Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ayvalik, Turkey

A lovely little town on the Aegean Sea, Ayvalik is my gateway to the Greek island of Lesvos. I had planned on being here 2 nights and then hop the ferry for the 90 minute ride to the island, but I was unaware the ferries cut back their schedules in the winter. So tonight, instead of being in my sweet tiny apartment in Molyvos, Greece, I am still in my sweet tiny hotel room in Ayvalik. It has been a relaxing winter visit in a town I am certain explodes with tourists in the summer months. I am on the 3rd floor and my terrace overlooks the sea 50 feet away.

The breakfast room sits over the water and has glass walls on 2 sides, so as I'm eating breakfast I'm watching ducks swim up inches away and can see Cunda Island across the water. It is a glorious way to start the day. Thank goodness for off season rates as I never could've stayed here in the summer and maintained my budget of $50 a day (which, by the way, I've kept to $30 a day thus far. Somehow I think that will change in about 3 weeks). I have used this time to read and write and walk through town. The main street is busy and follows the sea. Every now and then a horse drawn cart will pass by loaded with firewood or big plastic bags of goods. Along with small shops and cafes, there are the ubiquitous street vendors set up every block or so. They usually have fruit or vegetables, but today I saw a small table filled with bouquets of jonquils and my heart soared - Spring is on its way. I wandered down to the marina, passing lots of fishing boats, some selling fish out of styrofoam coolers right on the seawall, the fish scales shimmering in the sun. There were probably a dozen cats waiting for treats and some dogs sprawled on the warm concrete. I've noticed that all the stray dogs in town (and there are many) have a small plastic tab on their ear. The only dog I saw without one had large, swollen teats that led me to believe the dogs with tabs had been fixed (maybe?).
A block off Main Street is like another world. Mostly foot traffic and scooters on cobblestone streets. The stores are mostly tiny one room storefronts selling homemade goods. The buildings are different, too - not as spiffy as Main Street, but far more interesting.
As I was walking down an alley towards Main Street, I noticed an old woman walking towards me carrying a large grocery bag.  She seemed to be struggling a bit on the cobblestones. I smiled and stepped closer to her and she grasped my hand. We held hands and walked slowly up the alley and crossed the street where she let go and pointed to a nearby doorway. I asked (pantomimed) to take her picture and she looked up and smiled.
                                      The highlight of my day. 


Peggyk said...

You are doing this right--taking time to savor the place, not being in a big rush to see everything. I'm really enjoying the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Amazing and beautiful. Thank you ❤❤❤

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Ladies you are meeting! They see your soul.
A wink to you from your right shoulder.

Doreen said...

I love you...

laurel said...

I'm so excited to read this blog again Diane! My mom just updated me about your travels and it's a pleasure to read about your adventures. I hope that you plan on stopping by Milan or Moneglia when you're in Italy! I'd love to catch up in person/ xoxo - Laurel