On the way to Turkey – Chios

Since i can still not fall asleep, after drinking two cups of Earl Grey after getting up, like 15 hours before, and after finishing the whole Kurt Vonnegut novel i bought for 1€ in a thrift store close to Monastiraki Square, i thought i might as well write something for this Blog again. We are now in the overnight ferry to Chios, an island just a few kilometers across the turkish town of Cesme, where we will proceed to after. So we finally said good bye to Athens, after almost 3 weeks, much longer than what we originally intended. But it was good to have a homebase for a while (Big thanks to Diana here by the way) and plan for the near and not so near future. Also my bicycle was broken: First the freewheeling mechanism stopped working a few hundred kilometers before Athens and when we were already there, the transmission quit completely, and i couldn‘t pedal anymore. Lucky that this just happened here and not somewhere on the road. Well, it was quite an Oddysee to fix it, I went to different shops, and one told me he might be able to replace just one part instead of the whole wheel. Well, in the end he couldn‘t and i have a brandnew backwheel now, together with an (old) new tire he had lying around. My old one was already without any profile after maybe 2000km, while the one in the front, wich i have already since Germany still looks great. So now i am Schwalbe all over, and ready for what may come.

Just getting on the boat was of course a tight experience again. Our ship was going at 8PM, and we didn‘t buy tickets beforehand, so we thought we will be there at 6, just in case. Of course that didn‘t work. And at 7 we were just finished stocking up on chocolate and nuts at the LIDL, just before the harbour. A friend who we met on the street, when we just came to Athens, came by with his motorcycle to help us and say Good Bye. I unlocked my bike and when i was looking up, the others both were gone. So i was going to the harbour myself, trying to find the ferry and hopefully also the others. But finding the ferry took me a long time. I went to each ship, and everyone i asked sent me somewhere else. That i didn‘t knew what company the ferry was, or what the name of the ship was, didn‘t help either. I already was thinking what to do if we were going to miss this boat when a guy at the ticket office sent me the right way. Our boat was waiting at another terminal… And when i came close, our friend welcomed me already on the motorbike „Where were you?“, well where were you? 😀 Although i felt like we almost missed the boat, it turned out that we still had half an hour to go. That‘s too easy, so Hsiang-Hsin suddenly realized she lost her backpack somewhere on the way. They decided to check the whole way with the motorbike and left me there, anxious if we will manage in time. Well in the end we did, 3 minutes before departure, the backpack didn‘t turn up anymore (It luckily contained only a bag of Müsli, and some fruits), and now we are on the way to Turkey!

Well, first we might stay a few days in Chios. We haven‘t been to any greek island, and are curious how things are different than on the „mainland“. And Chios is special in at least one regard: The south of the island is home to the mastiha-plant. There and only there, this tree, wich is actually a member of the Pistacchio family, produces this Mastiha, wich is apparently used for a lot of stuf like cosmetica and candy and a special sort of ouzo. Our friend, who hosted one of our concerts in Athens, and is an anthusiastic gardener told us the story of how they tried to transplant the same plant, into the turkish mainland, just a few kilometers away from its home. But even so close to its original habitat, this wayward plant couldn‘t feel at home and failed to produce any masthiha. Let‘s see if we make it to the South and see some of those special trees. The way i feel right now, without any sleep, i might just find the next best beach and pass out there till sunset.

Fast forward a few days… We indeed stay‘d a few days and had a great time. Chios surprised us in a few ways. But i already wrote enough and will just let the pictures speak, with some additional explaination.

Sunset over Chios – After arriving with the ferry still in the night, at that time we were already high up in the mountains.
We wanted to cross to the other side of Chios, a way that went steep up from 0 to 700m immediately. Quite tiresome after a night without sleep…
But we were rewarded with a stunning view over the island. The mountains in the background are already the turkish mainland.
But after almost no cycling for several weeks, such a climb was quite demanding. So we took a long nap in the shadow of a pine tree.
But this long break also meant that the climb took us longer than expected. When we finally reached the next village, the sun was already setting.
The village is very calm and the two markets on the map, turn out to be two – closed – restaurants.
Fortunately, the owner of one of them arrives in his car a minute later. He saw us on the way here and figured we might need something. He finds an old bread and some vegetables in his kitchen and our dinner is saved.
The following descent is already in the dark.
So the next picture is already in the morning. We made it to a beautiful beach, and it was already occupied. So we had some neighbours that night, a couple from Australia. They just came from Turkey, and heading to London. They we’re raving about Turkey, and they were not the first ones. So made us looking forward a lot.
Lot’s of beautiful finds on this beach
Hsiang-Hsin infects the others with the search for curious stones
And they receive a gift before they leave. Hsiang-Hsin is recently becoming more and more specialized in making handcrafts from old bicycle tires.
“Welcome to our island, stranger.” After beaing greeted by a herd of goats the night before, with no visible owner in sight, those cows also enjoyed the sun completely on their own, just by the road. I figure the owners are just coming once in a while to check on them and otherwise leave them alone.
What a life…
We arrived in Pyrgi, center of the mastiha-producing south of Chios, but also home to another unique tradition, only existing in this town.
The pharmacy, …
… the bank, …
… pretty much all buildings in the towns center were decorated with these geometric patterns. The name for this artform i have already forgotten, but it is the greek word for scratching. This is because the patterns are not painted, but instead the walls are painted white, and then the paint is partially removed by scratching. The tradition dates back long time and is really unique to this town. While i am sure there are other places on earth, where they use similar techniques, the surrounding villages have no such traditions, and i didn’t see it anywhere else in Greece.
And Pyrgi held another surprise for us…
After asking the cashier in the supermarket if she knew about a good place for camping, she told us her family takes care of a church somewhere outside of the town, where we could stay for the night. It is one of many churches in the hills. Other than the bigger churches in the towns, there is no church service held in those, and hardly anyone visits them. But people take care of them, put candles once in a while, and burn inscent.
Our cozy place for the night. Of course we kept some space for Jesus between us 😉
And there it was: This tree is producing the precious “Chios Mastiha”
Every year the farmers cut the trees and wait for the juice to come out and dry. According to one local we met, they also calling it the tears of the trees. A nice metaphor and leaves you wondering how much the trees enjoy this process 😉
We also met some locals, searching for “wild salat”
The whole day we already heard gunshots. And after taking a little walk and passing by yongsters with guns, bigger than their bodys, we came across this beautiful hunting seat, hidden in an olive tree. We went to ask the owner if we could get up. We went inside the yard, but before we could say a word, …
We were caught in a sunday celebration with Johnny and his family 😀 We were greeted with homemade fig-liquor, instruments and a great meal. This was a nice way to end our travels in Greece.
When we finally remembered the olive tree, the sun was already setting. Not sure if the red color on our face is due to that, or the amounts of fig-liquor we had 😉
They also kept some “Dreckschweine” there…
And our last view over the port of Chios…

Now we are saying Good Bye to Greece, Good Bye to Europe. And we say Hello to Turkey, Hello to Asia. γεια σας , Merhaba!


One thought on “On the way to Turkey – Chios

  1. ich bin begeistert!!! So schön, etwas von euch mitzubekommen!!! Konni hat den Link geschickt. Liebe Grüße von Sonja


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