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F - 272 : Travel Itinerary for Summer 2022

Welcome back to the next episode of our travel blog. Next year, we shall continue following Genovese Sailing routes which bound the economic and political fate of both Genoa and Constantinople together for centuries. When we set foot on the boat next summer, we are halfway into our project and well on the way to our final destination: the Crimea and Georgia on the Black Sea.

Genoa helped Constantinople to regain its independence after being sacked in 1204 by the 4th Crusade under Venetian Leadership. Constantinople rewarded Genoa with large trade concessions and colonies (Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Lemnos, Galata etc which we plan to visit).

Preparing next year's itinerary was a bit of a challenge.. Our initial idea was to sail from Athens, where we finished this year, to Istanbul. The strong Meltemi this summer made us reconsider the plan. The northerly wind prevailed this summer well into July and August. Had we sailed in 2021 we would have encountered strong head winds and choppy waters week after week. We thus decided to move the trip by one months to August - September and reverse the direction. We shall sail from Istanbul to Athens instead with any late Meltemi pushing us south from behind.

The well known Meltemi was particularly strong this year and contributed much to the large forest fires in both Greece and Turkey.

Another challenge are the increasing tensions between Greece and Turkey. Both countries are at odds about the extent of their Exclusive Economic Zones in the Mediterranean where large gas fields were discovered. We planned to cross the Greek - Turkish border frequently on our way south - the border is an artificial divide of a beautiful region which was unified for thousands of years until the Balkan War in 1912. Shipowners are - rightly so - worried that their yachts may be caught on the wrong side of the border if tensions flare up and won't rent to a party like us. We thus had to split the journey into two legs - the first two weeks will be primarily in Turkish waters on a Turkish Gulet. The last two weeks will be in Greek waters on a Greek sail boat. We will swap boat on the Greek Island of Samos.

Turkey's and Greece's overlapping territorial claims for EEZ

We all hope that Greece and Turkey will find a way to resolve their disputes and that by August 2022 we can visit the Greek Island of Lesbos and Chios on our way south. It would be a pity to miss them. They were an integral part of the history of this region and still are. We will have to see and cross fingers.

Itinerary 2022 from Istanbul to Athens

Over the next few months, this blog will cover topics related to people, geography, food, drink, history, geology, politics and whatever interesting there is along our journey. It will start with a piece on the ancient ports of Miletus, Ephesus and Troy. It always puzzled me how these ports were cut off from the Aegean Sean. The next blog explains why.

NB: F - 272 stand for F = 6th year of sailing and - 272 = 272 days to go to 15 August 2022

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