I AM seated with my wife Diane in a delightfully situated waterside restaurant in the old harbour of Bozcaada. The Imam is calling for afternoon prayers at the same time as Bono sings ‘In the Name of Love’.
The setting is actually quite gorgeous. The sky is a striking blue; sunlight dances off the still water; and small fishing boats lie at anchor mere feet from where we are enjoying fried calamari and chips, washed down with a large glass of local red wine. It is a tad too cold for my liking, but hey ho.
Along the road, market stalls are attracting day tourists from the cruise ship Thomson Spirit which is anchored off-shore, tenders too-ing and fro-ing. A local ferry is also busy, carrying passengers across to the Turkish mainland, and bringing more tourists in on the return trip, wheeling suitcases to the many attractive boutique hotels which dot the town.
This, small, tantalisingly cosy Aegean island breathes insouciance, and it is easy to be caught up in its charm. Old stone houses litter the streets, many undergoing refurbishment, a sign that times may be changing. For now, the blend of old and new mix like a flavoursome cocktail.
Approaching the island by boat, the castle is the first major attraction. You may question why such an imposing building is here. Well, with the island being located at the mouth of the Dardanelles and close to the mainland, it has been open to invasions over the centuries. Bozcaada Castle is, in fact, one of the best preserved castles of Turkey.
For all its cost charm, this is a busy island, with bicycles, scooters, cars and minibuses constantly buzzing around. In order to reach the splendid beaches, you will need to hire transport, such is the impracticality of walking due to the long distances. Public transportation is supplied by minibus, plying the route to Ayazma and Habbele beaches.