As the ferry approaches Foça, small quick whitecaps slap the hull. The several hundred of us Sunday-morning passengers have headed out of İzmir, Turkey for a day of Aegean sun in this ancient fishing village, harbor town, and tourist trap. Out the ferry’s starboard windows, the white walls and terracotta roofs of Foça’s buildings gleam. Out the port windows, the sea is deep blue, the sky pale and hazy. The small islands nearby are low and arid, scattered with scrub pines. A two-year-old girl pukes near the ferry’s exit, and so the crowd jostles onto the gangway and dock.

I stroll along the quay between the shady cafes and shiny yachts. Farther along, the stone walls of the old fortress loom above surf curling onto the breakwall’s rocks. Still farther on, the small, ship-shape, brightly painted wooden fishing boats tug at their mooring lines. Out to sea on the horizon, the silhouette of a boat—a modern yacht…or a medieval galley…or a Phoenician trader? Light, stunningly bright but without sharp edges, took Joe Travers’ breath here along the Aegean in southwestern Turkey. And now, it takes mine.


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