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August 14th 2019
Published: August 16th 2019
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We arrived in Çeşme in the evening and walked to our hotel (thanks to some locals giving us directions) for the evening. Lucky I only booked the hotel for one night as the only thing it had going for it was the view! We then went to buy our ferry tickets to Chios the next day, had a stroll around the Çeşme market street and relaxed on our balcony with some beers watching the world go by down by the the marina.

The next day we caught a ferry from Çeşme to the Greek island of Chios. Despite being a short distance (8km and 15 mins) the immigration process on either end (the Greek side being worse) made it much much longer. The ferry itself was large and efficient. In Chios, our hotel was very near to the port and we went to one of the many cafe-bars along the water for coffee, and wandered around the small town for the rest of the afternoon. The last time we were in Greece in 2014, our last stop was the Island of Samos, just off the coast of Turkey, and what we remember of Samos, well, it wasn't a very memorable stay! Chios though does have a charm to it. There are mainly Turkish and Greek tourists on the island – not too many foreigners so that is great as it doesn't feel overly touristic. There are many Greek islands in the North Aegean sea much closer to the Turkish mainland than Greece (namely Samos, Chios and Lesvos) and Turkish tourists are given a 15 day visa waiver for visiting the Greek islands of the North Aegean, and the agreement extends year by year to help boost the Greek economy. Later that afternoon we had a nice bottle of Greek wine (a fresh large platter of fruit and nuts included) and we then walked to the nearby Town Beach to have a quick swim.

The next day we took public long distance buses to some of the Villages of Southern Chios – Mesta and Pyrgi. Chios is known for Mastic, a whiteish resin produced from the mastic tree. Mastic trees cover southern Chios, the only place in the world that grows it. A white substance covers the ground on which the mastic tree stands - this is how they harvest the mastic (which is sometimes called Chios tears). Mastic is used for a variety of purposes from pharmaceutical products, to cosmetics and liquor! Mastic is also used in Turkish ice cream to give it its elasticity. The village of Mesta was very warm and charming,. The little cobblestones streets were perfect photo opportunities and the locals were very friendly. We even made friends with some local cats! Unfortunately as the bus was a little late getting there we didn't have much time as originally planned. The nearby village of Pyrgi was also very pretty – geometric designs of the houses give the village a unique charm. Both of the villages had ornate Greek Orthodox churches that centre the main area. Although there were buses that ferried people there all day, it didn't feel overly touristic or crowded at all. The last stop on our day trip was the beach of Mavra Volia (volcano beach). In prehistoric times a volcano erupted on the island causing the pebbles to turn black and, instead of sand, black pebbles is in its place. Its a very pretty beach, the water was very cool but lovely once you dive straight in and swim! The waters of the Aegean and very clear – I love coming on holidays to this part of the world and swimming in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas – even though I tan very easily thanks to my Thai heritage, the tan I get in Europe seems different to back home! After a good swim and another Fresh Chios Beer, it was back on the bus and back to town. Later we had a cheap and tasty Gyros dinner and went back to one of the many bars (now bursting with people at midnight) for an evening cocktail.

The next day we checked out of our hotel and took a bus to a closer beach, Karfas for a swim and another Chios beer. Nothing compares to Marva Volia, but it was a very nice beach, warmer waters and a nice way to wind down after our Chios adventure. Back to town, we had time for one more wine before jostling in the queue ( I use that term loosely as some people think its an option!) to get processed and on our ferry back to Turkey.

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