Troy to Tekirdag
Trip Start Oct 11, 2008
64Trip End Feb 20, 2009
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Long after Brad Pitt got shot in the heel, a German came to the same place of action and bulldozered through the pile of rubble. His name was Schliemann, and his claim to fame was that he so rediscovered Troy. Shortly after that, he stole the found items, took them to Berlin, from where they, in turn, were stolen by the Russians during the finale of WW2. Compare England and the Elgin marbles and The Bastille obelisk in France. Sometimes something gets returned, the Italians returned one of the stelae back to Axum. A Dutch guy returned a piece of stone, taken from out of Efese, back to the museum in nearby Selcuk. He apologized for taking a bit of stone, stating "if everybody does so, what will be left of such a place?" We concur, if the musea can take proper care. This museum did, the stone was in a separate display case, with the letter and a Turkish translation.
Had Schliemann really rediscovered Troy? At least he wrung his finds into that conclusion, thereby probably time warping the real events to a moment a few thousand years earlier. Nowadays, the inhabitants of the village next to the Hisarlik hill, are doing something similar. Schliemann did live in a hut, close to his dig. After he left, the hut got lost. Fire or grubs, we don't know. Then a movie company rebuilt one as a prop in a biopic on Schliemann. They, in turn, left the new hut to be eaten by grubs or consumed by fire. But the inhabitants of the village salvaged the "monument". They moved it next to the village hotel (on which you will read more later) and christened it "Schliemanns Hut". Kind of genuinely fake monument, copied and put up on the wrong place. They are however intend on being honest, so they put a sign next to it, with the above story in three languages. But tourists can still frame their shots in such a way that it only shows the hut.
The ruins are impressive. It looks like a Lego box, turned upside down in the sand. All kinds of stone, different sizes, material, broken, intact, some pieces neatly stacked. How archaeologists find any meaning in it is equally impressive. Schliemann identified seven layers, but later on many of these have been found to consist of buildings from different periods. So many more layers exist. But some of these have been dug into deeper layers, confusing the order. Einstein was right; the fourth dimension, time, has entered into the archaeological equation.
From Troy we drove along the East shore of the Dardanelles to Canukkale. Enough room on the ferry to get our truck on. Just half an hour waiting time, which we spent to look at another wooden horse. The first one was in Troy, of course. This one was equally big, but more artistic, kind of almost the real thing. But one could not climb inside. Back on the ferry, it was pleasant enough to sit outside and look over the railing. And see a big turtle swimming close by, its shell more than a metre long. And Shearwaters flying past in flocks, unlike the single ones sometimes seen along the Dutch coast. Arriving in Eceabat, on the European shore, we almost missed the turnoff south to the Gallipoli monument. Upon our arrival there, the area was swarming with Turkish military personnel, so we did it the Japanese way; Picture and move again. Went back to Eceabat, had lunch and continued north. The road could have been wide and fast, but we had seen a narrow line on the map linking Gelibolu to Tekirdag, our destination. That road proved narrow, winding and slow. 3D in need of tarmac, we were back in Africa for a while. It rose to three hundred metres next to the Sea of Marmara, we were looking down on super tankers. Slow but magnificent.