Thursday 17th Nov
We were again, woken by the bloody cockerel, this time for some reason, in her sleepy state, Karen managed to turn it off. I still don’t know how she did it. Looking out of the door (there are no windows!) we knew straight away that we wouldn’t get our balloon trip today either, it was still foggy, but we went along for some more coffee and then decided that we would hit the road on our long journey back up towards Troy and Gallipoli. We had one more thing we wanted to see as we left the region and that was to visit the largest lake in Turkey. It is completely salt, and you can walk on it.
We got to the side of the lake and there was the usual hawkers selling stuff by the only access point. Karen decided to buy some ..... er.... salt!
It was mixed with lots of good stuff that makes people beautiful and was very cheap at only half a king’s ransom per tub – she bought 2. We had a wander onto the salt lake and after kicking wet salt about in the freezing cold wind we pulled the plug on it, jumped back into a warm Gromit and set off for Troy.
|This was a typical roadside scene. Old men and old animals.|
We were driving for a place called Eskisehir but on reaching it decided to press on a bit more. It was dark when we reached Bursa, about 100km further on and when we went looking for a suitable hotel we were disappointed. Some would not take the cat, others had no parking or were visually unappealing. So, we pressed on some more and ended up around midnight at a place called Balikisir. Here we found a nice place, Hotel Basli, who had no problem with the cat and a large car park at the rear. We both slept the sleep of the dead and awoke in the morning, comfortable in the knowledge that we only had 200km to go to Troy the next day.
Friday 18th Nov.
We woke up full of the joys of spring despite winter now biting hard, we ate breakfast, ‘borrowed’ a few hard boiled eggs for later (this is becoming a habit) and then showered and set off at about 10:15am. Karen is well rested and happy to be through the worst of my cold. We had intended to stay in a campsite near Troy but realised that it had closed for the winter a week or so ago.
We drove to Troy and arrived there at about 2 pm. We were not sure what to expect except for a large wooden horse that has a 3D image on Google earth.
|This is the original hose as used over 3000 years ago. They had some awesome creosote in those days.|
What we found was far more profound. Apparently there had been some sort of fort on this site for nearly 5000 years. It had undergone about 9 rebuilds after numerous battles, sackings and pillages, eventually ending up as a Roman fort.
|At first sight Karen would appear to be correct - a pile of stones|
|But later it was apparent they used mud and straw as well.|
|The preservation of the first, 5000 year old phase, was incredible.|
|A later Roman phase, about 2000 years old.|
|The plaque number indicate the phses of construction|
In one photo there are numbered plaques on the wall showing the different era’s of fortification. The thing that really blew us away was that Troy had been completely lost and was found by a German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann who, in 1870, worked out the location by reading poems written by a Greek guy named Homer who lived about 800 years Before Christ. There are some damned clever people in this world and I’m not one of them.
Everyone knows the basic fame of Troy. But here is a bit more detail: around 12-1300 years BC, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The moral being, do not nick someone else’s wife or you will start a war.
Anyway, the Greek raiders, having failed to take the city, decided to build a huge wooden horse, placed a load of soldiers inside and the remainder sailed away as though they had failed in their raid. They said that they had left the horse as a present. The people of Troy who obviously liked presents, (Christmas hadn’t been invented yet,) then wheeled the horse into the fort and hey presto, out popped a lot of nasty Greek men who promptly set fire to the city. The Greek raiders, seeing the smoke from their boats, turned round (as per their dastardly plan,) and finished the city off. We understand that the horse in our photographs is the original one that was used. ;-)
In the end, to use one of Karen’s favourite terms, “it’s just another pile of stones” (along with a big wooden horse,) so we decided to move on the 30km drive to Cannalakke and then the ferry over to Gallipoli. There we immediately found a cheap, comfortable hotel, the Crowded House Hotel, and chilled for the night.
|We saw lots of this at the side of the road. It is cotton plants strayed off the fields. First time I have seen cotton growing.|
|Looking over the Dandiellas Strait. Gallipoli in the back ground.|
Saturday 19th Nov.
We set off today (after our egg liberation routine) and went to seek out some of the Galipoli war cemeteries and battle sites.
|This was the back of our hotel. A woman collecting olives ! The woman IN the tree is out of camera shot.|
The Galipoli campaign was a sad time for the British Empire. An 11 month battle with many thousands of lost lives for no gain whatsoever.
When the Turks decided to enter the Great War (WW1) they opted to join the wrong side. (i.e. the losing side – eventually).
In February 1915, with the war raging in Europe, Sir Winston Churchill, along with the French, decided to try to open up a warm water link to Russia in order to help resupply them, the North of Russia being a frozen sea in winter. The only route to do this was through the centre of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Dardanelles straight (the stretch of water beside Galipoli). He set about attacking the bottom of the Galipili peninsula, along with French and Indian troops, and met a lot more resistance than he anticipated. The battle raged on against the Turks and on the 25th of April another allied force of commonwealth soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) attacked the peninsular from a bay on the West side, now officially called Anzac Bay. This day has gone down as one of Australia and New Zealand’s history as one of the most specific and is remembered every year as ANZAC day.
The whole episode lasted until almost Christmas when a covert withdrawal was made and the peninsular given back to Turkey.
As I said earlier, it was a complete and sad waste of humanity. It total about 87,000 Turks died with around 200,000 wounded. On the allied side, 44,000 died with around 97,000 wounded. A breakdown of these is: British 21,000, French 10,000, Australians 8,700, New Zealanders 2,700, Indians 1,350 and Newfoundlanders’ (Canadians) 49.
|The memorial at the ferry terminal, it includes a Brit, an Auzzie, a Kiwi, a Frog, an Indian and 5 Turks.|
|Next to the memorial is an outdoor relief map. The Turks are serious about their history (and victory)|
On our arrival at the first memorial, we were overtaken at the entrance by a Gendarmarie (Military style Police) van and a black Megane with a red plaque and 2 stars on it indicating a 2 star General was inside. They stopped at the memorial and we pulled in after. The Gendarmarie ushered us to park to one side as we duly did at the wrong end of a machine gun.
This is becoming a theme throughout our travels in this part of the world. I stayed in the car for a bit longer and when Ray was not dragged off in handcuffs I got out and joined him.
I got out as did the General and went to view the memorial. Then 2 busses of soldiers turned up and it turns out that they were giving their recruits a history lesson.
Whilst wandering around the General nodded to me in acknowledgement and said “hello”. We then entered into a conversation about the size of the Turkish army, the history lesson being given to his recruits and the fact that British soldiers were not taught military history, and of course our travels. You couldn’t make it up. There was no one else at the Australian memorial except two Brits and a section of the Turkish army. (And one cat)!
|The Generals aide, Me, the General and Karen.|
They followed us along the various memorials including the main Turkish one. It was quite surreal.
|South of ANZAC cove|
|The Turkish roll of honour|
|Gromit paying her respects|
|A quotre from Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. It is profound.|
|The ANZAC memorial on the cove.|
After our own history lesson gleaned from the many plaques and information boards at the sites we set off for Greece.
Allah and his influence on Turkish driving.
I thought it appropriate to mention the effects of religion on turkish driving. There is a much used phrase in the Turkish language, "Insh Allah" (or something like that), it means "The will of God". When they drive they expect Allah to look after them. This is all very well but unlike us Cristians, they do not give him a hand. Their driving is incredibly bad. We have seen hundreds of overtakes on blind bends, we saw overtakes on thick fog and mad speeds. We saw 2 lorries overtake a stream of other lorries in a contraflow using the lane for oncoming traffic. On return to the corrrect lane they took out a stream of cones.
I on the other hand have changed my opinion of Turkey completely. It is not a place I would have considered visiting before, it held absolutely no interest to me at all. I have revised that opinion in the last 3 weeks. As Ray says yes the driving is awful, and they do rely on faith, but we have witnessed one quite serious road accident, and the number of drivers who stopped to help was quite amazing, but we have also experienced it first hand, when they thought we had broken down in the snow. The people are lovely and always willing to help with a smile. Apart from a couple of pushy sales persons, we have not had a bad experience. The difference from the towns to the countryside, is again very marked and on leaving the towns, you again feel that you have taken a step back in time. We have been waved at by pensioners and children alike, and they actually stop and stare as we go past. The scenery is beautiful and again it is not something I had ever given any thought too. We have not even covered half of the country and have literally been through all 4 seasons of the year. The only reason we knew there had been a couple of earth quakes was via texts from home. I would come back again.
We arrived at the border about 3 hours later and the journey through the border was completely painless with the Greeks not even checking our passports. We drove another half hour and found a small hotel in Alexandroupoli. A short trip out for grub and so to bed.
Sunday 20th Nov.
We rose slowly and then set off for the 300km motorway ride to Thessolonika which is probably Greece’s second city. We found a very nice hotel which was for a change was expensive but we were short on options. The cheap ones were in the slum areas and we did not want to leave Gromit parked on the street in that area. A long walk along a very lively coast road which was lined with bars and restaurants and...... Motorcycles....bliss. At the end we stopped for grub in a very nice restaurant where unfortunately the food did not match up to the decor.
We have one very crucial problem here we cannot find a Greek flag sticker for the side of Gromit. Oh well.