A Travellerspoint blog

Istanbul

Gallipoli - a day to honour and remember.

sunny 25 °C
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Prior to our visit to Gallipoli we boarded our bus at the hotel in Canakkale this morning at 7.30am and drove to the port. Our bus drove straight on to the ferry (as did numerous other buses) for our short trip across the Dardanelles. Canakkale is a thriving town - with many beautiful hotels - ours was gorgeous. There are thousands of visitors year round to this area - and many of them Turkish people.
I don't think that anything can prepare a person for the emotional impact of a visit to Gallipoli. I'm almost lost for words - this experience has been so overwhelming. At Lone Pine Cemetery we looked for my Great Uncle Albert's headstone. Private Albert Morrow (aged just 18) who was killed on 16th December 1915 - reportedly one of the last Australian soldiers to be killed in action at Gallipoli. We found his name on the Memorial Wall at Lone Pine. This is the only reference number on the internet that we've been able to find for him. So, I'm comfortable that whatever there was for us to find - we found. Treasured photos were taken and a single wild poppy was left behind for my Uncle Albert.
We visited Lone Pine, Chunuck Bair and then finally - Anzac Cove. Red and I walked through some of the trenches at Chunuck Bair, and we walked on the beach at Anzac Cove. This is a beautiful little corner of Turkey - picturesque, peaceful. Yet it is the site where so much Australian, New Zealand and Turkish blood was shed. All those beautiful young boys - gone. Lest we forget.
We are now heading in an easterly direction towards Istanbul - where our Turkish adventure began. The weather today is heaven sent - could not be more beautiful.
We arrived back in Istanbul and our hotel at around 4.30pm, and bid farewell to members of the latest tour group - some interesting individuals in that lot! We had a shower and at 5.30pm met our friends Paul, Fleur, Jacquie and Lesley in the foyer for our last night in Istanbul and Turkey. Although we were all tired from an eventful 17 days travelling around the country, we could not waste this last night.
We caught two taxis up to Taksim Square - which seems to be the Spanish Steps of Istanbul (everybody congregates there) - and were blown away at just how many people were out and about. It turns out that a soccer game was on tonight, and the soccer fans were out in force. Our tour guides refer to them as hooligans - or holligans as they pronounced it. The holligans were dressed in red and yellow and were a lively bunch.
We walked down the main shopping mall in Istanbul. This is such an eyepopping sight. We did some last minute shopping at various little bazaars and in little alleyways - so interesting and exotic.
Then the 6 of us had a really great meal (our Last Supper) in a restaurant smack bang in the middle of all the excitement - beer, wine, starters, main course and Turkish and Apple Tea - for $22 AUD per head (including a generous tip) - just ridiculous. We headed back out in to the main mall and bought Turkish icecreams (the chewy sort) for dessert - from a little stall holder who put on a real performance while he was preparing the icecreams - chiming a bell when he got to a certain part of the icecream preparation - great fun! We were passed by hundreds and hundreds of football holligans (walking enmasse) - singing and chanting their team's anthem to live music. They were lighting coloured flares too, so there was smoke everywhere. As well, in the midst of all of this - the sounds of a Call to Prayer. The locals were out as well just walking along - this was 10.30pm on a Sunday night - unbelieveable scenes. It was all very good natured - the holligans were all happy and singing at the tops of their lungs - and their team lost 2-1. Who knows what it would have been like had they won! We recorded the excitement on our phones and cameras - an unforgettable experience!
We headed back up to Taksim Square which is where all the soccer fans had congregated. It got a bit dodgy at this point - a bit scary, but this is where we got in to taxis and headed back to our hotel. What an action packed final night in Turkey!

I want to finish today's entry with a message written to the first Australian, New Zealand and English party to return to Gallipoli after WW1 - by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - in 1934 :
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives,
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
To us there is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets
Where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries,
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives in this land
They have become our sons as well."
A beautiful mosque on the road to Istanbul.

A beautiful mosque on the road to Istanbul.

A memorial at Anzac Cove - Gallipoli.

A memorial at Anzac Cove - Gallipoli.

Annd and Red on the beach at Anzac Cove - a beautifully peaceful place now.

Annd and Red on the beach at Anzac Cove - a beautifully peaceful place now.

The Sphinx - names by the Aussie Diggers - with poppies in the foreground.

The Sphinx - names by the Aussie Diggers - with poppies in the foreground.

The beach at Anzac Cove.

The beach at Anzac Cove.

A plaque at Anzac Cove displaying the famous message from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - to those Australians who lost loved ones.

A plaque at Anzac Cove displaying the famous message from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - to those Australians who lost loved ones.

One of the hundreds of trenches at Gallipoli.

One of the hundreds of trenches at Gallipoli.

Now a place of peace and quiet - Gallipoli.

Now a place of peace and quiet - Gallipoli.

The Lone Pine at Gallipoli.

The Lone Pine at Gallipoli.

The name of Private Albert Morrow on the Memorial Wall at Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli.

The name of Private Albert Morrow on the Memorial Wall at Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli.

Red and Anne alongside the Memorial Wall at Lone Pine Cemetery - Gallipoli.

Red and Anne alongside the Memorial Wall at Lone Pine Cemetery - Gallipoli.

A poppy for an 18 year old Australian Soldier.

A poppy for an 18 year old Australian Soldier.

The Dardanelles - Gallipoli.

The Dardanelles - Gallipoli.

Sunset at Canakkale.

Sunset at Canakkale.

One of hundreds of buildings lit up at night along the main mall in Istanbul.

One of hundreds of buildings lit up at night along the main mall in Istanbul.

The main mall in Istanbul - 11pm on a Sunday night.

The main mall in Istanbul - 11pm on a Sunday night.

The Last Supper - us 6 travellers - our last night in Turkey.

The Last Supper - us 6 travellers - our last night in Turkey.

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Posted by Gibbo54 09:37 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Canakkale

A day of history and tradition.

all seasons in one day 24 °C
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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.
Red playing footy with the kids of the family who invited us for lunch.

Red playing footy with the kids of the family who invited us for lunch.

The Trojan Horse at Troy.

The Trojan Horse at Troy.

The ruins of Troy.

The ruins of Troy.

Troy dates back to 4000 BC. These ruins are 6000 years old.

Troy dates back to 4000 BC. These ruins are 6000 years old.

The village of Gobeller - where we were treated to a traditional Turkish lunch.

The village of Gobeller - where we were treated to a traditional Turkish lunch.

Saying goodbye to our lovely host.

Saying goodbye to our lovely host.

A moment captured, our lovely hostess having a good old laugh!

A moment captured, our lovely hostess having a good old laugh!

All of us together after lunch.

All of us together after lunch.

The lovely Turkish family who invited us in to their home for lunch.

The lovely Turkish family who invited us in to their home for lunch.

Traditional Turkish lunch - in the home of our host family.

Traditional Turkish lunch - in the home of our host family.

Modest backyard - in the village of Gobeller.

Modest backyard - in the village of Gobeller.

Walking through the village to have lunch with our special family.

Walking through the village to have lunch with our special family.

Typical village in Turkey - photo taken in transit - on our bus.

Typical village in Turkey - photo taken in transit - on our bus.

The ruins of an ancient Medical Centre at Asclepieum - at Pergamum.

The ruins of an ancient Medical Centre at Asclepieum - at Pergamum.

The theatre within the Medical Centre - built to provide therapeutic healing for the ill.

The theatre within the Medical Centre - built to provide therapeutic healing for the ill.

Columns within the ruins of Asclepium - all were cracked in roughly the same place - evidence of an earthquake.

Columns within the ruins of Asclepium - all were cracked in roughly the same place - evidence of an earthquake.

Our beautiful hotel in Cannakale.

Our beautiful hotel in Cannakale.

The city of Izmir - population 4 million.

The city of Izmir - population 4 million.

Posted by Gibbo54 13:39 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Kusadasi

Stepping back in time.

rain 20 °C
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Once we get to Kusadasi tonight we say goodbye to Yigit and Yusef and join another tour group for the final 2 days. That's going to be interesting.
We left our hotel at 8.30am and are now on our in a north westerly direction along the coast. We've stopped for morning tea at a roadside cafe right on a lake - hazy but peaceful. I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed our stops along the roadside. These places vary in size and cleanliness, but this is where you meet everyday Turkish people - special experiences.
Our next stop was one of those obligatory shopping stops - a leather outlet. I'm over these I have to say. They just want your money! We came inside to a darkened room with our apples teas and us 6 bedraggled Aussies were treated to fashion parade on a catwalk. Each leather coat that was modelled by male and female models displayed a number, and if you liked that coat you marked that number on a card - so that you could try it on later. The fashion parade lasted about 15 minutes. Paul and Lesley were pulled out of our little audience group and they modelled coats as well. This was really entertaining. At the end we were taken in to the showroom. I had written down a number and of course I was pounced open by a salesman. It was beautiful. The original price was $2,300 US, the wholesale price came down to $985 US. He eventually came down to $650 US. No deal - couldn't justify it. We all left without making a purchase, and noticed that the smile on the host's face had diminished somewhat.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, we made our way from the leather outlet to Ephesus and St. Mary's Cottage. This is reportedly the home where Jesus' mother Mary spent the last years of her life. Her home is now a small shrine - a beautiful, peaceful and holy place. The little building is set high up in the hills about 6 kms above Ephesus. When we came outside we lit candles for Red's Mum and my Dad - a moment for quiet reflection. We drank some water from the natural spring there, the same spring that has been providing water in this area for thousands of years.
We had lunch at the cafe just below the cottage and then drove back down the hill and to our long anticipated tour of the ancient ruins of Ephesus. After seeing so many ruins over the last couple of weeks we all wondered if this might be an anticlimax. We need not have worried. This was like walking down a street a few thousand years ago - just spectacular. The remains of baths, churches, shops were on either side of the street. There was one stretch of mosaic tiled flooring that stretched for about 100 metres - in front of what would have been shops. At the end of the street was the magnificent facade of the Library - visually overwhelming! I didn't know where to look first. Yigit took photos of our group in front of the Library and then a bit later on with the Amphitheatre in the background.
We spent over 2 hours at Ephesus - we won't forget it.
Then to another shop - this time a Turkish Delight shop. Now, this one I didn't mind. This was great fun - tasting the different flavours. We bought some to take home.
A final stop in Ephesus - at St. John's Church - at the foot of the Castle of St. John. One last history lesson from Yigit. There are many storks nesting in Ephesus and a couple of them had made a nest on top of one of the ancient columns. It was an unusual sight to see them flying over the city.
On to Kusadasi - a beautiful town right on the Aegean Sea. We checked in to our hotel and bid farewell to Yigit our guide and Yusef our driver. Yusef looked and smiled just like Peter Sellers. They both did a brilliant job - we will miss them.
We had dinner in this amazing hotel. Dinner was buffet style and probably the best I've ever been to. The desserts were like nothing I've seen before - very different and absolutely delicious.
We met some of our new travelling companions over dinner. Our little group of 6 (we are family now) would have been very happy to continue on to Istanbul - but we had no choice - will be on a huge bus in a group of 40 travellers - for the last 2 days of our tour.
A charming little street in the town of Celcuk - at the foot of the Castle of St. John.

A charming little street in the town of Celcuk - at the foot of the Castle of St. John.

A view of Celcuk - from the ruins of the Church of St. John.

A view of Celcuk - from the ruins of the Church of St. John.

The Castle of St. John - with the ruins of the Church of St. John in the foreground. The town of Celcuk is adjacent to Ephesus.

The Castle of St. John - with the ruins of the Church of St. John in the foreground. The town of Celcuk is adjacent to Ephesus.

Yigit giving us a lesson on how baptisms were carried out in the Baptistry of the Church of St. John.

Yigit giving us a lesson on how baptisms were carried out in the Baptistry of the Church of St. John.

Storks have built nests on the tops of ancient columns in the ruins of the Church of St John - Celcuk.

Storks have built nests on the tops of ancient columns in the ruins of the Church of St John - Celcuk.

The awe-inspiring Library at Ephesus.

The awe-inspiring Library at Ephesus.

Our group of 6 in front of the Library facade at Ephesus.

Our group of 6 in front of the Library facade at Ephesus.

Mosaic tiled flooring within the ruins of Ephesus - the tiled flooring was approximately 100 metres long.

Mosaic tiled flooring within the ruins of Ephesus - the tiled flooring was approximately 100 metres long.

Part of the ruins of Ephesus - painstakingly excavated.

Part of the ruins of Ephesus - painstakingly excavated.

The main road leading to the Library at Ephesus.

The main road leading to the Library at Ephesus.

Ephesus - a Greek city built in 1000 BC.

Ephesus - a Greek city built in 1000 BC.

It was a rainy day - memories surface of our visit to Pompeii 10 years ago - another rainy day.

It was a rainy day - memories surface of our visit to Pompeii 10 years ago - another rainy day.

Statue dedicated to Mary - Mother of Jesus - who spent the last years of her life in a small cottage above Ephesus.

Statue dedicated to Mary - Mother of Jesus - who spent the last years of her life in a small cottage above Ephesus.

The natural spring near the home of Mary - Mother of Jesus.

The natural spring near the home of Mary - Mother of Jesus.

Mary's home - now a small Church (Shrine). A beautiful holy place.

Mary's home - now a small Church (Shrine). A beautiful holy place.

Our guide Yigit with us girls - on our last day together as a small group.

Our guide Yigit with us girls - on our last day together as a small group.

View from our balcony from our hotel in Bodrum.

View from our balcony from our hotel in Bodrum.

Posted by Gibbo54 13:31 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Bodrum

From the Meditteranean to the Aegean.

overcast 23 °C
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A final breakfast in Marmaris and we jumped in our little van to head for Bodrum. Our first stop in Bodrum was the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos - which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
All that's left of the Mausoleum now are the foundations and the drainage system. The structure was originally 134 ft in height - a really impressive building back 2,500 years ago. It had fallen into ruin by 1400, not helped by the fact that the Knights of St. John arrived and used many of the stones to construct the Castle of St. Peter.
We walked through the little streets of Bodrum to a small cafe and had some local Turkish food for lunch - a Pide (simple and tasty). Afterwards we walked along the waterfront to the Castle of St. Peter. Like Fettiye and Marmaris - Bodrum is a large sea port, with Gulets and pleasurecraft in abundance. There is more traditional charm here though, and less tourists. I feel more comfortable here. The rules for building construction here are: 1. It must be white 2. It can't be more than 2 storeys high. Makes for a quaint little town.
We spent a couple of hours walking through the Castle, which is right on the point - overlooking the West Harbour. Gorgeous views from the top - across the Aegean Sea and back over Bodrum. The Castle of St. Peter houses the Underwater Museum. Here there are relics on display from the hundreds of shipwrecks in the area - a great museum.
After a Turkish Tea under the old trees at the entrance of the Castle we made our way to our accommodation - a beautiful hotel in the hills above Bodrum. This is a luxury hotel - with a comfy bed (YES!) and huge pillows that you just sink in to.
We had a beautiful dinner in the dining room and then all went back to Jacquie and Lesley's room to swap photos and email addresses etc.
Only a couple of days left now - we will soon go our separate ways. Living in Cairns, Melbourne and Perth could make future catch-ups a bit tricky!
Don't I know you?

Don't I know you?

The Castle of St. Peter - Bodrum.

The Castle of St. Peter - Bodrum.

Seacraft in the port of Bodrum.

Seacraft in the port of Bodrum.

Ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - these steps led down to the burial place of Mausolus.

Ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - these steps led down to the burial place of Mausolus.

Parts of the original columns that made up the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

Parts of the original columns that made up the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

Anne with Yigit and Yusef.

Anne with Yigit and Yusef.

Proud flags flying in the port of Bodrum - the national flag of Turkey, Ataturk.

Proud flags flying in the port of Bodrum - the national flag of Turkey, Ataturk.

Amphoras on display - retrieved from shipwrecks in the general area - and on display in the Underwater Museum within the Castle of St. Peter.

Amphoras on display - retrieved from shipwrecks in the general area - and on display in the Underwater Museum within the Castle of St. Peter.

The port of Bodrum taken from the Castle of St. Peter.

The port of Bodrum taken from the Castle of St. Peter.

Ancient glassware on display in the Underwater Museum in Bodrum.

Ancient glassware on display in the Underwater Museum in Bodrum.

Interesting doorway in a little alleyway in Bodrum.

Interesting doorway in a little alleyway in Bodrum.

Ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - these steps led down to the burial place of Mausolus.

Ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - these steps led down to the burial place of Mausolus.

Posted by Gibbo54 13:25 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Marmaris

Our first quiet day in two weeks.

overcast 24 °C
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Today was the first quiet day that we've experienced since arriving in Turkey. We had planned to sail to Rhodes by ferry - as optional tour, but the Summer season has not yet started for the ferry timetable and we couldn't have travelled there and back in one day. Seems strange to me - if the weather is great, why not amend the roster? There are thousands of tourists in Marmaris at the moment.
Anyhow, not to worry. As it turned out - it was quite a cloudy day today, the first cloud that we've seen. We had a leisurely start to the day, took off at 9am - for the Bazaar. This is a local market selling fresh produce, spices, honey, nuts, fresh Turkish Delight, clothes, shoes, leather, souvenirs. You name it, it's probably there. We bought Red a couple of Turkish cotton shirts, some small gifts, fresh fruit and Turkish Delight. There are probably about 15 different flavours - really yummy.
Marmaris (pronounced with emphasis on the first "mar") is like Fettiye in that it's a haven for tourists. There's not a lot of culture seen in this city, so probably not one of my favourite stops. But it's been interesting to "people watch". There are many who come just for the beaches, bars and shopping.
After the bazaar we stopped at a cafe on the main street for lunch. This was great fun - watching the waiters tout the passersby for business. They were nice guys. On our departure one of the waiters yelled out to us ladies - "I love you long time!"
After we were brought back to our hotel in the mid afternoon, the 6 of us decided to walk along the promenade up to the main town. So many hotels, restaurants and bars, lilos on the beach - quite a spectacle. We jumped on one of the local buses and travelled the rest of the way with the local people. Had a cappacino and then walked around the amazing arcades full of shops selling jewellery, watches, leather goods, clothing, shoes, souvenirs. It was pretty quiet - maybe the weather had kept people in their hotels. We received numerous invitations by proprietors to enter their shops. Some of them lovely, some of them dodgy.
We got on another bus back to our hotel, did some shopping for necessities in a supermarket across the road - and then dinner in the hotel dining room with our close knit little group of travelling companions.
Spices for sale at the bazaar.

Spices for sale at the bazaar.

One of the photos of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on display in our hotel. His signature is a popular Turkish logo.

One of the photos of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on display in our hotel. His signature is a popular Turkish logo.

Another photo on display in our hotel. Interestingly - my photo only focused on Ataturk. This is a photo of him leaving Parliament with his fellow members.

Another photo on display in our hotel. Interestingly - my photo only focused on Ataturk. This is a photo of him leaving Parliament with his fellow members.

Turkish Delight on display - every flavour you could imagine.

Turkish Delight on display - every flavour you could imagine.

Genuine fake watches for sale!

Genuine fake watches for sale!

Posted by Gibbo54 13:20 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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