Turkey Day 6: Cunda Island and second Christmas dinner

Monday, January 12, 2015

The family wanted to visit a Greek island just a short ferry ride away. But A still hasn't received her long stay visa card, meaning if she left Turkey, she would have trouble coming back to study in Istanbul for the rest of her Erasmus stay. So, instead, we went to another island, a Turk one. The French Free mobile network still thought we were in Greece, though. That's how close we were to the (invisible) frontier. There were no ferry crossings from Ayvalik in winter. Though disappointed, we had no choice but to take a taxi - luckily there is a bridge connecting Cunda Island to the mainland Turkey. Taxis here had no problems squeezing six people into their vehicles, fortunately for our party. 
From Cunda Island, our initial plan had been to cross over to the other side and onto another island, where there is an ancient temple of Apollo, from which you can get an overview of all the islands. Again, though, we faced transportation problems. No bike hires and no boats in wintertime. Ah, well. We made do with finding a quiet corner - not hard to do, there were practically no one about - and had a quick nap/read/swim time under the mild Mediterranean winter sun. Swimming in the sea in late December, you say? Amazing, right? We spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the coast, across fields and fields of olive trees. A dog from one of the empty camping grounds - Jordi was his name - accompanied us for much of the way. 
Being Christmas Eve, we did not stay out long, for we had a big dinner to prepare for. We improvised with what we could find - or not find - in the village. We had no oven in the pension kitchen. There was also a big sign 'no cooking fish' in the kitchen. So no roast chicken, and no fish. We had lamb instead. There was foie gras and sweet white wine for apéritif, brought over from France for the occasion (the champagne had already been opened on our first Christmas dinner in Bergama). After the main lamb dish, we had an assortment of Turkish baklava for dessert. Followed by gift swapping, under the makeshift Christmas tree and Nativity scene. Mum asked me the next day if I had gone to mass. No, sorry, Mum. All the churches here have been converted to mosques or museums. Hopefully in 2015 our family will finally be able to spend Christmas all together. But I am thankful for the lovely Christmas spent with my French family in Turkey this year. Je vous aime beaucoup !


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