Mish relaxing on the short ferry ride to Cesme
Iâ€™d set an alarm for 6:40am so despite my holiday induced lethargy I dragged my bones out of bed at sunrise and headed out along the wharf for an early morning jog at 7:00am. Whilst keeping fit was part of the intent, the main aim was to find out what the ferry schedule was for the day. Weâ€™d learnt in our short time on Chios that most things close down over the Easter holiday period and we were warned that the ferry schedule would be significantly reduced. The first run I went for turned up very little. All the ticket offices were closed and the only indication I had that a ferry might be coming into port was a bus load of Japanese tourists that seemed to be loitering around the customs / departures building. I thought about giving up â€“ but decided against it and went out a second time at about 7:30am.
This time I came across an office which had just opened up and a learnt that there was only a single ferry to Cesme today, and it departed at 8:30am. I legged it back to our room, woke Mish up, jumped in the shower, changed and then together we raced (as quickly as you can when burdened by 30kgs of baggage) to the opposite end of the wharf, buying a couple of tickets on the way. We arrived with minutes to spare â€“ only to join the end of a long, slow moving queue to pass though passport control. To cut a long story short, it was 9:30am before the ferry got underway.
Sunset from the roof terrace at the ANZ Guesthouse
The ferry ride was only 30 minutes and before we knew it we were in Cesme, Turkey. Having paid for our ferry tickets in euros and not having sufficient time to cash up before jumping on the ferry we had barely enough money on us to pay the 15 euros each necessary to buy our Turkish visas. In fact, 5 of the 30 euros were in coins, and for a short while it looked like they werenâ€™t going to accept them. Fortunately, theyâ€™d stamped our passports before they realised, so they let us through, probably cursing us as we went.
With nothing but a few euro cents (and some british pounds and US dollars) to our name we decided to bypass the taxi rank and walk into town in search of the coach station. It only took us 15 minutes to find the coach station, ticket office and the bus to Izmir â€“ but do you think we could find a cash machine? I had a quick look around some local businesses (grocery store and petrol station) but no sign of a cash machine so I went back to the ticket office and managed to convince the bloke to take british pounds. At this stage we were resigned to being ripped off â€“ but after having handed over Â£20 and receiving 30 Turkish lira in return, we checked our Lonely planet and figured that the guy had pretty much given us the exact exchange rate. Again, the holiday gods were smiling on us. The ticket seller told us the bus would leave at 10am, giving us 30 minutes to kill. We packed our bags onto the bus and I ducked next door into a grocery store to grab some basic foods for breakfast. It took next to no time to gather up a couple of apples, a loaf of bread, some cheese and sliced meats .. but when I emerged from the store â€“ the bus was gone!! A young guy waved at me and beckoned me to follow him down the road â€“ away from the coach station. My sense of confusion was quickly turning to panic when I couldnâ€™t see Michelle â€“ but thankfully the coach pulled up on the main road in front of me â€“ with Michelle frantically waving at me telling me to hurry up. Mish must have been sh!tting herself â€“ but somehow she managed to convince them to come back and pick me up!!
The trip to Izmir stopped a few times on the way out of town and then a couple of times on the way in to our destination. At the second stop in Izmir, the bus attendant caught my eye and indicated that this was our stop. We jumped off the bus, threw our packs onto our backsâ€¦ and then looked around, realising that we were nowhere near a bus station. Bugger. A taxi stand attendant told us we were 20km from Izmirâ€™s central bus station!! We jumped in a cab to the central bus station, stopping for some local currency on the way â€“ parting with 30 TLR in the process â€“ about twice what weâ€™d paid to get from Cesme to Izmir!! Once in the station we quickly found a shuttle bus to Selcuk, our final destination for today â€“ and for the bargain price of 6 TLR each we were on our way.
An hour later we were in Selcuk otogar (bus station) and no sooner were we off the bus than we were surrounded by about a dozen guys, all putting on very crude aussie accents, each trying to convince us to head to their pension. I indicated we were after the ANZ guesthouse (one weâ€™d read about in our lonely planet) and through the crowd came a bloke calling himself Alex. Apparently, Alex and his family had lived in Queensland for 12 years â€“ so his Aussie accent wasnâ€™t too bad. Neither was his English. He lead us to the guesthouse and introduced us to his brother Harry, who greeted us with a Gâ€™day and offered us some apple tea. During our first half hour or so in the open air lounge at the guest house we were subject to a really hard sell, as Alex and Harry offered us every service and convenience. We endured the sales blitz and decided to spend the afternoon relaxing in the downstairs open air lounge and giving some thought to our options. In the ensuing hour or so, no fewer than 4 other members of the ANZ guest house family dropped by to introduce themselves. Simon, the cook; Michael, the driver, a rug shop guy (his name eluded me) all of them very friendly and offering to help us during our stay, if they could.
Whilst we resisted the push to commit to any tours, further travel, onward accommodation or the purchase of any Turkish carpets, we did agree to take part in the BBQ on the roof terrace in the evening. Mish and I both opted for a steak and whilst well done is not the way either of us would choose to have our steaks cooked, the meal was still good and a great chance to get to meet some other people staying at the guesthouse, including a charismatic American couple, who were on spring break â€“ from their studies in Bologna, Italy. After dinner, Ed and I decided that beers were necessary. The guesthouse doesnâ€™t sell beers, but are very happy for patrons to purchase alcohol offsite and consume on the premises. I limited myself to 2 large bottles of Efes pilsner and Mish and I called it a night at about 9:30pm. Not a bad drop, will need to get stuck into more over dinner tomorrow.