Coastal Towns, Cute Dogs, and Homer’s Troy

This country is beautiful….also, the food is delicious. Turkey is fast turning into one of my favourite places in the world.  Some observations so far:

  • They do in fact eat Turkish delight in turkey. They usually have it with their glass of Turkish coffee (Turkish coffee is served in a glass)
  • The best local beer is actually light beer. I’m all for this way of thinking, I love light beer, but everywhere else I’ve been, the most popular beers are all dark
  • Food here is delicious, but very very heavy (rice, chicken, and potatoes are staples of the diet). Yes this means I’ve been too full to have desert so far…I am considering having a night where I don’t order dinner and just get desert so I can try some of their local pastries
  • For some reason, locals never guess that my friends or I are Canadian. The most popular guesses have been German or Danish
  • Flowers are everywhere. If there is a free inch of ground, there will be flowers in it.
  • These people are not afraid of colour

So what have I been doing in this time I haven’t been posting? Well first I wrapped up my last few days in Istanbul. I did a couple of things, but I really want to focus on the Ottoman palace. I have been to a lot of palaces in my day, all through Europe. This one was like nothing I’ve ever seen. Like I said…these people are not afraid of colour. They love it, and want it all around them as much as possible. That palace was bursting with colour in every nook and cranny. Tile was the most popular way of adding colour, but there was also gold and colourful gemstones EVERYWHERE (and yes, nothing is painted gold, it’s all real). I’ve also never been to a palace with a wing for the harem.

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Tile from the Ottoman Palace

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Ottoman Palace Ceiling

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Ottoman Palace door to the harem

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Ottoman Palace Hall

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Ottoman Palace Hall

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Ottoman Palace Ceiling

That was still in Istanbul though, and like I said, I’ve left Istanbul. Yesterday I was lucky enough to travel to and spend the day in the beautiful coastal city of Canakkale. Istanbul was great, but Canakkale is my favourite city so far. It is a lovely little coastal city surrounded by rolling green hills. In the city, there are lovely cobblestone streets, and cobblestone alleyways that cars can’t drive down (well, maybe tiny cars), and the buildings are wonderfully old, but most are painted bright colours (or made of stone). It’s also a much more open-minded city in a conservative country. Girls (local girls) walk around in pants and short skirts, and it’s rare to have men shout obscene things or try to hook up with them. It was a refreshing breath of air after the constant onslaught of Istanbul.

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View of Canakkale

In Canakkale, we took a half hour fairy to the other side of the Hellespont, where we visited Gallipoli. If you didn’t know, this was one of the sites WWI was fought on, and here it was particularly bloody and graphic. I won’t describe the horrors here, but I encourage all of you to learn about it. Despite it’s bloody history, the land was beautiful and peaceful.

Interesting fact…in taking that half hour ferry to and from Gallipoli, I crossed from Asia to Europe and back in one afternoon.

My evening in Canakkale was lovely….I wish I had pictures to share, but unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera out. We visited a local restaurant for dinner where I got a HUGE plate of food full of dishes I didn’t recognize for only 11 Lyra (about 6 dollars)! Then we visited a beautiful outdoor patio of a bar down the alley, and had local beer and wine well into the evening. Like I said, it was gorgeous, and I regret not having pictures. One of my favourite sites was a chalk sign by our bar that said “No wifi, talk to each other, call your mom.”

Unfortunately, we only had one night in that beautiful city, and in the morning we were out again. Luckily, we were on our way to visit Troy, which is where I spent most of today. Troy has literally thousands of years of history, and I can’t begin to describe all of it. The most well known stories of it are those of the Trojan Horse…we have no way of knowing how much of that story is true though, and all of the Greek history is hidden underneath of the Roman architecture, so the Roman Troy is what you see when visiting. Except of course for Schliemann’s Trench. Schliemann was an archaeologist from the 1800s who decided early on he was only interested in Homer’s Troy (the Troy of the Trojan Horse), so he simply blasted through all of the Roman stuff. We are trying now to recover all of the history he blasted through, as it contains vital clues to the history of Troy. Ironically, he blasted through the history layer he wanted, as he assumed the Trojan Horse had happened about 1000 years earlier than historians now believe possible.

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Ruins of Troy

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The windy plains of troy – in ancient times, this was a sheltered bay that ships would sit in, waiting for the winds on open water to die down so they could travel. This is what brought Troy economic power.

My main academic observation of Troy however was that it was WINDY. I’m certain it was a beautiful city, and clearly economically successful, but if I were an ancient Greek or Roman, I would not want to live there….I would be cold and wind chapped, and let’s not even talk about the state of my hair. My personal favourite part of Troy were the dogs. First there were 3 puppies (AWWWWWWW), then I met their mama (who was a big ball of sweetness, affection, and exhaustion). The last dog I met was a bit of a sadder story. He wasn’t tagged, like most of the dogs here are, and he was the thinnest dog I have ever seen. There was a mark around his neck where a collar clearly used to lay though, so it seems he has had a tragic past. I didn’t have any food for him, but he was clearly just as hungry for the affection I could give him, so he was still happy to see me. I spent the next ten minutes after leaving him desperately wishing I could take him home.

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One of the puppies

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Tired mama

I spent the rest of today on the bus winding through mountains on coastline on my way to Bergama.

My last observation of today that I wanted to share was the awesome bathroom I visited. Seriously. It was filled with flowers, the water was blue, there were creepy statues on the counter, a baby Minnie Mouse sticker on the wall, and a holographic cat poster!

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Hollographic cat poster

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Creepy statues

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Baby minnie

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View on the way to Bergama

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