After another traditional Hotel Kum buffet breakfast, the group departed for Kilitbahir where a ferry would take us to the relaxed sea side town of Cannakale. The group fronted the extremely cold winds, pulled out their scarves and beanies, and sat on the roof deck of the ferry to absorb the beautiful surroundings and transition from European to Asian side of the peninsula. Many were impressed by the fact that the bus could even take a ride on the ferry with a loading designated zone for vehicles. Our bus then took us from Cannakale to the ancient City of Troy.
Before taking a tour through the ancient city, we took to time to explore the replica of the famous Trojan horse which was built in 1976. Climbing and exploring like children on a playground, the square cut outs on the side of the wooden horse made way for a fine group photograph. As the story goes, the ancient Greeks left a wooden horse in the city of Troyas a gift to the Trojans. A few days later, soldiers climbed out and made siege to the city. The war was made by the candidates who had missed out on marrying the beautiful Helen of Troy. We took time to explore the ruins of buildings, forts and the Bouleterion where the council would meet. It was intriguing to ponder across ancient artifacts which comprised of old pillars and ceilings from buildings. Amazingly enough, due to thousands of years of expansion, there were forty six layers of the city. We also came across sites where the German archaeologist Heinirch Schliemann began excavation in the late 1800’s and found luscious jewels which he gave to his wife. These jewels were stolen by the Russians in WWII from Germany and remain there today. Unfortunately, no such discoveries were made today.
On the way back to Canakkale for lunch, we stopped at Dardanelle Battery for an overview of the naval influence on the Gallipoli campaign. The hill offered sky views of the nearby islands and the sea which enabled us to gain a great grasp of the strategies deployed. Oh how much of a difference it truly is as compared to a textbook and classroom! We learnt of the British plan of supporting the Russians through the Seaof Marmara and into the Dardanelles so they could gain a body of water and eventually force Turkey out of the war. Our guide Ozgur highlighted the importance that the 18th of March has in Turkish society – the day that they were able to defeat the greatest navy in the world (Britain) and forced them to turn back with the use of landmines planted a week earlier. This then forced the Allied forces to initiate the Gallipoli ‘land’ campaign. We also learnt about Churchill’s promise to the Turks to supply them with ships in exchange for money which he failed to keep – resulting in a further bond between the Turk and German forces. Stuart added another ‘personal’ feel to the campaign strategies by sharing the story of Stoker who used his submarine to break through Turkish defences, paving the way for submarine use in the campaign. He was eventually taken as the first WWI POW and enjoyed a varied career by even winning Wimbledon!
Once we arrived at Cannakale for lunch, the views of the water, the warmer weather, and people relaxing at cafes and provided a feel of the Mediterranean. Lunch offered a great balance of salad, vegetables, whole fish and fruit – the first desert we have enjoyed on the trip that wasn’t drowned in honey! Post lunch we stopped at the Canakkale Naval Museum for a look on board the replica of Nusrat the navy ship used at the Gallipoli campaign and an interactive presentation on the March 18 victory by the Turks. A look inside the old fort which is now a museum showcased naval weapons from the campaign and we saw a solo drama performance which described what conditions were like at war. One of the fort walls bears the scars of a canon attack made by the ship Queen Elizabeth, but surprisingly still stands.
We made a final stop at the Trojan horse replica used in the Hollywoodproduction Troy starring Brad Pitt. A much warmer ferry trip home, for those who did decide to get out of the bus parked on the vehicle loading deck, saw us return to Gallipoli for a relaxing end to the day in the hotel cafeteria where we were treated to a performance by the girls. A bet was made which would see Connor be dressed with make up if the girls were able to learn a Christina Aguilera song. Fortunately for his pride and image they failed to do by the deadline but still gave some of the group as well as some other Aussies staying at the Kum a great show.