Well we have arrived in Ayvalik the Turkish port near Mylintini ( or Lesbos as it is commonly known).
We have cheated a bit for this stage since we caught the ferry over the Sea of Marmara to Bandirma… then caught the bus to Ayvalik…. the prospect of mountains/high hills on the way in the heat proved a bit too much…. so the only pedalling on this stretch has been to the ferry terminus in Istanbul and from the long distance bus station at Ayvalik which is 5km outside the town.
As we travelled to Ayvalik we passed what looked like forests of Olive trees…. this area is renowned in Turkey for producing most of the domestic crop of olives and Olive oil.
Ayvalik is quite an interesting place… as we came into the town on some backroads from the bus terminal we came down cobbled streets and what appeared to be very ramshackle and poor neighbourhoods. Ayvalik is a bit of a holiday destination for Turkish people and the seafront is busy with excursion boats and a few boutique type shops… quite a contrast to the areas we came through.
Apparently until the late 20’s Ayvalik and the surrounding areas was Greek, and only became part of Turkey under a deal when the Turkish state was formed and people of Turkish descent on Crete were resettled in Ayvalik, and people of Greek descent were resettled in Greece or the Greek islands.
Perhaps that explains the Cretan windmills we saw as we explored the town and the surrounding area. Reputedly the cuisine and culture is very Cretan influenced.
We explored the ‘almost island’ of Alibey Alasi on our tandem, marvelling at the crystal clear waters of the Aegean…
Of course we hade to take a swim near a glade of olive trees that came close to the water’s edge and providing welcome shade. Although reached by a dirt road it was clearly popular with the locals who started coming out in force by car as the afternoon cooled down.
In the evening we took a ride to a local, very popular, beauty spot, or Şaytan Soufari or the Devil’s Table to you and me. It is a hill of around 100 metres high, that overlooks Ayvalik and the surrounding coast line. There is a bare bit of rock which is alleged to be where the devil trod when leaping across to Greece.
It was a very attractive place with wonderful panoramic views and we could understand why so many people visited, just a shame they were all there the same time as us!