All my life I've loved going on ferries. As a child, crossing the Mersey from Pierhead in Liverpool to Wallasey or New Brighton was a weekend treat. My father used to make up tales about some of the more colourful passengers, so it seemed like a trip into another world, as we chugged across that estuary.
Later on I made Channel crossings on ferries that were often old tubs, just about seaworthy. However, it was always an adventure to step on board, leave one country and disembark in another.
The next step up was travelling to Turkey, and taking the ferry in Istanbul to travel between Europe and Asia. What a thrill to travel from one continent to another, enjoying spectacular views of famous buildings all the way. At the same time, the small, bustling two-deck ferry boats reminded me of the Mersey ferries, with the same vwoop-vwoop of their horns as they cast off, the swirl as they spun round to dock or set sail. On the Turkish ferries it's an additional pleasure to buy a tulip glass of tea from the nimble seller holding his round tray by its long handle as he threads his way through the passengers.
This summer my ferry travels were even more exciting. Arriving from the Asian side, we crossed the Dardanelles to reach our holiday villa near Gelibolu. During the next few weeks, we crossed and recrossed the Dardanelles to visit Troy, Canakkale and so on. There are ferries at many points along the coast. Some take forty minutes to do the crossing, like the Lapseki-Gelibolu ferry. Further down at a narrower point, the ferry crosses from Kilitbahir to the centre of Canakkale in fifteen minutes. Only just enough time for that glass of tea. Sitting on the upper deck, in the sunshine but always with a cooling breeze, the journey was so pleasant I felt tempted each time to stay on board and repeat the crossing until the end of the day.
Lapseki Ferry, from Lapseki to Gelibolu
Koz KahveIn Canakkale, Turkish coffee prepared in the traditional way - by heating the coffee in a brazier of hot charcoal and ash. It takes twenty minutes to heat the coffee to boiling point but worth the wait for the rich flavour.