Day 3 - Tuesday - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Çanakkale
Neil told us that on every tour he has a little treasure hunt. A list of ten things that we have to try to look out for, just for fun. For this tour, the challenges to keep our minds ticking over while we sat on the bus were:
- A Blue Tractor (spotted in Tekirdag)
- A child wearing sunglasses (Spotted in Izmir)
- A mosque with two or more minarets (spotted almost as soon as he mentioned this item)
- A car without a Turkish number plate (an Audi A4 with Romanian number, spotted at Aphrodisias)
- A motorbike and side car (spotted in Fethiye)
- A tandem (spotted in Selçuk)
- An old man with a walking stick (spotted in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul)
- A bull (not just any old cow - had to have the horns ... Spotted in countless locations)
- A cement factory (spotted ... somewhere en route)
- A Beehive (spotted ... somewhere en route)
Some of these were too easy, we thought, so we decided to contribute some ideas for the next tour which included a helicopter, a Turkish woman smoking or a Turkish woman drinking tea in a café.
Our first stop of the day was at Gallipoli Town for a spot of lunch before heading around various locations around the Gallipoli peninsular.
Without getting in to too much detail, Gallipoli has major historical significance - particularly to Australians and New Zealanders - as it was the location of a bloody battle in World War 1. Most of those commonwealth soldiers had volunteered and met their deaths on the inhospitable hills. The story goes that the landing location of Anzac Cove was never the intended landing spot - that the marker buoy was moved from the intended landing spot (a flat area, labeled 'Brighton Beach'), intentionally or otherwise, to Anzac causing the difficulties that the Commonwealth soldiers faced.
Everywhere around the peninsular are monuments to the dead - both on the Turkish and the Commonwealth sides - which are well maintained and continue to attract many visitors. This probably explained the large number of Aussie and Kiwi visitors in our group - 12 altogether out of 18.
Among the more memorable monuments were statues commemorating the Turkish solder who rescued a Commonwealth soldier and carried him across no-man's land to the enemy trenches and, for the Aussies, the Lone Pine cemetery where so many young Australians who died were buried overlooking the sea.
On a slightly more light-hearted note, at the Anzac landing spot I spotted another blue tractor. I had to get a picture of it, just for the record.
We also visited the small museum at the site that cost just 1,000,000 TL (or 40p). It featured a number of artifacts, uniforms, items of weaponry (including some amazing bullets that had collided with other bullets mid-air, showing holes through the side and so on) and historical documents. Some of the most interesting were the letters sent home by servicemen to their loved ones back home, describing the scenes of war.
We then took a ferry across to the southern part of the Dardanelles - the Asian part. It was easy to spot where we were going, given the sign 'Feribot'. Other easy-to-recognise forms of transport include the 'taksi', as already mentioned and the 'Koç'. If I tell you that the letter o is pronounced 'oh' and that the ç is pronounced as 'ch' you'll see that this was not too difficult to follow!
Our hotel - or 'otel' - for the evening was in Çanakkale. This was a very plush affair with a nice pool, great accommodation and a beautiful view over the sea, with the northern (European) section across the way. Unfortunately I missed the sunset which tour leader Neil said he'd arranged for us because I was too busy making the most of the pool. He obviously forgot to arrange for the haze to disappear for the night, so by the time that we got there, all there was to see was a faint pink glow behind the haze.
Another good Turkish meal tonight, and a reasonably early finish - 10:30pm. There's no lie-in tomorrow though - it's another 7:30 departure, meaning a 6:30 wake-up.