Monument to honour Mustafa Kemal Atatürk the commanding officer of the Turks army and the only undefeated Ottoman commander during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and to the establishment of Turkey. During his presidency, Atatürk embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms.
Staring down into these restored trenches the reality of the battles fought and lives lost here was brought home to us and we left the peninsular feeling quite affected by the pervading mood of the place.
Communal toilets - a little too friendly for my liking!
All the sweet delights in the markets were so tempting, lots of nut and caramel combinations – also spices, a thrill for the senses.
Haydn really wants an ice cream but patience is a virtue when the vender wants to play games – all good fun!
With Ozhan back in his unit we have our last supper in Turkey, tomorrow we will be back in Australia.
Turkey surpassed our all our expectations, the extraordinary landscapes, the history stretching back to the dawn of time and great empires that shaped the our world today. Diverse lifestyles take us from the modern and stylish to a somewhere lost in time and the food ...scrumptious treats enough for a feast. As always though the people we have met in Turkey, the friends we have made here are in the forefront of our memories. We feel sure we will return to complete our journey.
Western Turkey and Istanbul
Cannakkale is just a short ferry ride across the Marmara sea from the Gallipoli Peninsular. A good place to stay as there are many hotels along the promenade opposite the marina popular with yacht owners navigating the straits.
On the Cannakale Marina
Strategically the Cannakkale straits has always been an important place, such a narrow strip of water between what is called the Asian side (Cannakkale) and the European side (Eceabat and Kilitbahir on the Peninsular). Having crossed the Marmara Sea with Jack on the car ferry we passed the huge Cimenlik fortress built as early as 1451 to control the passage of ships through the strait when a struggle between Moslems and Christians began to arise. The area has seen many a battle as it also allows access to the great city of Constantinople (now Istanbul) the connecting point of two continents, Europe and Asia and a centre where various cultures and religions are combined, survived and succeeded each other at some point in history.
It did not take long before we entered the Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park, established to honour the 500,000 soldiers who gave their lives on Gelibolu, also known as Gallipoli. Australian casualties for the campaign were 26,111. In 1915, Mustafa Kemal, commander of the Turkish army, led a successful campaign to drive out allied powers from the area. The beauty of the green hills, sandy beaches and blue waters provides an honourable resting place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died in this historic battle. The ANZAC's landed on the beach now known as ANZAC cove on 25 April 1915, they were to capture the Turkish forts commanding the narrow straits and force open the way to the Turkish capital, Constantinople. The campaign was an heroic but costly failure and it was decided to evacuate the entire force from Gallipoli in December.
We explored the lonely ANZAC memorials, monuments and cemeteries and then made our way further up the peninsular where we found the Turks battle line and site of their memorials, monuments and cemeteries. It was not surprising that we found a good crowd of Turks paying their respects here, you cannot help but sense the heart of the Turkish nation in the patriotic spirit of the place.
Behind this beach the terrain rises sharply - it gave us an indication of what the Diggers faced and that helped the Turks mount a successful defence.It also indicates the difference that landing 1 to 1½ miles further north made to the chances that the Anzacs had!
For more info go to this site for an excellent presentation on Gallipli - http://www.abc.net.au/innovation/gallipoli
We left Cannakale riding south and hugging the small coastal roads through the rolling hills of the northern Argean Coast. The Aegean Coast is crisscrossed with the ruins of a multitude of Greco-Roman ancient cities and temples, fishing villages with seaside tavernas and natural parks.
This was our lunch and dinner at a beach side campsite, we stopped for lunch and decided to stay in one of the cabins that night even though we had not progressed very far that day. It was such a wonderful place to just relax and we knew we were going to be kept very busy at our next stop - Izmir.
Always a good idea to get off the main road when you can, this little detour inland before we reached Izmir took us through some arable farmlands...
We were in Izmir to ship Jack back to Australia. This was sadly the end of this journey, but we would return sometime in the future and continue our travels from this point.
It was hot in Izmir and the traffic hectic, but our task of arranging shipping was made easier with the assistance of the "One more Mile" Turkish motorcycle club. I put out an email asking for assistance with locating a good shipping agent and the replies came flooding in. We settled on Arfor Ta??ma Hizmetleri A.?. and Fergat Kalpak was our contact.
We can highly recommend this firm and Ferhat arranged for someone to help us through customs and also build a crate for Jack.
It seems that the Customs officials in Turkey are a somewhat corrupt lot, and despite having the helper, they made us wait the whole day before finally releasing the bike. This is despite having a Carnet.
So this is it. A somewhat hurried end to what has been another fantastic journey and the end of the road for Jack. He'll now have a leisurely ride back to Australia and we'll catch a bus to Istanbul to take in the sights of one of the most amazing cities in the world and junction of East and West.
While Haydn made last minute arrangements to get Jack organised for shipping I got onto a bus and visited my last Roman Ruins - Ephesus - reputed to be the best preserved classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world to really 'soak in' the atmosphere of Roman times. Ephesus was inhabited from the end of the Bronze Age onwards but by the 7th century B.C. under the rule of the Lydian kings, Ephesus became one of the wealthiest cities in the Mediterranean world. Yes, I was certainly in my element and a fitting close to my affair with Roman Legends!
We crossed the busy Marmara sea on the ferry in the bus with part of our touring team missing but we tried to remain buoyed as we knew we were in for a massive thrill visiting Istanbul. To make the visit the very best it could be we had a couple of local Horizons members to show us around. Ozhan (Unverdi) offered to pick us up from the bus station and we stayed with him for a week in his unit with wife Ozge.
What great couple to be with and what a privilege to know this warm hearted, enthusiastic couple. Ozhan has since fulfilled his ambition to ride from Istanbul to Morocco and back and I know many travelers have been welcomed into his home. Nothing was too much trouble and we look forward to catching up with them somewhere, sometime.
Istanbul has always been a settlement area from early ages onwards due to her geographic location. In the year 395, when the Roman emperor divided his empire and placed his son Arcadius at the head of the Eastern side and his other son Honorius on the throne of the Western side, he could not have known what kinds of effects this action was to have on the future. The Western Roman Empire was to have a short life but the Eastern Roman Empire, however, was to last almost one thousand years until it was finally put to an end by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Istanbul can only be described as a truly great city, not only with her population and the area she covers but also with the variety of cultures and diverse ways of living that co-exist. Many of Istanbul's impressive, massive monuments were built in the Byzantium and Ottoman periods when it was the political and religious centre of both Christianity and then Islam.
Across the Galata bridge to the eastern shores of the Bosphorus River and the Asian Istanbul.Looking back at the european Istanbul.
We took a half-day cruise north towards the Black Sea and back – what amazing views – past the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, several Ottoman palaces, at least two fortresses, forested hills, shore villages with Ottoman architecture and simple little fishing villages.
Our plans were that after Turkey we were to head for the Mediterranean countries to complete our round the world journey which we had began BK (before Kids). As fate would demand we were instead homeward bound and had to feel content that we had in fact touched europe to complete the circle. In fact we actually felt very lucky to have achieved and completed the 'Journey of a life time' and also felt certain that in a couple of years time we will hit the road again with Jack. We've been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to ride from north to south (2004/5 Pan America trip) as well as from East to West (this trip) Future journeys will see us filling in some of the gaps particularly Eastern Europe.
THE END (for now)