Day on Gökçeada

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It turned out some of that Turkish we were failing to grasp yesterday was that we were to sleep up the road at Aydin Pansiyon (pension) tonight. It seems that someone has been displaced from their bedroom to make room for us. The Aydin proprietor organised last night’s room for us as well. There are forces here beyond our ken working to care for us. If we can stay here tomorrow as well we will do so. An Aegean island is an Aegean island after all.

Breakfast en famille at Aydin Pansiyon

We had breakfast en famille (with proprietors Cezmi and Safiya as well as last night’s landlady, name unknown) at Aydin Pansiyon (tomato, cucumber, feta, sweet capsicums, bread, jam and endless glasses of sweet tea) and then went for an unladen cycle around the island. Imbros (this island’s Greek name) might mean land of winds. If so, it’s living up to its name today. It’s also hilly and steep here. Quite hard but stunning cycling. We were glad we left our panniers at the pansiyon.

We visited several villages with many dilapidated buildings but also quite a few being restored. Much of the original dry stonework is beautifully done with tight joints, straight and vertical corners but once the roof goes and goats start climbing around things go downhill fairly quickly.

Cezmi told us about a huge and ancient tree near the village of Tepeköy, so we went to see it. This is a popular picnic place for Turkish tourists with a precipitous and spectacular view down to the sea. We were briefly befriended by a large family from Istanbul due to the approach of two boys aged around 12 who could speak some English. (In fact, it was more the reverse. Rosalie is very good at fronting up to foreign strangers with an engaging smile and persevering through predictable language difficulties. I can’t think where she gets that from!) They told us that the famous tree, a plane tree, was 600 years old. There are many signs of former habitation nearby and people were harvesting walnuts and pears from the trees.

Tepeköy street

Despite its appearance as a barren rocky place, Gökçeada produces plentiful fruit and vegetables: olive, pomegranate, fig, quince, apple, mulberry and walnut trees are abundant as are grape vines and home vegetable gardens. Our breakfast was largely harvested from the garden behind the pansiyon.

After our siesta we found a beautiful horseshoe bay just east of Kakelöy to swim in. It has rocky headlands with metal steps into the beautiful, clear, almost-too-warm water. Air-dried ourselves in the strong, warm wind.

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