13 Eylül 2014 Cumartesi

KOMŞU: edition #hellas

I had the chance to visit 3 neighboring countries this summer. 2 of them because of work: Georgia and Azerbaijan, and 1 because I was simply longing to go there since the start of the time: Greece. I wanted to go to Greece not because I thought it was the best place in the world, I was just curious. I was curious if we were really the same people with different religions across the two sides of the Aegean. You will see how I feel now, when you finish reading the entry.

So, it was an emotional day for us, August 10th, leaving the country. We had just voted for the Presidential elections in the morning, lost again like we had lost in the previous I don't know how many times, and we were about to cross the border. It felt like we were at the right place at the right time.

We had made our booking to make sure we stay somewhere close the first night and that place was Dedeağaç (Alexandroupolis). It was around 10PM when we arrived there, and the streets were live as expected.. but not loud. It was a nice summer evening with good tunes in the background. Anyway we hit the beach which Fırat had discovered during his first time here. It was basically heaven on earth. We were having beers at the most tranquil beach on the world at around midnight, which also happened to have the best taste in music. I had never listened to so many good songs in a row in a long while. The place I'm talking about is next to the port, a small place by itself. (No we don't remember the name) Unfortunately the photo is too dark and silent to elaborate on my description.

Next morning after some good breakfast... OK the basic food first. Water: So the water tastes different. Good different, like less minerals, neater. Cheese is cheese. Feta is feta. And then there are the fat olives, eat one for the whole breakfast. Continuing... after the breakfast we hit the road towards Kavala. On our way, we stopped at Gümülcine (Komotini) for lunch. There was this one gyros place open, and the guy was fluent in Turkish, almost no accent. There showed my ignorance. I never ever knew that the Turkish speaking / ethnic background community in Greece was so crowded. I always thought only as many Turks lived there as many Greeks live here. Apparently not. It's very diverse close to the Turkish border. Anyway...

There we are in Kavala, which is this cute old city which looks like one of the small towns on the Southern Italian coast or Cote d'Azur. But it's not, because there is an old lady shouting at us from the balcony in Turkish because she saw the Turkish license plate of the car. She has an accent, but she's still fluent. We are still surprised, but by that time getting used to it. Here is a quick look at Kavala:

One thing about Kavala is that it was the hometown to the famous Mehmet Ali Paşa, who was so successful that he became the emperor of the Egyptian state and rose to power in a way that he could stand against the Sultan. OK, I'm still not on top of the whole story.

While we were walking around Mehmet Ali Paşa's monuments and walking up to the castle, all we went through were streets surrounded by awesome houses...

and awesome streets (these houses are a bit Ottoman / Turkish no?)

ok not awesome, but very beautiful

then we had to pose stuff like this, sitting on the stairs, simply because the colors were so vivid and it smelled like Instagram all around.

Walking back to the car, apparently we took the wrong street. We walked down until we realized it was a dead end, leading to some stairs. Of course, we were curious where the stairs were leading. IT LED TO HERE:

We had no towels or anything. Of course it wasn't the time to think about towels. It took us 5 seconds to decide that we were going to dive right ahead. We were inside the city, and the water was perfect. There was a big family barbecuing on the rocks by the sea. Probably dream life. We snuck next to them, and went into the sea. And of course the lady swimming is talking to us in Turkish. You would stop getting surprised here, but no: she has a Northern (Trabzon) accent. Apparently they are part of the Pontus community who migrated to Greece 20 years ago. So many things not told to us about the history of the land we live in. So many lives, civilizations moving, being pushed from one place to another. Of course, it's both ways.

After Kavala, we headed to Selanik (Thessaloniki). After this much spontaneous fun, we didn't have further expectations from Selanik or Khalkidiki. But of course they were going to surprise us too.

First stop is Selanik.

This is from the boardwalk of the city. It does look like İzmir a lot. Guess why? I don't want to say it. A beautiful coast line for the pedestrians, large avenues and squares next to the sea and narrower streets parallel to the coast. A lot of similarities. We didn't stay a lot in Selanik, but we of course saw the house of Atatürk, and the old sites at the city center. At a point we thought this big statue of Venizelos was Atatürk's - we were foolish :) .

After a night in Selanik, we started driving to Khalkidiki where we would stay for a couple of days. Of course our hotel owner was speaking Turkish, needless to mention. But this time he was one of the only people there who could speak. As we got further away from the border, the number of Turkish speakers decreased. Cutting to the chase... we have discovered the best place in the entire world in every manner close to Kallithea: Molos Beach.

We were there for two days, which had again the best music, best fruits and drinks. Of course we had a lot of Frappes along the way. It also had a very good environment, young fresh and cool. No hesitations about letting 3 guys in. No high maintenance. It was a good place to be. This is where the beach was located. (credit is Fırat's of course)

After these couple of holy days in Kallithea, we were starting our way back. Unfortunately. We said: OK one day in Thassos and one day in Dedeağaç (Alexandroupoli). We first went to Keramoti to get on the ferry to Thassos. But judging that 60 Euros would be too much for a day trip to Thassos we decided to stay in Keramoti, which was as you can imagine a wise decision. We were at Keramoti, right across Thasos. No beach club. We were on our chairs, chilling. That's what I adored about the place, you can do that anywhere. Just like Aegean in Turkey, only calmer. Almost exactly like North Aegean of Turkey, a bit cleaner.

Thanks to Fırat, we also went to İskeçe (Xanthi), it was close and there was no reason not to go. This landlocked city looked a lot like a coastal area, with every single person either out on the streets or in balconies. It was just too nice. This time we were not surprised any more to find out that one fifth of the place was Turkish.

We spent the night in İskeçe, where we stayed at a hotel owned by a +80 year old doctor, who studied medicine in İstanbul. His Turkish was very good, especially for a person who hasn't been to Turkey in the last +50 years. He knew more phrases than we did. Later, he was describing the situation Greece was in. Apparently EU help was covering a lot of people's needs, and people didn't have to work too much, all they needed to be happy was the olive oil and the ouzo... Who wouldn't be happy having this super duo?

After getting all these insights, we went to Alexandroupoli for one last dive and after that... we were in the Duty Free shop before we knew it.

Most of the places are 4-5 hours away from İstanbul... so... think about it, if you haven't already.

Hiç yorum yok:

Yorum Gönder