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Turkey part 2

 

 

Taking a vacation from the Vacation

After 3 weeks of more or less non-stop touring we decided to take a couple of days off.  Clean up chores, check e-mail etc., but plenty of beach time on the warm Aegean.

 

 

       Time to get going again

 

 

Slow travel in a Motorhome - a typical day

The day was planned as a simple typical day:  depart camping and take a quick tour of the northern portion of the Gallipoli battlefield enroute to a ferry crossing, shop for supplies, tour a major venue - the ruins of Troy, then proceed south to the coast and seek out a campsite.

        

Gallipoli Battlefield

In early 1915 the British government decided to deny the shipping routes of the Dardanelle's to the Germans and Turks, and also hoped to open a sea lane to Russia's Black Sea ports in order to supply their war effort.  A Naval assault failed in March of that year and the decision was made to assault the western side of the Straits and close them with ground forces.  In April 1915, British forces came ashore at Cape Hellas on the southern most portion of the peninsula.

Further north at a place that became named Anzac Cove - the assault troops of the Australia-New Zealand Army Corp came ashore.  In the dark they landed a mile north of their intended beach.  Like all good troops they decided to begin the war right there.
Soldier's Battle

In 20/20 hindsight that was an bad decision.  Their objective that day was the heights of Chunuk Bair which overlooked the straits and which could be closed by Artillery.  They didn't make it to the top.

The Turks in that sector were commanded by a soldier of incredible talent - Mustafa Kemal - who would later lead the modern Turkey and would gain the name Ataturk - Father of Turkey.  From then on, for the next nine months, it was a Soldier's Battle of endurance because the Generals did not have a battle winning strategy.  And finally in January of 1916 the British withdrew after both sides has lost 250,000 troops killed , wounded, missing, prisoner or evacuated sick.

 

"Disaster, fiasco, waste, folly"

After the withdrawal, the above scorn, and more, flew about the English Parliament and in Royal circles.  It was all of the above and more, therefore Heads Must Roll.  And the most visible candidate was The First Sea Lord, as the Dardanelle's Adventure was his brainchild and he was the Chief Advocate.  And it came to pass that he was Sacked and his voice was silenced in English politics for over 20 years.  That man's name was Winston Churchill.

 

 

 

     

In the Path of Xerxes and Alexander

At the narrowest point of the Hellespont - 2 kilometers - Xerxes and Alexander built a bridge of boats.  Today there is a ferry between Europe and Asia at this site.

 

 Papillon Crosses the Hellespont

Canakkale, Turkey

 

The ferry from Eceabat in Europe to Canakkale in Asia takes 30 minutes.

 

 

 

Just prior to departure from Eceabat we have been served our tea (1 Turkish Lira each) and have settled into our chairs for the voyage.

Papillon steps into Asia at 11:35 on June 18, 2007

 

 

       Shopping at Kipa

A Wal-Mart/Super K-Mart kind of place, but with a twist.  In the front of their building was an entrance corridor that was filled with a half dozen small retail stores, plus a Food Court with a Burger King, a pizza place and a couple of Turkish specialty foods.  Very large and staffed departments of fish, meats, dairy, fruit and produce, nuts, olives, and a bakery.  Other than you cannot pronounce any of it, you could begin to feel that you were back home.

 

*        *        *

 

TROY

        Troy is one of the most legendary sites in Western Civilization and a most extraordinary archeological site.  It is the first "tell" or multi civilization ruin hill that we visited.  Heretofore, we have seen primarily Roman or Roman built over Greek towns and temples.  

Previous sites were really not very complex for the trained archeologist.  Their biggest problem was access to the complete site because Italian and Greek towns have been constructed over the older remains.

7 different civilizations - Troy VI being the time of the Iliad

Troy is a difficult site because of the multiple layers atop each other- spanning 3000 years, but also because the first digger was interested in the Gold and the Glory and nearly destroyed the site in terms of historical research.

        Above you can see the signage indicating layers of civilizations after each was destroyed

 

Here again is 4 different levels exposed.  The tourists are standing on a bridge that is over the space in front of the walls of Troy VI - Trojan war, 1200 BC.  Those walls end in the middle of the photo.  To their left and directly behind them are the walls of Troy IV - they are of a much more rough cut stone.  Above their heads and behind the tourists is the dirt covering the walls of Troy VII.  Below and to the right are other levels.

 

We are standing on the walls of VII which also served as a base for a large temple to Athena.  Before you are the walls and the East Tower of King  Priam's Troy VI.  Below these walls would be the remains of I through V.

Each city or layer was a different civilization inhabited by different peoples after the previous level was destroyed.  Within each level the professionals can identify building phases, or major enhancements or additions to the existing town.  However, it is not a different civilization.

 

 

 

 

Finding a campground or sleep spot

Departing Troy we headed south toward Assos on the Coast, where the map and a guide book indicated that there was a camp ground or two.  Enroute we passed this jewel.

 

Papillon poses before an Ottoman built Humpback bridge beneath the town of Behramkale, near Assos.

 

 

In the village above we turned left and followed a road too small that it was not included on our maps, which led to the town of Kucukkuyu. 

Between the two towns there were a dozen very small establishments that had the words camping on their road side signs.  Most were really just restaurants along the Aegean Sea with a little bit of parking.

That was the case for the night spot that we selected.

A fortunate choice.  Erol's Place, with Cafe, Beach & Showers

 

We had the whole place to ourselves in the morning - this shows ALL of it.

and there we watched the fishermen and the horses in the early sun.

 

But the evening before was most rewarding.  Obviously the first American motorhome ever to grace their property, the owners went out of their way to make us comfortable.  First we sat by the water and had a couple of beers (Tuborg - they did not sell Turkish brands).  We were seated next to a party of 10 people who were commencing a Raki party (Anise flavored fire water) and were very much enjoying themselves.  At the table on the other side were 2 men and a women.  One fellow read from a paperback the entire time and spoke to no one and the other got up to inspect Papillon more closely.  I followed him after a moment or two and invited him to inspect the interior.  He spoke enough English that we communicated quite well.  He stated that he was 85 and that his daughter spoke perfect English.  We returned to the table where his daughter sat and he introduced us.  She had married and Englishmen and had lived in London for a few years.

We retreated to Papillon and fixed our supper and then returned to the table for a "nightcap" of Turkish tea.  There, 2 women from the Raki party came over and started to talk with us.  One had lived in Vienna, Virginia for 8 years and the other had a niece that had recently graduated from Julliard.  Another pleasant interlude.  We commented on how lovely the Turkish people had been toward us and one responded that Turks are always pleasant to their visitors.

 

 

Yep really!  Just a more or less typical day of a motorhome tourist in Europe

 

 

Just when you thought that you were Ruined Out - Pergammon

We thought that we had seen it all but once again Turkey continues to amaze.  (In fact we found surprises and "new discoveries" at every Turkish venue.  That fact really can keep you going when the heat builds up.)

 

Sometimes you find an attraction whose very site is spectacular.

 

Such is the case with the Acropolis of the ancient town of Pergammon high above the modern city of Bergama.  Almost 1000 feet above the town, the site served as platform for a Temple to Athena and an Alter to Zeus in addition to being a defensive fortress in times of invasion.

 

The last King of the region, who was without an heir, willed the city to the Romans in 133 BC during their eastward expansion.

Started in the Hellenistic era, the theater was enlarged by the Romans in the first century AD.  One of the steepest pitches we have encountered, we declined to explore the steps.

 

Bergama city is far below.

And sometimes you find a site where the professionals have restored the space so magnificently that you are spellbound for an hour.  

Such was the Sanctuary to Emperor/God Trajan.  Here they cleared out all the rubble and restored the floor and just enough of the structure to truly give you the impression of what it really looked like in its day.  Sighted on the edge of the hill overlooking the town it was a most impressive space.  I was transfixed for almost an hour.

In the eastern tradition, kings were revered as Gods.  The Romans adapted that tradition to their own ends throughout the Empire in time.

 

 

Below, in Bergama city, at the foot of the Acropolis, sits the ruins of the large & strange

 

 Red Basilica

A Roman structure from the 2nd Century AD

 

This structure was mentioned by St. John the Devine in Revelations as one of the 7 churches of the Apocalypse, citing it as the Throne of the Devil.

 

It was built to honor the Egyptian Gods Serapis and Isis - the Romans were very good at hedging their bets.

 

 

Numerous statues show the Gods back to back while others clearly have an Egyptian look about them.

 

1 oh 5 degrees

This was the first day of what was to be 7 days of Century Heat.  Over 100 dead in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and Cyprus

 

 

Puttin' on the Ritz

After a day of little frustrations, heat and unable to find the campground that was listed as being near Izmir, we camped in the parking lot of this fine property.

 

Thanks folks.

 

Next - Turkey 3

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