June 20, 2007

Gelibolu

We stayed the night in Çanakkale, and caught the 9am ferry across to Eceabat. From there we dithered around for a while trying to figure out the least expensive way to get to Kabatepe in Gallipoli, which is close to Anzac Cove. Several taksi drivers were soliciting our custom, then we thought we might get a dolmuş (4 lira as opposed to 20) and then we decided to try our luck hitching.

We walked down a dusty street, where we passed a small shaggy black dog. I greeted it, as is my tendency, and it jumped up and ran alongside us. Quite adorable, in spite of its unkempt appearance, but it had a sore right front paw and was limping on three legs - aw! He followed us right to the edge of town, where we commenced to stick out the thumb. And a little thigh for good measure. JK..

Our first taker was an ooold man driving a tractor and trailer. "Kabatepe?" I asked. He gave me an extensive reply which I gathered amounted to "No", with some regret.

Not long after, a small van pulled up and we climbed in the back, where another lady was already sitting. We initially thought that she was a tourist too, but it turned out that she was a local who works at the Kabatepe Information Centre. Score! We stopped at the museum, where there is a big courtyard overlooking the Aegean Sea. As we gazed around, we were surprised to see two fat puppies clamber out of a bush, then noticed their lean mother ambling out of the shade behind us. She wagged her tail wearily and lay down in the blazing sun. We went into the museum.

Our new friend Inci (meaning pearl) let us into the museum free of charge, and we checked out the display of wartime artefacts. Lots of bits of guns, equipment, uniforms, and also copies of letters sent home from soldiers.

Next Inci walked with us down to the Kabatepe Information Centre, right on the beach. It's a sort of junction point leading to Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, Çunuk Bair and lots of other places in the national park. Inci works at the Info Centre, and also sleeps there in a tent outside. She made us coffee, and then set about sorting us a lift to Anzac Cove. This involved flagging down a motorcade of two scooters and one very full car - Ange and I climbed on the back of a scooter each. Too much! I love scooters. We didn't even see the faces of the drivers beneath their helmets. So much fun, tucked on the back, hat blowing off, one of the foot pegs closing leaving me with little grip and a fear of losing my toe if a I tried to retrive it - and all the while, zipping along potholed roads of alternating seal and sand, passing stone obelisks and memorials, clear blue sky, white sand beaches and hot hot sun, and the landscape that once hosted such grim scenes of war. We passed by our destination, Anzac Cove, in just a few minutes, but there had been some communication breakdown as we kept on going for another eight or nine kilometres. Finally we stopped and our drivers discussed the situation with the 15-odd occupants of our escort sedan, before turning around and taking us all the way back to the cove. So friendly.

We stopped there for a bit, taking it in, and debating whether it was appropriate to swim - it was really hot - but there was some concern that as a memorial site, the beach was off-limits for swimming. So we started back towards the Info Centre. There wasn't much traffic and we wound up walking most of the three kilometres before a car stopped and let us squeeze in. And then we had our first swim! It was wonderful.

After we'd had some lunch we caught a lift with a couple up to Çunuk Bair. We'd hoped to see the NZ memorial, but our lift terminated at a Turkish memorial which was pretty moving all the same, with lots of grim, patriotic quotes from Atatürk.

We were aiming for the 3:30 ferry from Eceabat, so we scored a lift with a Turkish family in a van. They stopped at the NZ memorial, but just to buy some water, so we had no time to check it out. Such generous people, they even shared their water with us. We jumped out at the Kabatepe Museum, left a thank-you note for Inci and quickly got a lift with a silent man who took us all the way to Eceabat, right on time for the ferry.

And that was our day at Gelibolu. We continued on to Behramkale (Assos), where we spent a lovely relaxed evening checking out the ruins of a Temple of Athena, dating back to the 6th century BC. Set high up on the acropolis, with stunning views across the the Greek island of Lesvos, it was quite beautiful particularly as the sun was just setting.

Fast forward a few more hectic days, and we're at the little town of Pamukkale. Ange is currently visiting the travertine terraces and the ruins of Hierapolis, but I've opted (with some regret) to take the opportunity to sit quietly for a bit. I have a heap of photos to upload, but this computer is not up to the job. Roll on tomorrow, when we commence our four-day boat cruise on the Mediterranean!

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4 Comments:

Blogger mlove said...

wow jessie, you are quite the vibrant writer - i love reading about your adventures! i'm so excited for you. keep up the good work of adventure finding (and writing about them) - much much love to you xo marilyn

9:09 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

Thanks Marilyn - that one was straight out of the travel journal :)

The last few days have been pretty draining so we've learned our lesson and have resolved to take it a bit easier. Boat cruise should be a good start.

7:10 AM  
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2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jess. Great BLOG. Love reading it. Keep having a great time. Say hi to Ange :)
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