June 5, 2013
Feeling refreshed, we woke up around 8 am, made our usual breakfast and coffee. We loaded up the bikes and then headed over to the restaurant to check email and double check our route.
The night before, we decided that we were going to go to the Greek Island of Lesvos, which we actually could see off the coast of Turkey for the past couple of days. Our route through Turkey was made up on the fly and was in the opposite direction of where we were generally trying to go which is the Netherlands. We saw there was a quick ferry hop over to Lesvos a few miles south in the city of Ayvalik . We also saw the sailing schedule was such that we would really have to hustle today to make the last boat. Since we were in such a nice spot we decided it wasn’t wise to ride hard to Ayvalik and potentially miss the boat and then have to find a hotel. We unloaded the bikes and put our tent back up much to the confusion of the campground staff.
Jenny was working on the blog when I realized it was Wednesday, which is market day in Turkey. I rode into town and meandered around a while before I found a group of farmers selling cheese, eggs and produce. I bought cherries, a melon, peppers, potatoes, beans, garlic, onions, hard stinky cheese, weird shaped eggs (from chickens, confirmed after elaborate dances by both the buyer and seller), bread and some wine. The whole spread set us back less than $10.
We swam in the ocean and dried off in the sun. A Turkish man who lived in Sweden chatted with us for a while and turned out to be a really nice guy. He was really concerned that we had to identify ourselves as Americans as we traveled around the world. We haven’t had a single awkward or bad experience with this so far (with the exception of a bizarre and harmless South African born woman of Afghan descent in our hostel in Istanbul who railed against Americans in the common area as “despicable imperialists”). We reassured him that in potentially sticky situations we just said we were from Alaska, which worked well enough. If pressed further we would say, “up north near Canada”, which tended to neutralize things.
We chatted with some lovely German campers who had been coming to the site for 30 years. They were really sweet and assured us about the incredible quality of both the local air and the water. Around dark a large RV of American proportions rolled up. We weren’t really stoked by this big rig spoiling our quiet time. The inhabitants of the camper rolled out speaking to the campground owners in what sounded to us like Russian. Suddenly, two of them came over to us and started chatting. It turned out they were a group of young Latvians on vacation for two weeks in Turkey. They spoke great English and were really fun people. We ended up sharing a bottle of wine and talking with them past midnight about Latvia, Turkey, the EU, politics and all kinds of things. They were some of the most interesting and friendly people we have met on the whole trip.
We went to sleep worn out and with a plan to make a leisurely ride to the ferry and then onto a new country! Greece here we come!!