In the Aegean Sea, not far off the west coast of Turkey is the little-known island of Bozcaada. Here, time stands still in the most nostalgic of ways. Old men gather in town square to play backgammon over tulip glasses of Turkish tea, shops open around nine, or ten depending on the haziness of early summer mornings, and people on the streets greet one another as neighbors, stopping to chat, or just to offer a cordial handshake.
The island is old-fashioned, yet winsome: row houses accented with colors from childhood — pink, purple, yellow and blue — flank cobbled alleys and main roads. The smell of the salty sea wafts from the shore and mixes with the delicious scent of thyme, an herb which grows in abundance here.
Bozcaada is tiny — 15 sq mi to be exact — so traipsing around town without getting lost is guaranteed after the first couple of strolls. The island's four major wineries offer tastings everyday, so be sure to try any of the blends incorporating grapes grown locally.
It’s easy to find a favorite cafe or bench to enjoy a scoop of ice cream or a strong cup of Turkish coffee to pass the time lazily away. Don't miss the delicious tomato jam sold at a tiny shop called Salto (located behind the main square). It is an island specialty and a treat for the tastebuds.