Today started early - we left the Grand Anzac hotel in Canakkale at 7:15 am. I didn't have breakfast first, I just got two pieces of bread and some cheese from the buffet and made a cheese sandwich to take away. Susan was still not feeling well and had no breakfast. We drove to the ferry terminal, and took the 7:30 am ferry across the Dardanelles to Gallipoli. It was an enjoyable trip and very scenic. I bought a Turkish tea on board and had it with my cheese sandwich. Susan stayed in the mini bus during the crossing. I wandered around taking photos and enjoyed the scenery.
We landed in Gallipoli and found ourselves back in Europe. We are back in the European section of Turkey now. We drove for a bit, made a WC stop, and then arrived at the Gallipoli battlefield memorials. We spent quite a few hours at the various battlefields and cemeteries and memorials. Gallipoli is of course of great importance to the Australians and New Zealanders in our group. Canadian troops were not at Gallipoli, but Newfoundlanders were. Newfoundland did not join Confederation until 1949, so was its own British colony during the First
World War. This was such a beautiful area but it must have been a nightmare for so many young soldiers. At one location there is an especially moving monument on which is inscribed Ataturk's message to mothers. It reads: 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. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
(I am writing this blog in July 2017, and it appears, from online news outlets, that this memorial was destroyed by the Turkish government in June, as part of "refurbishment". This makes me very sad.)
Unfortunately, Susan was not feeling well at all and stayed in the mini bus the whole morning while we were in Gallipoli. We then began the long drive back to Istanbul,
along the coast of the Dardanelles first, later the Marmara Sea coast. We passed lots of towns. We stopped for lunch at a cafeteria - I had "tost" again but it wasn't as good as the one I had at lunch yesterday. We had a quick refreshment stop later in the afternoon, and arrived back at the Q-Inn Old City about 5:45 pm. We had a much nicer room this time, much larger. Susan began feeling better during the afternoon and felt pretty good by the time we arrived back in Istanbul.
We met Chris, Grant, Veronica, John, and Janette at 6:30 and walked to the Sirkeki train station. The old section is pretty cool inside with some very nice stained glass windows. We then headed to the Spice Market, with me making a quick stop at the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) first. The New Mosque was finished in 1663. We didn't go inside this mosque when we were in Istanbul previously, and I really wanted to see the inside, so I whipped off my shoes, wrapped my scarf around my head and had a quick look, with John kindly waiting for me. The mosque was very beautiful inside.
I really like the spacious interior of Turkish mosques - the tiled domes are so lovely.
We then went to the Spice Market. Veronica had made so many purchases during the trip she had to buy another suitcase! Susan and I bought some Turkish coffee. The market was closing up so we left about 7:15. Our group then went for a few drinks at "Red River" around the corner (Rita and Graeme joined us), and then several of us went for dinner just down the road. Susan and I shared a plate of cold vegetarian dishes which were really good. We then returned to the Q-Inn, and Grant brought his portable luggage scale over so we could check the weight of our bags (since we'd added a lot of purchases!). We were within our limits, so we should be ok.
We had a really nice last evening with some of our group. During the trip we got along especially well with Chris and Grant, and Veronica and John. We'll miss them a lot. Tomorrow we will have breakfast around 8 am. Before we leave for the airport I want to check out a shop close by that had
some very nice looking purses in the window. Our ride to the airport picks us up at 10 am, for our 1:30 pm flight to London. I can't believe we will be in London tomorrow! We have loved our time in Turkey very much, and have seen so many incredible things. Goodbye to Turkey, we hope to come back some day.
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