Tag Archives: Weather

Winds of Change

One of the first things we did once were were back on Lesvos was go to customs in Mytilene and enquire about reregistering the bike, changing it from UK registered to Greek registered.  This should in theory be a great deal easier than trying this with a Turkish registered bike and was always part of the plan.  The plan is to have this done before March of next year because after then there are simply too many unknowns. The added benefit of doing so is that if we do not then the bike would need to go back to the UK every year for an MOT and doing that would be a pain, fun maybe, but a pain and not something we want to be forced to do.  So the Triumph needs to become Greek registered and plated.  As said we went to customs, papers were taken, stuff was photocopied,  the engine and frame numbers were photographed, and Gregory at customs said it should all be possible and that he would be in touch.  So now we are waiting, and at some point assuming it all goes to plan there will be some money to pay.

This task done the weather took a bad turn.  First was a cold wind storm.  Temperatures dropped, the wind gusting at near gale force.  This went on for a couple of days, then there was a brief lull.  We’d seen the news, a Mediterranean cyclone was heading our way.  There was not much we could do, ferries were cancelled due to the cold wind storm, all we could do was sit it out.  So we made some plans and watched the forecasts.  Reality was that by the time it crossed the mainland it would have weakened so worst case scenario was more gale force winds and a lot of rain.  The cold went, it got warm, the air became really humid.  The forcasts started to suggest we would get off very lightly, but to be on the safe side we stocked up on supplies, nothing major, food for a few days, plenty of beer.

We know other places got hit really bad, there were flash floods, there were some deaths.  It was a very powerful storm with some very strong winds, storm surges, and torrential rainfall.  Obviously our hearts go out to those who got it far worse than us, to those who lost loved ones, to those who had homes flooded and property destroyed  All we got was 30 hours of near continual rain and some gusts of wind, even our internet remained working.

Storm

Then slowly the skies cleared.  Wind and storms become a memory.  For now, once more it is warm and sunny, there will be more autumn and winter storms, some will in all probability seem more intense than the so called Medicane.  There are still birds heading south, flocks of House Martins and Swallows are passing through, as are Pelicans and more.  In a week or so we’ll move south to Selçuk for a while, we have things to do in the meantime including hoping to hear about the bike.  Winter is coming, but not yet.

Snow Walk

Boz Dag08

A couple of years ago we wrote about our trip to Boz Dağ with Zirve Club.  On that occasion we hoped to find snow but failed.  This time we found rather a lot of snow.  We think we arrived in the village later than anticipated partly because we stopped off for breakfast before we even got to Tire and partly because the road was snowy and slippery.  After a brief stop in the village we headed up the mountain.  Knee deep in snow much of the way.  One group stopped just below the tree line.  We went up quite a bit further and a third group went right to one of the lower peaks.

Boz Dag19Going up was easier than coming down.  Hilary needed a lot of help and still fell over (snow makes for a soft landing).  There was then a longish stop to appreciate the snowman, fail to light a fire and to wait for the final group to rejoin us.

There was another break in the village for lunch (and warming up by the tea room soba) before we headed back for the bus.  We were supposed to go to Gölçük but that part of the trip was cancelled, due to a combination of the late hour and the poor road conditions (not to mention the traffic jam) and we headed down to Birgi where we had a wander for half an hour before heading home.

We have seen a travel site that insists that Turkey always has ‘bikini weather’.  Beautiful this was, but…. not bikini weather.

Inundation

Our garage

Our garage

We were planning on catching up on some of the trips we have not covered yet, but recent events have given an opportunity to kick off 2016 with a blog entry about living here is Selçuk. What some people may not know is we get roughly the same amount of annual rainfall as Dublin, but here pretty much all that rain happens in the three months of winter. December was unusually dry, no rain at all, pretty much day after day of unbroken sunshine. Then on Sunday night the rain arrived, maybe all the rain missed in December in one night.

We watched the road turn into a river. The river kept rising as the torrent came down off the hill. It rose above the kerb and into neighbours’ homes. And, as it rose further, into our garage. There was nothing we could do in the middle of the night, nothing could be got out against the water flow, the street was a knee deep torrent, it was hard enough standing up against it. Vodka seemed a very good idea at the time.

So, in the morning came clean up and a thick head. We got the bike out. Then phoned a friend who came around with a pump. Between the pump, buckets, mops, towels, and the help of various local children (who should probably have been in school) we got the water and mud out of the garage. A mattress we were storing has been consigned to the bin along with a load of spare cardboard we use to light the wood stove. This is all we have lost.

The Belediye (local council) workmen arrived with a JCB and a tractor with a trailer to clear the mud, stones and debris from the street and one nearby which was knee deep in mud.

The bike should be OK. We got it off the street, up by the side of the house. The Belidiye workmen helped us push it up the slope, hard work given all the slippery mud. I am going to leave it a couple of days to dry out, then charge the battery and see what happens. The water never got to the electrics or anything else sensitive, so I am hoping for nothing bad.

flood---bike-on-the-street

Before we could go inside and wash our feet, the children insisted on having their photographs taken with the bike. We’ve promised them hard copy of the photos tomorrow afternoon.

The street is a mess, there is still ankle deep mud in places. More rain is predicted, maybe it will wash the mud away. The clean up will take a few days. We’re more than half way up the hill, those lower down will, doubtless, have worse problems though the drainage around our house and a few nearby leaves a lot to be desired.

In the Freezer

After a couple of nights of freezing weather it has now warmed up.  Enough to tempt us away from the wood stove and to venture outside for anything other than getting more wood from  the wood store.

This is what the weather did.

The bougainvillia will recover and go mad in summer, the geraniums will be cut back and some should come through again.  The aloe is probably gone and are a few others.  The chillis are dead, kind of annoying because they were a non local varieties that do best in their second year.

Fortunately we moved the ficus into full shelter.

 

Tire in the Snow

Tire-with-snowWe’ve been pretty quiet recently.  We went to the UK at short notice due to a family emergency and ended up spending Christmas there.  We’ve been back home just over a week now and are slowly getting back to normal.

Today, though, we decided to go to Tire market because Hilary needed some thread for a sewing project and because we just felt like a trip out (not to mention the late breakfast/early lunch at Haci Baba which was, of course, as excellent as always).

We met some tourists on the bus who had a wonderful app. on their phone which translated whatever language they were speaking into written Turkish.  I think the lady to whom they showed it was a bit …. puzzled by it!

We failed to take into account just how cold it would feel.  There was snow on the higher hills visible from our house and quite a lot more snow on Kaplan Dağ, as can be seen in the pictures.  We got some thread (and some almonds and some dates) and had an excellent lunch.  It was a good day out.  Then we headed back home to the warmth of the radiators and the wood burning stove.

We did find one travel site that maintains that in Turkey it is always ‘bikini weather’.  Then can, with all due respect, keep their bikinis.

Tire-market-in-the-snow

Why we didn’t go to Bulgaria

 

Rain-in-Greece

There is a signpost near Lake Kerkini that says ‘Bulgaria’.  We had intended to take that road, up over the mountains (where, apparently, you can see rollers by the border) through spectacular scenery.  Rainstorms were, however, predicted.  And predicted to continue for most of the week.

We changed our plans and headed back to the coast.  We decided to get as far as we could before the rain hit, hopefully up as far as Tychero.  And we made it.  We were running just ahead of storm clouds most of the way but we managed to catch nothing worse than the edge of the storm.

Hotel-ThrassaTychero is a small town, or maybe a village.  It has a lake and wildlife.  It also has a lot of bars and cafes and one or two restaurants.  We got a lovely room in a very pleasant hotel with a view out over the lake (yes, we were warned to take precautions against mosquitoes).

After a shower and change we headed into town and managed to duck into a bar Tycherodaki-leylekjust before the rain hit.  It rained for about an hour.  Long enough to enjoy our frappe…  And, of course, watch the storks.

Tychero is a mere 30 Km from the Turkish border so, next morning, we followed the road sign to Turkey and started the journey home.

 

 

Travel Complications

birthday-61bIt’s been some time since our last post but, in our defence, we have been on a longish roadtrip.  One that very nearly did not happen.

We had a ferry booked from Chios to Kavala and we booked a ferry from Çeşme to Chios, leaving ourselves a few hours for a meal on the harbour side.  As the ferry was scheduled to get into Kavala in the early evening, we booked ourselves a hotel in Kavala.  Everything was in place.

Only it did not work out that way.  The first hitch was when the Greek ferry agent contacted us to say that our ferry to Kavala would be 23 hours later than anticipated.  No major deal.  We unbooked and rebooked the Kavala hotel (for the next night) and unbooked and rebooked the ferry to Chios.  Then we went to the beach.

On our return from the beach the bike decided it had never heard of this thing called electricity.  Well, it did have a spark occasionally, but there was no way it was going to start.  Next morning we phoned the Harley dealership in Izmir.  They came out and picked up the bike.  It turned out to be a fault in the insulation of the negative cable from the battery.  The recovery cost us more than the repair.  Whilst the bike was in the workshop they checked it over thoroughly.

There are worse places to be stuck...

There are worse places to be stuck…

So, the day after that we headed for Çeşme.  It was windy.  Well, it is always windy in Çeşme, but it was notably more windy than usual (though not as windy as it was the time we took the ferry in December).  And our ferry to Chios got cancelled.  Apparently due to weather.

We booked ourselves into a rather nice hotel overnight, then off to the ferry agents who felt that we would be able to recoup some of the money we spent on the Kavala ferry.  Meanwhile our ferry to Kavala sailed off merrily at 11 p.m. from Chios whilst we were enjoying an after dinner beer in Çeşme.

Next morning we finally got the ferry to Chios where we were able to exchange our tickets to Kavala for tickets to Thessaloniki for the extra 18 euro that the trip cost for both of us, a cabin and a bike.

The good thing about the delay was that we got to hang out with the Chopper Riders of Chios.  Drinks on Saturday night and a ride out to a blue flag beach (and amazing, huge lunch which lasted us for days) on the Sunday.  And…. finally we caught the Thessaloniki ferry.

birthday-61c birthday-61a

 

 

 

 

We will have lots to say about the trip itself (though we didn’t get to Bulgaria, again due to weather).  The trip was wonderful and we saw many amazing places in Northern Greece.  We just need to process the photos….

The Spring has Sprung

One last post from our walking up the mountain experience.  The flowers up there were different – more alpine.  And we did get some decent photos.

Meanwhile, it has rained every day in March so far.  But we’ve seen storks on the aqueduct.  Fortunately the first stork we saw this year was flying.  It’s a local superstition – if the first stork you see in the year is flying, then you will travel.  If it’s sitting I guess you’re in for a dose of cabin fever come summer.

Boz Dağ – Not much snow or rain to speak of

Ashley-on-a-rock

On Sunday we went walking with Zirve Mountaineering club.  This time we actually climbed a mountain.

It was an early start to get to the centre of town by seven a.m.  There was one mini bus for us plus two Belediye buses full of students from the THK University.  It was nearly 09:00 by the time we got to Boz Dağ – a ski-ing centre – but there was no snow in the village and not a lot on the mountain.  After breakfast and much çay, we set off.

As usual, we took a very steep (and slightly slippery) short cut en route to the top.  Some people decided to wait just above the tree line whilst we and others made the push for the peak.  We walked almost all the way up.  It was hard going but well worth it for the views!  Ski-slopesWe didn’t quite get to what there was of a snow line, not that there was much snow anyway.  Maybe we would have gone all the way to the peak, but there were signs of the weather starting to turn less pleasant.  There was some disappointment but it was a wonderful day out, and in our view snow is something best confined to photographs and postcards.

The day wasn’t over either.  After a very late lunch back in the village (lunch that included chips fried over a fire in an oil drum), we set off on a tour of some of the local beauty spots.  But that, along with pictures of the alpine blooms, is for another post.

We were very lucky with the weather.  Thundery showers were predicted but it weather-closing-instayed clear all the time we were on the mountain.  By the time we left Boz Dağ the clouds were rolling in.  The rain, however, held off until quite late at night, when we were safely home and eating dinner.  There wasn’t much of it even then.

Winter is coming ….. Again

Towards-Seluck-November-walIt’s still not dropped below 10 degrees at night, but there is a distinct chill in the air and things look misty.  This is partly humidity and party woodsmoke.  We moved into our winter quarters about a week ago.  The new soba is doing a good job of warming the rooms (and less of a good job of drying the tea towels on the rail above it).  It lights easily, does not fill the room with smoke though it does need the glass cleaning every morning.  This is easily done with the paper the baker wraps the warm loaf in.  Get back with the hot bread, clean the stove glass…  It is becoming routine already.

blooming-NovemberThe bougainvillea doesn’t have too many flowers now, though we hope it will make some more in December.  The square bed by the back house is still looking colourful…

We had rain last week.  It started on Thursday when Hilary was on the way home from the dentist.  More is expected within the next 24 hours.  It may rain on Sunday.  We’re booked to go walking with Zirve again and they have asked, on Facebook, for us to confirm that we will still go, even if it is raining.  Well, we have good waterproofs now!  They need to be tested.

It’s dark soon after five in the afternoon now.  It seems very early.  Though, of course, the clocks were put back whilst we were in the UK.  It is light at eight in the morning, in winter we get more daylight hours and a lot more sunny hours than the UK.  A friend who lives in Sweden has reported morning temperatures of -4 degrees.  It makes us shiver to even think of it!  We think we are becoming acclimatised.

We had to rush aroucheerful-pansiesnd market last Saturday due to another engagement, but we managed to pick up something to brighten up the short dark days of winter.