Blogs from Canakkale, Marmara, Turkey, Middle East

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale March 28th 2018

Today we are on the move, leaving Istanbul behind. The open road for me is a time for reflection and resolution. We are due to visit the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, a place of war and the tragic deaths of hundreds of thousands of young men caught up in battles not of their making. I'd mentioned to our tour leader that I'd prefer not to go on the tour here and could I be dropped off somewhere to wait until the group finished looking around Gallipoli. I really didn't want to spend part of my holiday going to a place that represents how crap human beings are, showing how little they've learnt from history and how a few men in power make decisions that destroy so many young men's lives and those of their families. As ... read more
Cafe time in rainy Canukkale
The Trojan Horse used in the film 'Troy'
Taking the ferry to Canukkale

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale October 10th 2015

One Thursday morning three kids showed up at our front door. I thought it might be the neighbors asking me to turn down the music. They've never complained before but there's always a first time. So I throw on some pants and I open the door and there are three kids standing there, two boys and a little blonde girl all decked out in their Sunday best except that here it isn't Sunday best; I think that it's more of a Friday best thang and the younger boy is making a show out of hitting a nail with a hammer that he's slapped together out of a couple of twigs that looks like a crucifix quickly constructed in a Blair Witch woods to ward off a vampire, and the older boy, who's about ten years old, ... read more
Sacrificial Lambs
Canakkale Cafe
Main Street Guzelyali

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale September 20th 2015

The little ones can't help themselves. They stare in amazement, slack jawed, as shocked as a kid stumbling across the entrance to Ali Baba's cave on their way to school. Their gaze races over your being like a couple of fast moving fingertips. A grandparent's hand may appear to pull small chins back to politeness only to be pushed away like a branch encountered on an explorer's trail. They discover us on the public buses and while we shop. The adults sometimes think we're locals and they'll walk up to us in grocery stores asking questions in Turkish like 'How much is this stuff?' while they hold up some sundried item. The kids smell something strange about us immediately. Maybe it is olfactory. Yesterday we faced a little girl perched on the edge of a seat ... read more
Peppermint Patty
Dardanos Bus Stop
Dardanos From Canakkale

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale September 15th 2015

We have an apartment on the east side of the Dardanelles Strait. Our big kitchen has a long granite counter and a small sink. A dishwasher we never use and a full-sized refrigerator that we do. We bought a cavernous toaster oven because in Turkey they don't come in any other size. It's like toasting bread in a fireplace. There is a long, window-walled living-room with two sofas and a table where we take our meals. A small terrace where we dry our laundry and do little else. The bedroom holds a double bed and a huge closet where we have distributed our two carry-ons worth of clothing in a manner which gives us the appearance of permanence. The apartment windows are equipped with clattering roll-down shutters that block out daylight and noise so completely we ... read more
Noah and Karen
Dinner With Turkish Friends
Hatice

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale July 23rd 2015

Wednesday 22 July: We got a sleep-in today with Zachary not waking up until 8:40. We got straight into the appropriate clothing so that we could visit the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace after breakfast. We got to the mosque and it is very well organised. Lots of information in the form of signs and people explaining what to do and where to go. We walked through the outdoor area and found the line to go in. It looked to be about 45 – 60 minutes long. As it was already after 10 we decided to go to the palace instead. The queue for tickets was about 20 minutes and then at least that again to go in. We didn’t have a huge amount of time as we wanted to do the other bus loop plus ... read more
Changing of the Guard at Topkapi Palace. Love those  fake moustaches!
Statue of the great Ataturk in Gulhane Park.
Underground in the Basilica Cistern.

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale April 23rd 2015

A change of pace was planned into the itinerary for today and was greatly appreciated. Breakfast was leisurely, as our departure for the ancient city of Troy was 10:00am. The half hour drive enabled us to see a different area of this lovely country. The sun shone brightly and warmed our spirits. There were moments of hilarity on the bus with wonderful banter between our guide, Okan, and historian, Peter. Peter (who reminds us of Wallace from ‘Wallace and Grommit fame) was with us for the experience of Troy. Okan recounted the history, mixing truth with legend in a delightful way. It was a fun and lighthearted journey. The Trojan Horse towered above us. It’s a replica of course! I was looking at the horse and, when I turned around, whom should I see but my ... read more
Mabel and Ray Martin

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale April 22nd 2015

Rugged up against the elements this morning, we entered our bus for the drive to the battlefield at Cape Helles on the southern toe of the Gallipoli peninsula. The road took us along the coastline of the Dardanelles and the Narrows. Battleships have entered the waters (our historian told us that was organized just for us!) We stopped and paid our respects to the Turks at their impressive Martyrs’ Memorial overlooking Morto Bay. It is an incredible and powerful structure situated on top of a hill. The views are spectacular and we could link up battlefield areas from here. The rain eased off by the time we arrived at Cape Helles. My grandfather’s words from Thursday 6th May 1915: We left Gallipoli at 2 o’clock this morning & landed at the Dardinelles at 9, & we ... read more
Lest We Forget
The Helles Memorial
The Helles Memorial

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale August 23rd 2014

Throughout this trip we have been surrounded by and immersed in history, we have seen and been inside of some very very very old buildings, we have sneakily touched monuments, architecture and art, but when we visited Australia's piece of history in Turkey I felt so proud and sad and a little homesick. Gallipoli is the reason I wanted to visit this country. Gallipoli is Australia's history many thousands of kilometres from home, a place that on the day we were there looked so beautiful and peaceful, yet holds the memories and stories of many thousands of Australian and New Zealand men and the hearts of their families. I felt sad but enormously proud to be an Aussie. As I walked along the beach at Anzac cove, the story of the Anzacs ran through my mind. ... read more
Walking along  that same beach
Ataturk's message
View from the beach to the memorial site

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale June 26th 2014

The balconies on our small street all face one another. We are like Puffins perched in cliff side aeries keeping watch over our roosts. In the mornings, a woman across the street and her ancient, headscarf-wrapped mother tend to the potted plants on their nest's edge. When they finish; They sit down in time-worn chairs, knobby elbows resting on skirted knees as they lean over to scan the lanes below for potential troublemakers and amusing behavior. They are among our biggest fans. When Karen and I start planning these trips it usually begins in our home office when we find ourselves underwhelmed by the repetitious tasks required in running our Florida home. The morning routine, the afternoon drudgery, the mind-numbing news cycles. So we'll pull out a map (we have drawers stuffed with maps; Topos and ... read more
KJ In The New Pad
KJ's First Dinner In The New Olace
Our Piece Of Turkish Delight

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale June 12th 2014

The remains of dinner littered the white linen tablecloth. Mackerel skeletons, cherry pits, Blackberry stains, crusty bits of bread, glasses filmed with the musty dregs of strong, red, homemade wine and empty bowls spooned clean of Aunt Hatice's rice pudding. We leaned back into our chairs, arms cruciformed over the seat backs. Sated. Contented smiles as big as the night's full moon plastered on our collective face. Out in the darkness, the dim lights of ships plying the Bosphorus levitated along the Gallipoli peninsula. A cool Aegean breeze had sprung up and Uncle Neuzat dug through his closet for thick sweaters to hold us against the chill. We looked at each other and smiled. All of us old enough to know that life rarely gets better than this. When our couchsurfing host, Tolga, learned that we ... read more
Dinner
Canakkale Night
KJ Looking Cute After A Morning Run Along The Promenade




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