Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - No comments

Road Trip Chronicles, Chapter Three: Izmir and Samos

Next stop, Izmir. Known back in the day as Smyrna, Izmir has been called "home" by Hittites, Romans, Greeks, and everyone in between. In more recent history, it was the site of much bloodshed and tragedy during the War of Independence and subsequent population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s, and it is now proudly known as the most secular and westernized city in Turkey. (Seriously, I barely saw a covered head there!)

My days in Izmir were a flurry of happy reunions with treasured friends, a suitcase full of gifts from home (thanks, Ma!), Iskender (yum!) and IKEA (the car came home a good bit fuller than it was when we started...) and a good refilling of the soul.

Wedged in the middle of it all came a visa run - a necessary evil that I can't complain too much about, cuz it always means a new adventure. A friend and her sweet baby came along with me on the early morning ferry ride to Samos, a Greek Island an hour off the Turkish coast. By the time we had been on the ferry five minutes, one of the guys working on board had set his heart on our sweet blond baby as a perfect candidate for a besik kertmesi - a "cradle engagement" - with his little boy. All in fun, of course. Her daddy woulda never gone for it! :)

We had about six hours on the island, and were grateful for cooler weather in which to explore and take pictures of all the quintessentially Greek homes and alleyways. Highlight for me: ham and pineapple pizza! (Visa runs are always a big excuse to eat pork!) We also checked out an old Greek Orthodox church, and its colourful graveyard, and enjoyed the peace and the presence there. Amazing the difference you can feel in the air just crossing the border!

Here's a coupla shots from our little Greek Island getaway:

We carried the baby in the baby carriage all the way down this loooong staircase - what were we thinking?