Since I needed to renew my Turkish tourist visa, rather than wait for it to expire in a less convenient place for renewal, I decided to do the visa run to Meis Island, Greece today with Altug’s tour boat. The whole experience was very efficient and quite painless. Arriving at the Kas harbour at 9:15, with my Euro payment in hand, I waited with others at the harbour tea house for our passports to be processed. Then, at 10:30 we were off to the island, sitting topside on deck chairs for the half hour crossing. While there, I chatted with retired couple Peter and Suzie, he originally from the Ukraine and she from New Zealand, both now living in Fiji and veteran couch-surfers. She explained to me that they’d retired early to see the world and they spend several months each year travelling. What a lively and interesting couple – it was great to see their energy and enthusiam.
Once docked at the beautiful little Meis harbour – very Venetian looking – I wandered around looking at all the brightly coloured buildings and shuttered churches dedicated to various St. Georges. Behind the newly painted waterfront buildings are others, less well-maintained, and some in an advanced state of ruination. Many of these latter have for sale signs in the window. I sat harbourside for a cappuccino and the barman there said that the place is packed and hopping in July and August; right now, though, our little boat load of people were almost the only tourists in town. The place had very much the air of a stage set, just waiting for the players to arrive. On the return voyage one of the boatmen presented all of us with a glass of red wine. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend the day. Here’s a bit more info:
“Meis, or Kastellorizo, a tiny Dodecanese island with its population of a couple of hundred, sits opposite the harbour of Kas and in the day time you could be forgiven for thinking it is uninhabited as the port town on the landward side can be a little hard to spot. At night however the lights of the houses, shops and restaurants along the promenade twinkle enticingly across the moonlight bay. Kastellorizo has an interesting history of its own, governed by Rhodes, Egypt, the Venetian Doge and the Ottoman Turks. It’s 20th century history gets much more complicated with the little island passing through the hands of the French, Italians and the British. The events leading up to and including the 2nd World War pretty much decimated the island and its population and the fact that there’s anybody here at all is a testament to the islanders’ determination to keep their community alive.
Most people get here by boat; there are ferries from Rhodes and, recently, direct from Athens and lots of private yachts pull in of an evening to lie up in the harbour for the night”.
See pictures here.