For the second year in a row I feel lucky and privileged to visit the Gallipoli peninsula.
It’s a 5 hour drive from Istanbul and after a ‘light’ lunch ha ha… beside the lovely fishing boat harbour in Gelibolu ( Turkish word to Gallipoli ) – where I fell in love with the fresh lemon stuffed olives .
We traveled a further 10 minutes and drove up the one way road to the Memorial sites.
The Gallipoli peninsula sits on the edge of the Agean sea the Strategic Dardanelles waterway continues onto the Sea of Marmara , the Bosphorous and the Black Sea.
It is now dotted with cemetaries and monuments acknowledging the 500.00 allied and Turkish soldiers who never made it back from form one of the bloodiest battles of world war 1
The crowds of Turkish visitors is humbling and it was noticeable to see the Australian and New Zealand visitors on this 100th commemorative year.
The loss of life is hard to comprehend and impossible to imagine the horrible conditions and despair when our young men were faced with the steep hills and trenches – in some cases only meters away from the turkish troops .
Chunuk Bair Is the highest point and here – 28,00 men who died here in August 1915
The bottom right photograph is the Mehmetcik Memorial – unveiled in 1985 – Atatturk eulogy unites the fallen sons of Turkey with the Allies dead .
Cannakkale sits on the narrowest point of the Dardenelles – it has always been a site of battles from as far back as 400 BC
Today the ferry links the European side where Gallipoli Peninsula sits to Cannakale in the Asian side and what we know as Turkey – although once called Anatalolia.
A city with a big university and army base . Its a lovely stop for a night and our seafood restaurant provided more delicious food.
Distances are long in Turkey and our next day started with a tour through the historical site of Troy.( Trova)
This is one of the most excavated sites in Turkey – and ruins have been excavated from as far back as 4000 BC – Troy was the site of huge city – its massive neat stonework and walls change gave us a brief glimpse into this famous site – and of course the story of the Trojan horse .
Its a good long drive today .We passed the small town of Ezine – famous for its cheese and I had seen this in the market in Istanbul.
For the next hour we drove with the edge of the Agean sea on our right – on the opposite side of the road there was miles of miles of condominiums surrounded by thousands of olive trees – I am not sure where all theses people swim in the summer , the beach is so narrow and very pebbly
By 1pm we arrived in the city of Edrimit. Alison and Hasan returned to the same amazing local restaurant as last year – which has been in the same family for many generations.
Don’t know why but I chose what could only be called a ‘hearty’ lunch of stuffed Eggplant , slow cooked lamb and spinach .. it was followed by a very nice sweet baba made with ricotta cheese and served with icecream on top.
I desperately needed a coffee and braved a Turkish coffee – I had to add little sugar !!! and it was OK !!
Evidently there are a lot of Nomads living in the hills behind the city and on our return to the bus we passed women selling baskets full of black and white mulberries and bright red cherries – I did buy some cherries – they cost 6 lire for 600 grams — approx $3 -pretty cheap .I am very weak when it comes to market stalls and would love to have bought lots more.
Our planned afternoon visit was to the dramatic ancient city of Pergamom, which sits above the city of Bergama. It was founded about 250 BC by the Greeks and became a huge metropolis with massive temples, a stadium , theatre, a huge forum and the steepest Amphitheatre I have ever seen – big enough to hold 10,000 people.
It was a famous learning centre and the library was renowned throughout the classical world .It supposedly had over 200,00 volumes made of fine calfskin – which Mark Antony later gave to Cleopatra as a wedding present.
It is extraordinary to walk through the excavated remains – huge perfectly chiseled blocks of stone, massive archways and beautifully carved columns.
It would certainly be a great visit for the Otago Polytechnics dry stone wall class.
It seems incredible that most of the artefacts are in the Bergama museum in Berlin.
Sadly many of Turkeys treasures are housed in European Museums.
Its humbling and a huge learning curve for most on my group . I wish my son Matthew was here – he studied classics and I know he would just love it.
We still had a good 2 1/2 hours to go to our two nights stop in Kusadasi . I know this hotel is going to be gorgeous and I am looking forward to the pool..