Victoria’s (Turkish) secrets – VIII
In need of a little retail therapy during your holiday in Turkey? Let Victoria Liechti, Client Services Manager at Kusadasi Golf & Spa Resort, guide you to nearby Soke’s shopping opportunities.
In my element
Staying at Kusadasi Golf & Spa Resort, or like me having the privilege to work there, means being surrounded by wonderful scenery on all sides whether looking over Davutlar, Long Beach and towards the Greek island of Samos; across to the mountains and forests of Milli Park; or down over Soke’s green agricultural plains.
There is so much to do in this area: nature trekking, walking, the adventure of a jeep safari, horseback riding, discovering history, or simply strolling around the modern yacht marina and a shopping centre…
Not forgetting, of course, the wonderful 72-par golf course sitting on the resort doorstep!
If you are an experienced golfer, this 18-hole course is challenging with its narrow fairways and undulating terrain. But even if you are a novice, or have never even picked up a club before, there is a great Academy where you can receive introductory lessons on the driving range, which nestles in the slopes below the clubhouse. The clubhouse is an amazing bar and restaurant location with 360 degree views, sumptuous interior and tranquil atmosphere; perfect for a quiet coffee with a book, an indulgent brunch or a delicious evening meal. If you don’t play golf, there’s nothing to stop you heading there for a lovely breakfast to appreciate it all, before leaving the resort and turning right towards the town of Soke.
Soke town’s lively open air market, offering a great variety of textiles as well as fresh fruit and vegetables harvested from the fertile lands of the area, becomes very busy and is visited by locals and tourists alike every Wednesday. The town is reputed for its immense agricultural lands, with cotton, grain and olives the most produced crops on these lush plains.
From the resort – and just 10km door-to-door with free parking available – is the recently-opened Novada shopping centre, at the main junction of Soke with the Izmir road. There are many recognised brand labels sold here, such as Adidas and Nike, as well as popular Turkish branded goods. For example, there is D&R selling CDs and DVDs, Mudo with both homeware and male/female fashions, Desa for leather shoes, bags and jackets, Tekin Acar for perfumes or cosmetics, and Boyner – with many famous products at outlet prices.
On the left of the shopping centre you will find a Kipa Extra, part of the Tesco Group of companies. Here’s you’ll find many products you are familiar with, the shop layout will echo with those who know the supermarket giant’s stores and you can even buy their own brand F&F clothing! Towards the back of the shopping centre are many places to eat, fast food joints such as McDonalds, Burger King, Turkish pide/pizza places and sit-down restaurants. Keep on walking and you’ll find a children’s fun area with merry-go-rounds and a mini train which travels around the shopping centre, as well as a large covered children’s play warehouse with many activities.
Culture at the centre!
For a break from retail therapy you can head towards the Otantika Museum, which is Turkey’s only museum within a shopping centre! Not only does it house a magnificent collection of Ottoman wedding dresses, handmade dowry chests, intricately stitched accessories and antique furniture, but there is a restaurant offering Aegean food specialties. These include stuffed vine leaves, cheese pastries and many flavours of pancakes (gozleme), prepared freshly in front of you in the traditional way by two lovely ladies. Not only that, there’s also a gift shop offering souvenirs and mementoes, both antique and replica. To finish off your tour, visit their Turkish Coffee House where coffee beans are ground in old mortars and cooked over hot sand. If you’ve time, take an hour or two to browse through the museum with a guide giving you the history of the pieces, which are mostly from a private collection.
Exiting Novada, if you gave the authentic Turkish coffee experience a miss you can always stop at internationally known Starbucks, just by the car park on the way out. Which just about sums up Turkey, so much that is ancient alongside so much that is modern, and all easily experienced when staying at Kusadasi Golf & Spa Resort.
Hope to see you here soon!