Day 4 - Wednesday - Troy, Pergamum, Selçuk>
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Our guide for our first stop in the morning at Troy was Mustafa who spoke excellent English, told some good jokes along the way, and was also very knowledgeable about the site, having written a book on the subject of Troy. He had also written a book on Gallipoli, which he was keen to point out to the Australian contingent.
Mustafa gave us an introduction to the history of Troy on the way to the site. Once there, he really brought things to life - explaining the importance of what otherwise might appear to the layman to be just another old brick wall.
Mustafa didn't have the monopoly on the jokes. He asked the men in the group whether they would fight for a beautiful woman for ten years, as Paris had for Helen. Mustafa commented that after ten years she would not be beautiful any more. Kiwi Brent then said - "Oh, you mean the same woman for ten years?"
We also had the company of some four-legged guides who would invariably run ahead of us, leading the way. Mustafa told us of a colleague who had been tasked with guiding a group around the site, but had not done so before. He was told that the best thing to do was simply to 'follow the dogs'.
We were first on the site - no other group was present, and only one other group turned up while we were there, meaning we had great opportunities for photos. Unadulterated views of the bricks!
By the way - the horse outside the ruins is not original, nor is it based on any known design of the Trojan Horse. In fact, there's little hard evidence itself that the horse even existed. But don't let that get in the way of any photo opportunities, eh?
We had our first Turkish lesson as we left Troy, which included counting from 1 to 10. I had also made a list of phrases which I thought would come in most useful through the trip, which I include on the dictionary page for your reading and learning pleasure.
Another refreshment stop, another chance to practise said Turkish. Just by saying "Two please, that's all" in Turkish rewarded me with a smile and a comment about me learning Turkish. Evidently people don't bother with it much, and for those who do it seems to go down well. For your information, the phrase was "Iki l�tfen, tamam". Not exactly rocket science.
Throughout Turkey, there are unfinished buildings. There are apparently a number of reasons for this including Mafia involvement, simply running out of funds or tax reasons. Whatever the cause, on this stretch of the journey I seemed to notice loads of these buildings. Mostly they are unfinished shells of buildings. Sometimes they will have windows put in and rendering (and sometimes even paint) applied. But still they would be empty. Despite looking like they are under construction, rarely is there any evidence of construction work taking place - no cement mixers, no trucks, diggers and definitely no workers. It's astonishing to think that anyone would consider a new building venture when no-one seems to be able to finish on the job, and when so many buildings lay empty, some of them empty for many years by the looks of things. The strangest thing was that there did not appear to be any pattern in this - we would often see a completely finished building right next to an unfinished shell of another.