Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Little Greek Island

Last night, just after I signed off, we walked in to town in search of a nice sit down dinner. We settled on a place and ordered what we thought would be similar to an oven baked kabob (oddly called a tasty kabob) we had in Cappadocia a few days back. Well it was oven baked. And delicious. And firey!

It even came with its own table. Wow. I have no idea how we finished that cauldron off by ourselves, but somehow we did. And still managed to eat some of the watermelon they brought out to us afterwards (that seems to be the custom in Turkey). Having been placed into a food coma, it was all we could do to walk back to our hotel to pass out!

Today though, we were up bright and early to catch an early ferry to Chios, a Greek island about 5 km or so off the west coast of Cesme (more passport stamps yey!). 

We didn't really have a plan before going there, but ended up renting a car and driving around the south half of the island for the day..!

Oh Hyundai. Why don't you put better air conditioners in your cars?

First up was a visit to an 11th century monastery Nea Moni - with incredible mosaics (I've said that before, but no eyes gouged out in these ones). 

It's actually a convent now (still apparently active with three nuns). The grounds were completely open, and we were able to explore anything we wanted. We even picked and ate some grapes growing overhead along a path.

We also learned about the Ottoman massacre of Chios, which left most of the Greek population of the island dead or displaced. In 1822. Touchy subject, but I would have loved to have learned the Turkish spin on that one! (The Greeks have no problem calling it a massacre) 

A quick drive further across the island brought us to some fantastic ruins of a town called Anavatosas high on a hill, which yes we did climb! 

After some water, we stopped for a late lunch near a beach town, called Lithi, with a beautiful view of the sea and tasty local, fresh fish. Then we tried to navigate our way around the rest of the island. 

A beautiful beach at a town called Komi was our last stop, where we tried some Greek beer (Alpha). Actually, Aoife wanted an Amstel, but the waiter wouldn't let us order it: "why don't you try Greek beer instead" (it was not a question). As the heat was getting to me and time was short (see note re no air conditioning in the car), we raced back to port, arriving back at the town of Chios just before 6:00 (our scheduled departure time). 

A nice shot of Cesme coming in to port:

As we were both exhausted from the day (Me because of the heat; Aoife likely because of my fast driving on narrow curvy mountain roads), it was a quick dinner at the hotel, and then back to the room for showers and an early night. 

Tomorrow we are scheduled to go on a swimming tour on a boat that will explore the coast near Cesme, dropping us off at various beaches to swim for the day. I will bring a book. And sunscreen. And a bathing suit to take a dip to cool off! Report to follow. 

Talk to you all soon,

Paul and Aoife. 

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