Into Turkey!

(written by Nancy)

Well, two ferries and a bit of wandering later and here we are, in Cesme Turkey!

Our first ferry did not leave Piraeus until 9pm yesterday so we had the day to do a bit more sightseeing.  We took the metro back into Athens and saw a few more sites, including the Ancient Agora, which sits just below the Acropolis.  It’s an impressive site, was apparently the center of Athenian democracy as the place where the most important administrative and judicial functions took place.  There is a museum on the site as well with lots of interesting remnants from wells and burial sites around the area.  They even have some early forms of voting chads and even an apparatus made of rock that was used for jury selection.

We made our way back to the hotel to collect our bags and headed down to the ferry dock.  We splurged on a cabin again for the overnight trip.  The ferry was not quite as nice as the one we took from Italy to Greece but it was not bad.  It was a smaller ferry so you could feel the motion a bit more, but the late hour and the Dramamine I took meant that I was asleep by 10pm.  We both slept okay but had to get up at 4:30 to be ready to roll of the ferry when it docked at the Greek island of Chios as the ferry continued on to another destination after leaving Chios.

We headed out of the ferry into the cold morning air at Chios and found a harborside coffee shop that was open to hang out for a bit until our next ferry left at 8:30.  It was surprisingly busy at 5:30 in the morning and there were quite a few people waiting to board the ferry when we got off.  We sat and drank a coffee as we watched the sun came up over the harbor.  The coffee shop was full of men smoking cigarettes, a feature that we are seeing more and more of.  Dave took the second hand smoke risk going inside to order.

Our ferry to Cesme left right on time at 8:30.  It was a very small ferry, only fit two cars but there were quite a few walk on passengers.  The ride was only about an hour and we could see the land across the water the whole ride over.  In no time at all we were rolling the bikes onto Turkish land.  We received a visa on arrival (90 days) in one of the quickest procedures we’ve been through – no forms to fill out, just pay your 15€ and you get the stamp.  Then through passport control and we are free to travel in Turkey.

We rode the short way into the city center of Cesme and located a phone shop (Turkcell) to get a new sim for the phone.  Things were going well until we got to the registration requirement.  Turkey has a requirement that all foreign mobile phones be registered – if the phone is not registered the sim will be blocked at some point unless the phone is registered within 30 days of arrival.  We knew about this requirement but when Dave handed over his passport at the store to show the date of arrival the gal in the store said that the arrival stamp was not clear enough and that the government registration folks would probably reject it.  They said to the police station to get confirmation of the entry stamp, so off we went.  We found the police station, but they directed us back to the port.  So off we went back to the port, where we got another very clear entry stamp.  Back to the phone shop to complete the process – hopefully it will all work as intended.  So far, it seems to be working.

We found a small hotel to stay in for a couple of nights, called the Nese Otel.  We actually just happened upon it as we were making our way back to the phone shop and stopped to look at the rooms but this is one that was on my list and it gets good reviews in TripAdvisor.  There are lots of hotels and pensions in this town but because this is a bit of a resort town they can be a bit expensive.  This place is a pretty good price for low season so we went ahead and took the room and avoided wandering about to look at multiple places.  (junior editor’s note:  Nancy had the names and addresses of more than 20 hotels in Cesme – plenty of planning going on there!)

On the recommendation of the phone shop sales clerk we went to a restaurant around the corner to get some lunch.  Quite tasty, lots of choices of vegetables, chicken, and other types of meats.  We are not going to have trouble finding food in Turkey.  By this time both of us were quite tired given our early start.  Back at the hotel, we even had a bit of an afternoon nap.

We finally roused ourselves to get out for a walk and get some dinner.  The harbor area is really nice and very picturesque.  We walked up and down a bit and checked out the restaurants- usually with the assistance of the restaurant staff as they tried to convince us to eat in their establishment.  We finally picked on and had some nice freshly grilled fish and salad – tasty.

Not bad for our first day in Turkey.  Tomorrow we will work on route planning with a few breaks to see a bit of the area.  We are planning on rolling out of here on Monday.

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4 thoughts on “Into Turkey!

  1. So glad to hear you are there. Nancy gets my vote for bravery and valor. I am STILL impressed that a year ago she broke her collar and went on this trip so soon after.

  2. Hurray! Glad you made it!!! Love the pick of the blossoms and Agora Temple, trees here barely starting to bud and we may have snow today in the sierra’s. We leave next Friday for our bike tour from Santa Barbara to San Diego and I can’t wait for flowers and greenery. Looking forward to lots of info on Turkey…

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