A history lesson from a Turk

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Caravanseray Hotel

Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Really couldn't make up my mind whether I wanted to go to Gallopoli or not...kinda seemed unAustralian not to, but went to Canakale to visit the last of the ruins in Turkey. Was headed for the Anzac hostel and went to the Anzac hotel by mistake. Was standing outside having a cigarette considering that this place looked far to expensive for a hostel and wondering where the hostel was when the doorman grabbed my bag and took it inside. After some bargaining I ended up in what they called "a very small room" in another hotel they owned down the street. Great place, but they were not exaggerating about 'very small' the bathroom was so small that I had to sit sideways on the loo!!

Next morning while they were trying to sell me the Gallopoli tour and I was trying to find out the details of getting to Troy it became apparent that both could not be done in one day, but Troy could be done the same day I went to Istanbul, if I went in the afternoon. Ok, so I went to Gallopoli, on a tour, something I never do, but there was no other way to see the place and I guess I really did want to see the sites that had been drummed into me since primary school. A ferry ride across the water, meet the guide and the Aussie couple also on the trip. A very grey day, just the right mood for a lesson on a war. Churchill decided that the Istanbul and the Bosphorus needed to be taken in order to have a shipping route to Russia, the Turkish were not keen on this idea.  Saw the impossible place they landed the Anzacs, they really didn't stand a chance. We had heard that the Scottish Admiral didn't even look at the landing site, just chose it off a map (with no contours??). The Turkish guide insisted that they were blown off course to the next beach,  Anzac Cove and the whole thing was an 'accident of history'. He was also a very theatrical mine of info on stats about the number of Turks and Anzacs that died and the depth, distance and general slaughter of trying to make progress through trench warfare. The trenches are still there, if a little more shallow from errosion. He showed us the grave of the youngest Anzac, 17 and how brave both the Anzacs and the young Turks were. We went through more cemetries than I can remember counting and I found out that the Turks never joined in WW2, guess they had had enough. The whole pennisular is now a national park and the movie was shot in Egypt! It was all round very depressing and just to top it off the guide played "And the band played walzting maltida" in the car on the way back down, as the rain started to fall...

And it kept falling, all night. Wandered around in the rain with the Aussie couple looking for somewhere to eat, got served 3 slices of white cheese on a white plate, after ordering at least 3 things off the menu, I thought.... listened to some live music with them, saw the horse from the movie, it is on the waterfront in Canakale. It rained on into the morning and I just couldn't face the idea of traipsing around ruins in the rain....never did see Troy!


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