chapter lx

Posts Tagged ‘Chalki

We are sitting in a cafe on the waterfront waiting for our ferry to take us away from this paradise. It has been a wonderful few days, relaxing and just hanging out. It doesn’t rain here until winter, just one sunny day after another. We have decided that floating in the Aegean is one of the favourite things that we have done here. The water is the most incredible blue, and so clear you can see to the bottom even far out. There were two beaches we went to, a white sandy beach, and a pebble beach. I think my favourite was the sandy beach, shallow way out, warm water and just lovely. When you go to the beach here, there are lounge chairs and umbrellas – the sun is way too intense not to have umbrellas. Our other favourite thing was having breakfast on the table outside. Always fresh, yoghurt, plums, feta, tomatoes, bread, honey, juice. We have eaten so well here, simple food but tasty and fresh.

We met the mother-in-law of the woman who owns the house, and she suggested that we would like to take a tour of the island, so we did. It has been inhabited for thousands of years, there are ruins from second century B.C. There is also an old monastery that was built six hundred years ago, set way up on a hill.

The whole geography is hilly and brown, very dry. There is no source of water on Chalki, it is either collected in cisterns or brought in by boat. There are roosters always crowing, and goats tied up here and there. Mourning doves are the most common bird one sees, also crows. There is another small bird that I don’t recognize.

Our days were slow and easy. Now another day of travel to get back to Istanbul. Overnight in Rhodes, ferry to Marmaris first thing in the morning, bus to Dalaman airport – as far as I can tell, there are only a couple a day, then a short flight to Istanbul. I do have reservations at a hotel when I arrive, so hopefully it is pleasant and I will stay there the whole time. I am sorry to be leaving Chalki, and Joan and Amina, but excited to explore Istanbul. From idyllic Greek island to one of the largest cities in the world.

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A few days in transit and away from wi-fi, but back again. Got to Rhodes on a ferry from Marmaris on Friday. Was it Lawrence Durell who said that arriving in Rhodes by ferry is one of life’s treats? Or maybe Henry Miller. In any case, it is a lovely sight, you can just see the knights gathered. Finally met up with Joan and Amina and we stayed at a lovely small hotel, the Hotel Africa just across the street from a beach, so spent most of the day on the beach, then walked into Old Town for dinner.
Lots of old,old buildings and too many tourist stores, but a nice town to walk around. The next morning had time to walk around a little more, and then a long bus ride to get the ferry to Chalki. The ferry was another hour or so. We arrived in Chalki late afternoon. It was like coming onto a movie set, beautiful old seaside town, red roofs, fishing boats tied up around the harbour, church towers and colourful houses ranked up the hills. No one quite knew where the house is that Joan has rented, although the owner had left the keys at a cafe on the harbour. Finally a young man arrived who took my bag and we followed him up narrow paths between buildings until we arrived at a white house with blue shutters. The keys worked, so we knew we were in the right place. However, there was no kitchen! Joan phoned the owner, and we discovered that it is upstairs and downstairs.
Two large rooms, a kitchen, bathroom, washer, and windows that open wide. We moved the table and chairs outside, so we can eat out there and play games. The views are beautiful over the harbour and town. Last night was a full moon and just stunning. We have been to two beaches and the water is so clear and warm. Walking down to town is a treat, having a snack or drink, strolling along the waterfront. The waterfront is lively all the time, lots of summer people and many cafes and tavernas. The food is fairly cheap and fresh. I am looking forward to staying here for a few more days, relaxing and enjoying Greek hospitality.

Well, this should now be Chapter lxiv as another birthday has passed. Everyone still loves me! I had an open house, and so enjoyed everyone who came by, and hope to catch up with all those who couldn’t make it. Life is good, and I am sitting in a small hotel in Istanbul right now, waiting for a bus to take me to yet another airport where I will fly to Dalaman, take a ferry to Rhodes and meet Joan and Amina for six days on the island of Chalki. The airline lost my bag on the way over, but it is waiting for me at Dalaman airport, good news.

Istanbul. Arrived late yesterday afternoon after a grueling thirty hours of travel, tired but best to stay up until bedtime and get on new time schedule. So I went out walking to find some clean clothes to put on today. A man at a little shop invited me in for tea, and took me upstairs to a balcony where we could look out over the city, the Bosphorous, the Blue Mosque. Very beautiful view. Had my tea and decided that it was unwise to stay longer so went on my way. Busy streets, many little tourist shops, mild evening nice for walking. Got lost trying to find my hotel again, winding narrow old streets. Found a public toilet and paid .75 Tl to pee! This morning met two Japanese students, who were robbed last night at a night club, and now have very little money to continue their trip. one of them gave me a t-shirt because my bagage was lost. Japanese Mickey Mouse. Very cute. Walked around the Grand Bazaar this morning and saw some really stunning contemporary Turkish art, traditional designs updated and re-interrupted. Can’t wait to come back and do more exploring in this large and vibrant city.