We had the long-awaited phone call from our shipping agent earlier this week to tell us that our stuff is arriving in Izmir next week and for import purposes and customs regulations we need to leave and then re-enter Turkey. Crazy regulations, our stuff needs to arrive within one month of our last arrival into Turkey. We asked him ‘when’? He said ‘this weekend’. Not the best of timing in view of this weekend including Christmas. So we went to Chios (Greece) and got back today, in time for market.
Armed with tickets, passports and the rest we arrived at a windswept Çeşme. This did not really prepare us for the crossing. It was dramatic. The boat was being thrown around in the swell and gale, the sea pounding on the hull and windows. There were people being seasick, others frightened. The view out of the cabin windows was seawater flowing off them. Two young Turkish men decided they needed to don lifejackets and refused to take them off despite much reassurance that all was safe. A 45 minute roller coaster ride.
Anyway we got to Chios safely, got a face full of seawater walking along the harbour into town, and after some exploring found a place to stay (typically we ended up in the first place we saw, having spent half an hour exploring different options – none of which were open). Safely installed in a room which would have had a sea view if it hadn’t been dark and blowing a gale, but did have heating, we decided food and a drink would be a good plan.
There was a pleasant looking bar a couple of doors away from our hotel. We went in. It was warm, had a good atmosphere and charged 3.5 euro for a small beer… We had a small beer each. Moving on, by sheer luck, we found an excellent restaurant where we had a very good meal (mezzes and stifado with rice and beer) for a reasonable price. Whilst we were eating a Turkish couple related how they had been booked onto the ferry back that evening but it wasn’t running. A little worrying but we didn’t let it spoil our enjoyment of the meal.
We failed to find another bar on the way back to our room. We stopped in a supermarket and stocked up on beer and wine for the evening then headed back to the room, past several welcoming looking bars we had managed to miss before. Still, if the prices in the first bar were anything to go by, we didn’t do too badly.
Dawn over Chios was dramatic. We went back on a slightly larger boat and without any drama. It was still windy but nothing like the previous night.