Burton Dane Travels

We're traveling through Europe and parts nearby for a year. We'll be posting our pix and adventures here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back to Turkey Meraba and Yassus!

Imagine our delight to find we could easily get to yet another bazaar in Ayvalik, Turkey from Mytilini, Greece! The two countries share baklava, volcanos and a great deal of animosity but they are separated only about 12 miles of Aegean sea. The ferry lines hold the key to tourism through Greece and the Greece/Turkey line is especially controlling as the fare doubled during the week, ironically, for us to return for a joint Greek/Turk culture festival.
As the Greek flag waved on the boat, the boat departed a stunning two hours late (no explanations or expectations) and we amused ourselves by watching the port scene. A handsome tern wheeled, almost grazing my face, among the fishing boats dipping at mini fish playing in the warm, satiny water. This fell away as we sped toward Turkey and the Greek flag rolled closed while the larger Turkish flag spread open.
The festival was delightful and well-meaning and we met a fascinating Turkish illustrator, watched diverse Greek dances and 2 movies documenting the population swap between the two countries in 1922. Ben was able to play chess for hours with the local Turkish club and there were displays of Greek ceramics and handicraft. A surprise addition for us was the shadowplay puppetry--Turkish AND Greek--that we fell in love with in Athens but were not able to see. In the Fall, the event switches to Mytilini to host. No doubt the festival took a great deal of trouble on both sides to bring on and we thank them for the effort.
We had a full plate of things to do in Turkey. There are day excursions, swimming and boating along the islands of Turkey after which we were fed exhorbitant amounts of the best fried anchovies and salad--swimming over open ocean is not something Ben or I do lightly but we really had a great time. We went to Troy, legendary city of Homer and wars--apparently the WWI Gallipoli stand-off is considered by some to be the last Trojan War--then staggered back to Ayvalik in the wee hours.
On our return, after the ferry boat driver rolled away the Turkish flag and rolled out the Greek flag, we walked across a soapy welcome mat (Avian Flu) before landing again in Greece.


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