A day of history and tradition.
11.05.2013 - 11.05.2013 24 °C
We had to be up and on the bus this morning at the ungodly hour of 7.30am - which meant getting up at 5.45am and trying to get ourselves organised. We've lived up to our blog name this morning!
We left Kusadasi in the pouring rain, and have travelled through Turkey's third largest city - Izmir - with a population of 4 million people. The weather might be improving - I've seen a glimpse of the sun!
Stopped at yet another shopping opportunity, this time jewellery in silver, gold, turquoise - as well as hand crafted ornaments made from onyx. A very nice store, but frankly - I'm over it!
We then drove to Pergumum to the ancient Medical Centre at Asclepieum - established by the great physician Galen around 150 AD. We walked all over the grounds of this Medical Centre. There was a really well preserved theatre, built so that it provided theraputic healing for the sick. Mentally ill people were also treated here. Anyone who did not survive in the centre were virtually buried "out the back" so that the reputation of the centre was not tarnished. Perched high on a hilltop overlooking Pergamum is the Acropolis - it can be seen from virtually anywhere in the area.
We travelled probably for another 45 minutes up in to the hills to a small Turkish village called Gobeller. Everyone in the bus broke into groups of 5 or 6 (our group of 6 intrepid travellers stayed together), and each group was taken to a different house in the village where we were served lunch by families who live in the village. This was brilliant! A middle aged Turkish lady wearing the clothes of traditional ladies in regional Turkey - met us at the bus and walked with us to her home. While we walked along the little road, the Call to Prayer sounded from the minaret in the local mosque - quite memorable. This is a modest village with not a lot of luxuries. Our lovely host did not speak a word of English - and we had had a crash course in the Turkish language just prior to getting off the bus.
We sat under her verandah and were served a beautiful lunch with four courses plus dessert. We couldn't eat it all. We finished off with Turkish Tea - one of the nicest that I've had in Turkey. We met the lady's family - daughter (I think), and children - I'm not sure who were whose. Red played footy with the kids in the back yard of their little home - they loved that. The mother and daughter had beautiful faces - their smiles were genuine. When it was time to go we took some photos with them and then Ismail - our guide - came to collect us. We were finally able to get the message across to this lovely family that we thanked them for lunch and were honoured to be invited in to their home. We will talk about this experience for years to come. Very humbling. We walked back up the little laneway - with everyone waving goodbye to each other. Just wonderful.
We are continuing our journey northward along the western coast of Turkey - right on the Aegean Sea. The weather just now is beautiful - but we've had 4 seasons in 1 day today. Onward to Troy.
Troy has been heavily excavated - to uncover a history that dates back to 4000 BC. There are numerous castle walls still visible and an impressive small theatre. Some of the walkways and stairs are in disrepair and it's necessary to watch where you're walking.
In the 1870's, archaelogist Heinrich Schliemann was responsible for many of the discoveries in the ruins of Troy, but he also damaged the site and plundered it's riches. His wife was pictured wearing some of the ancient jewellery found at Troy. At the end of our walk around the site we visited the replica of the Trojan Horse. In August each year school children in the area release a white dove from the Trojan Horse - to celebrate peace.
We finally arrived in Canakkale (pronounced Chanuckelly) at 7.45pm - over 12 hours after leaving our hotel this morning in Kusadasi. It's a nice little town nestled right on the Dardanelles. Our hotel is beautiful - large and very busy. A long awaited highlight for us tomorrow - our visit to Gallipoli.