Our posts here are getting seriously out of order. Yes, there will be more from the UK but first we thought we should write about the last leg of our trip to Greece, the one that occurred when we crossed the border.
The border crossing itself was very straightforward. We crossed at the River Evros and, whilst there was considerable queuing as our bike was checked and passports stamped, it was infinitely less hassle than the bureaucracy involved in getting the bike on a ferry. No running backwards and forwards, just a straight succession of checks and stamps.
We rode as far as Çanakkale and booked into a place we have stayed before. Nothing wonderful about it but it is both cheap and central. We spent the second half of the afternoon and all evening wandering around, enjoying the town. Çanakkale is lively and has many restaurants though as it was still Ramazan, everything was a bit more subdued than normal. In the end we decided to forgo the expensive fish restaurants and go for balık ekmek. People do sometimes ask us whether we miss fish and chips. Hilary never really liked fish and chips. Balık ekmek is a different matter. Far superior to fish and chips in our opinion (and you could always ask for chips on the side if you wanted them). Cheap, unpretentious and utterly delicious. This one contained three fresh (boneless) sardines, grilled to order.
Next day we headed for Ayvalik. Although we had decided to stay on Cunda (the nearby pensinsula/island). That might have been a mistake. Cunda is not cheap at the best of times and in high season…. We were quite shocked by the prices – we paid more than we did for the seafront hotel in Çeşme. Whatever, we decided to make the most of it. We shared many flavours of icecream packed into a fresh melon.
In the evening we took the ferry to Ayvalik. It costs the same as the dolmuş, takes about the same time and is a lot more fun. We strolled for a bit before visiting one of our favourite bars and getting the boat back in time to catch the sunset.
Next day we came home… We stopped for a break at Aliağa. Which is either one of the prettiest oil refineries in the world or a beach with one of the best views of an oil refinery. It’s a good place to stop before you hit the Izmir traffic.