Up early and with a breakfast snack provided by the hotel, we set off on our bus ride to the Gallipoli peninsula - courtesy TJ's Tours. Sad to leave Istanbul with so much more to explore. Glad we will be returning at the end of our trip for a few more days.
5 hours on good roads - dual carriageway for 2/3 of the way. Lunch in Eceabat - nothing outstanding - part of the 'package' tour provided by TJ. After lunch, back on the bus and off to tour the Gallipoli battlefield sites. Lots of poignant headstones reminding us of the wasted young lives and a pervasive atmosphere of melancholy as small groups of mostly Australians and New Zealanders wondered around reading the names.
Perhaps the most interesting part was the visit to the main Turkish memorial. A totally different atmosphere. Almost festive as bus loads of Turks swarmed about the place. A distinctively nationalistic attitude. Apparently the current government is subsidising trips by schools and community groups, in a clearly propagandistic effort to promote national unity. Not totally unlike the efforts of the Australian authorities to promote Gallipoli and ANZAC Day for their own nationalistic and political ends.
We overnight tonight at a remote establishment called Gallipoli Houses. Beautiful setting very comfortable rooms and wonderfully attentive hosts. Pity we're only here for 1 night. A great dinner with local wine, but a sad farewell to the Heywards. We've had a great time together for the last few days. Tomorrow they return to Istanbul and fly back to Islamabad. We cross the Dardanelles and head for Troy and the next leg of our trip.