Canakkale

It’s been a bit since my last post, since I was off in Vegas, which is too tiring. I’ll try to make the remaining posts more frequent so the story of my trip doesn’t drag on!

On the Official Day 1 we set off from Istanbul at around 7:30AM. I soon realized that I’d have to get used to early days every day. It took an hour just to get out of Istanbul and let me tell you, it is not comfortable to sleep in a bumpy bus ride. Our Contiki bus was as pleasant as any touring bus could be and it really gave us a chance to see the landscapes of Turkey, many farms and mountains with some forts or castles high up in the mountains on occasion.

The first stop was ANZAC Cove. Before this trip, I had no idea what that even was. I soon came to see that for the Australians and the Kiwis, it was an important day in history that greatly impacted them. Basically, a large group of volunteer Army men from Australia and New Zealand were sent to fight the Turks at ANZAC  (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Cove during World War I. The ANZAC came via water but soon found it very difficult to make their way through the dry tumble and rocks. This was the beginning of the battle of Gallipoli and ended in many lives lost on both sides. To this day they celebrate this tragic event on ANZAC day. It is quite beautiful for a place with such a sad history. We also stopped at Lone pine cemetery then made our way to the hotel.

Anzac Cove

Cemetery

Cemetery

Lone Pine Cemetery

Lone Pine Cemetery

ME in a trench the soldiers used to fight in

On the way we took a ferry to cross to Cannakale…and I am not a huge fan of boat rides, let’s just say the dramamine made me loopy and drowsy.

The hotel was rather isolated, as were a lot of the hotels that Contiki would place us in. The good thing is it’s nice and peaceful, the bad thing is it can get boring and the hotel food is rather limited. It was nice to walk around and there was a bar with happy hour downstairs.  At one point in the night, three of us ventured off to check out the beach at night by the edge of our hotel, it was small but cute. While attempting to walk back, it was super dark mind you and the moment these huge rabbits scampered by us, all I could remember is us girls screaming and yelling RAT! RAT! Obviously there no rats, but for a split second those seemed like the biggest rats I’d ever seen. Turns out there were rabbits everywhere in this hotel.

Most of us just passed out from sheer exhaustion and woke up to leave at 8AM for an interesting day at Troy.

Originally, I had thought this would be the highlight of my trip, next time I think I should do my research first. I had assumed that being on a tour meant everything was perfectly planned for you, but I soon realized that it’s hard to cater to everyone, so some things would be great while others were not.

The ride to Troy was short and it was really sunny outside. Basically, everything looked like a lot of rocks, I had never had to use my imagination so much. I didn’t think it was disappointing, I just had to realign my expectations. I did find it amazing that there were 7 layers of Troy over time from when the city was first built to the epic battle when the Greeks and then the Romans took over. I think I was just in awe that I was standing in Troy, it was an unbelievable thought, at least that was worth the trip. The Trojan horse was amusing; it was built in the 50s. I found it hilarious that many people wanted to see Troy because of Brad Pitt, and we soon discovered that the city of Canakkale had actually purchased the horse from the movie and put in the town center. We had actually seen the horse on our drive over, but no wonder Sayat, our guide failed to mention that fact, it would have been chaotic with all the girls scrambling to take photos with it.

I wanted to buy a horse figure, but 45 TL was a rip! I think the food was uneventful too because I can’t even remember it to report about it.

Pictures from Troy:

Sleepy Stray Dog

On our way to Kusadasi, where we would spend 2 nights we made another stop at Pergamum, an ancient Roman city on a high mountain top. There was a lot more remaining of these ruins and it was beautiful to see. The city itself was built on stone arches, a modern marvel at the time. There was an enormous altar with a sanctuary to Athena, but much of it had been taken by the Germans to the museum in Berlin. It’s funny how I now need to make a trip to Germany to see what Pergamum actually looked like as a whole. There was an alter to Zeus, and down a secret passageway we made our way to a Greek theater. Now I’m a newbie to seeing ruins so I’d never seen a real Greek theater before. It was probably not as big as most of the famous ones, but it overlooked a breathtaking view of the city. While we were there we could even here the call to prayer from the nearby mosque, and with the winds blowing strong, it was a really majestic moment.

A longer bus ride followed as we made our way through Izmir, the birthplace of Homer and on our way to our hotel in Kusadasi. More to come!

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