wonderful beverage at the rest stop’s café. It was a delicious, freshly squeezed strawberry juice!
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I also purchased some Turkish figs to appease my hunger during the afternoon bus journey. They were really flavorful!
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Some lovely, purple flowers graced our window view from our bus seats, as we continued to make our way to Kusadasi.
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We finally arrived in the seaside resort town of Kusadasi. The sun was setting over the Aegean and provided such gorgeous views!
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After freshening up at my hotel, I headed to the Ladie’s Beach waterfront for dinner. Saray Restaurant(Saray Restaurant) is known to be one of the few vegan-friendly restaurants in the area. I dined on an entrée of Vegetable goulash containing various vegetables(cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant) with rice. The homestyle cooking entrée was filling and really tasty.
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Entertainers graced the walkway between the beach and the row of restaurants and shops.

Break dancers performed their fancy moves to old and new pop music.
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Restaurant waitstaff grabbed some diners to perform some Turkish line dances to local music. Nightlife in this town truly comes into “full swing” by the waters edge! Dancing, singing, revelry can all be found here! All in all, it was a fun night on the waterfront!
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As I headed back to my hotel, my thoughts turned to the interesting day ahead with my upcoming visit to the ancient ruins at Ephesus!

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