I haven't got around to writing about this trip till months later. Here are just a few notes:
Family health problems kept Ayşe from going to the Logic Colloquium this year. I travelled with Pınar, one of our students.
Ayşe had been planning to travel as far as İzmir with us. Then, on the day when we were going to leave, the water was cut to her parents' apartment, so her parents came to our apartment, and she stayed with them.
So: On Tuesday, July 26, 2005, Pınar and I took the 17:10 train from Ankara to İzmir. We took a couchette to ourselves—that's a berth with four beds (really six beds, but at most four tickets are sold, and we had bought them all). Because of a labor dispute or something, there was no restaurant car, but we had come prepared with our own food. The train bumped along slowly, stopping inexplicably sometimes. I slept fitfully.
On Wednesday morning, around 10:00, we reached İzmir and found a city bus to Üçkuyular; there, at the regional otogar, we caught a bus to Çeşme. At the harbor in Çeşme, we bought ferry tickets to Chios from the Ertürk office (though I think there were competitors). We visited the castle and sat a while in the shade of a tree there.
At the appointed time, we assembled at the Ertürk office. I chatted with a visiting young couple of French people living in Spain. They had changed their minds about travelling in Turkey after two bombings, in Çeşme and Kuşadası.
Ertürk people drove us to the ferry terminal. Pınar had trouble getting the exit tax waived, since her official letter was from our department chair, and not the dean of our faculty. After some arguing, she was let through.
In Chios, we had to ask around a lot before finding an office selling ferry tickets to Piraeus. Meanwhile, we hooked up with a British couple who were looking for the same thing. They had been hoping for a berth, but I passed on Ayşe's experience: that one could just roll out one's sleeping bag on deck. This is what Pınar and I had been planning to do; the young man selling tickets said it could be done; our new companions decided to do the same. Being also vegetarians, they joined us for dinner at one of the restaurants along the quay.
On the ferry, we were directed to a big room of “Pullman” seats. We had assigned seats on our tickets, but nobody paid attention to these. Early birds stretched out on the floor where they could. I went scouting and found lots of space on the decks above, so there we went.
One other person was preparing to sleep on the top deck. He warned us about the wind. It became fierce in the night, even knocking over my boots. Still, the air would not have been cold; moving as it was, we needed our sleeping bags, although the wind battered them.
On Thursday morning, 6:00, we docked at Piraeus and made our way (with some difficulty, and asking directions) to the Piraeus metro station, which was unmarked. Perhaps we could have taken the public bus by where we docked. We went to Omonia, saw the university building where we would register later, and found the bus that Pınar took to the university dormitory where she would be staying. (I learned later that these dormitories had been used by the press during the Olympics.)
I walked to my own hotel, the Alassia; slept for maybe an hour; then went to register for the conference. On the way, I noticed a vegetarian cafeteria. Simon and Nebahat joined me for lunch there, along with a set-theorist named Justin.
Afterwards, by myself, on foot, I visited the Acropolis. The excitement kept me from feeling sleepy.
Xavier sent me a photograph from an evening out below the Acropolis: