Sailing the Blue Aegean

(original photograph property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

Khios, my Favourite Greek Island…

(Breakfast with my new friends in Emporios)

Khios is not a very popular island but I love it! It is very close to the Turkish coast. It is not too small, as it is the fifth largest in the Aegean Sea with a population of close to 54 thousand souls and 842,29 square kilometres in size. Khios…or Chios…is famous for exporting its mastic gum and because of that they call it the “Mastic Island”.

Khios is not overlooked, however but it is certainly not as popular with tourists as is Santorini or Mykonos. But at least it is not as forgotten as Milos (where the Venus is from).

I usually spend some of my summers in Chios. I have been doing it for several years and now have many friends there. Among the things that I love about Khios is the Mavra Volia Beach in Emporios…

Mavra Volia beach is made of this:

(Volcanic stones of Mavra Volia, polished and beautiful but don’t take them home)

There are monasteries like Neo Moni up in the central mountains and many, many churches…

Chios is also the home of Aya Markella. She was assassinated by her step father and her death became her martyrdom. She lived in the XIVth Century in the town of Volissos and she was cannonised by the Greek Orthodox Church. Her feast day in July 22.

St. Markella.jpg

Going to Volissos, visiting the Monastery and then walking along the coastline to the cross is one of my pilgrimages…

All in all Chios is not too large, not too small but all of it is very lovely to me, especially the mountains as they coexist with the sea…

You can reach Chios by plane from Athens, or by ship and from Turkey as well from a fast catamaran as the journey to Cesme, Turkey is only twenty minutes. Chios has an international airport and seaport. Emporios Bay Hotel is where I recommend. From there you can hire a car and begin to get to know Chios. Remember, it is a small island and you can go everywhere in one day as the roads are excellent but the travel is slow as you are constantly going up and down mountains.

All photographs are property of FBC, C.2019 (Derechos Reservados)

Instagram: @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera

Esas Puertas Cerradas

(Puerta con gatos)

A mi me encantan los gatos y esta puerta me llamó la atención…

En el pueblo llamado Alacati (Alachati) en Turquia, hay muchas puertas muy interesantes…

Siempre hay que preguntarse, ¿que habrá detrás de esas puertas?

Las casas parecen estar vacías, pero no lo creo…

El pueblo de Alacati está en la provincia de Esmirna y es un pueblecillo con mucho interés turístico. Llegan en manadas de todas partes del mundo para caminar por sus callejuelas adoquinadas y luego comer en los restaurantes, que hay de todos tipos y casi todos son terrazas.

Fue un pueblo griego, pero después de la guerra de independencia turca intercambiaronse los pueblos y los griegos regresaron a Grecia y los turcos que en Grecia vivían, regresaron a vivir en lugares como Alacati. Esas casas de piedras y esas puertas tan interesantes fueron de los inquilinos griegos…

(Todas la fotografias son de la propiedad de Francisco Bravo Cabrera, C.2019 Derechos Reservados)

Instagram: @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera

In Ilica Harbour Even the Cats…

As I have been staying the summer in the Aegean region of Turkey in a little town called Ilica, I have been exploring and photographing about. A few days ago my wife and I walked to a nearby town in the peninsula, Chesme and a dog…that I named Paxota (see article)…followed us and walked with us seven kilometres.

Well, today, we were strolling around Ilica’s “fisherman’s wharf”, really just a makeshift marina, and a group of cats started to follow us around as well. I have been a cat lover all my life and I know that cats are curious and they come to you to see what you are all about but then they lose interest and leave. However, this cat family thought they were dogs! After all there are dozens of stray dogs wandering all around this town. They followed us everywhere as dogs usually do around here.

So the cats followed us. They stuck to us, playing at times, exploring things and getting into the most difficult nooks and crannies but went with us as we walked around the three hundred meters or so of marina. As it is my custom to name things, animals and even people, I have named the three males, Badoret, Manalet and Gasparó. The female kitten is Josefina.


I thought it was quite unique. Perhaps it isn’t so and you might have many stories of incidents such as this one. But for me it was out of the ordinary. Here in Ilica, nature is all around us. This is, after all, a village but an interesting one that behaves as a city would during the summer season.

Pretty nice boats in the Ilica Marina

After the middle of September, everyone leaves. The population reverts to about nine hundred souls. There are many beach places here, many bars and cafes along the waterfront and in summer they are bustling. Yet, come this time of year…end of September…it begins to look like a ghost town.

View from the west side of the Ilica marina towards the southeast

The beach is still beautiful and people still get in the water and swim, although the temperatures are going down. But you get a sense of closure, of something fun and lovely that has finished when you look around and see everything closed. After all, just days before everything was out, all the chairs, the umbrellas, the chaise longs, and most importantly, the people. Now there is silence and instead of tourist families there are packs of barking dogs…

This is Panxo, he’s a little crude but…what the hell…the beach now belongs to them, so…

All photographs and artwork in this blog are my original work. (C.2019) I am an artist living and working in Valencia, Spain. If you are interested in seeing more of my artwork, I cordially invite you to visit my Instagram galleries @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and to see my online gallery where I have posted my 2019 “JaZzArt en Valencia” collection, please go to http://www.ArtPal.comrfbravo1155


Travelling in Turkey, Alacati and Ilica on the Aegean

Alacati (pronounced Alachati) is a very pretty village on the Cesme (pronounced Cheshme) peninsula, which is very close to the city of Izmir, on the Aegean coast of Turkey. All the homes are stone structures and the streets, narrow and cobblestone.

During the day it is a relaxing place to walk around and shop. There are many authentic stores with items you will not see anywhere else. There are also many antique stores, some galleries and lots of tea house, coffee shops and open air restaurants. At night it fills with thousands of visitors from nearby or from very far away. There are many interesting little boutique hotels as well as many night clubs.

But I prefer to stroll around and enjoy the old houses. Their doors are very interesting and picturesque. Most of the houses date back to the time when the Greeks lived here, before WWI. Actually, if you take away the many fine restaurants and fancy shops all around Alacati and imagine it with only the old stone houses, it looks exactly like the Greek towns in the nearby islands, like Xios.

In and around the narrow streets there are artists studios working on ceramics, glass and textile pieces that are genuine works of art. The bougainvilleas adorn the facade of most of the houses, mixing and blending with the colours of their doors, the little streets of Alacati become a very pleasant place to spend some time.

It is a very nice place to visit, especially if you stay in nearby Ilica (pronounced Iliya) where you can enjoy the beach. Ilica is just about six kilometers away and there are many taxis and micro-buses that take you back and forth. Personally, I prefer to walk the 6k.

The Cesme peninsula, where you can visit Ilica and Alacati and the town of Cesme itself, has an international airport very close by, (about 1,5 hours away by car or bus) and an international port. From the port of Cesme you can book passage to many of the nearby Greek islands as well as to Athens. I highly recommend a visit, and perhaps you too would like to explore places like these and imagine who lives there and how life can be in an old stone Alacati home.

I am an artist from Valencia, Spain but I usually spend my summers in the Aegean coast of Turkey and Greece. If you liked what you read, please hit that like button, share and follow. If you would like to see my drawings and paintings, please visit my Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and for my 2019 new works of the series “JaZzArt en Valencia” go to