‘A darling, lonely island, Bozcaada is a village adrift in the Aegean,’ in Kevin Gould’s words (‘Joy in a Bottle, Cornucopia 41). Bozcaada, old Tenedos, is a little to the south of Troy, and only a few miles of off Turkey’s northern Aegean coast. It has always been famous for its wines, the place for merchantmen to stop off to revictual. There is just one village of the same name, divided into old Turkish and Greek neighbourhoods, watched over by Ottoman fortifications. Demetri Kakmi’s childhood on the island is described in his brooding, semi-autobiographical novel, Mother Land.
Welcome to the last untrammelled corner of the Turkish coastline. In winter you could be in Orkney. It’s windy here, and on the mainland there are still remains of olive trees burnt black by ice storms half a dozen winters ago. But as Berrin Torolsan writes in her chapter on the wine-maker Reşit Soley’s house in At Home in Turkey: ‘Bozcaada means “whitish isle” in Turkish and approached by ferry from the mainland, the island looks arid, almost treeless and has indeed a whitish glint. It was this mineral-rich, limy volcanic soil, combined with the sunny climate and constant chilly winds, that made the island famous for its wine. The Spanish Traveller Clavijo visited in 1401 and wrote that he found many vineyards.’
There is a car ferry from Geyikli every hour or so. Kamil Koç and Ulusoy run bus services between Istanbul and Geyikli.
Nice with a car, but there are other ways, too.
Lots of lovely little restaurants by the harbour. Excellent meze. And Corvus’s Çavuş is the perfect wine to wash them down.