We went for a made dash to the local shopping center desperate to find Marty some shorts and fortunately the first store we went in to had lots of them, a bit different to what he normally wears, but he just had to make do, cause he isn't going to find anything like from home. So then we packed, made our way to the train station where we were going to catch the tram to,the airport, then changed our minds and grabbed a cab.
We were very early but luckily able to check in our luggage and sit and relax waiting for the plane. Short plane ride to Munich then on another flight to Istanbul. Our transfer was waiting for us and took us straight to the motel, where he pointed us in the direction of the hotel, first bad impression was that it was like an obstacle course trying to get our luggage to the front door, with cars parked on the footpath, pot planters on the foot path and a witches hat! Next problem was they didn't have our names for the booking, so I had to get the iPad out get there Internet password and show them the name and number of the guide so he could confirm us. I was really grumpy by this stage as it was well after midnight and we knew we had to be up early to rearrange our luggage and be ready to meet our guide at 8am.
We were set to go up to the room and the idiot bellboy wanted to take my luggage in the lift with Marty and his luggage, but the lift was no bigger than a cupboard and it was eith I fit in or the bell boy fit in, so I had to snatch the luggage off him so I could get in the lift.
The room was small but adequate, but the bathroom smelt like a sewer, and the toilet seat was broken and the air conditioner didn't work, but the verandah was bigger than the room. Thank god we on had one night there.
We set the iPhone to alarm at 6.30 but unfortunately the iPhone reset itself to the right time overnight and we ended up getting up at 5.30. I was not a happy camper. But the good thing was the driver Simon and guide Arif were on time and they had a lovely big 9 seated van just for the 2 of us, so after our first stop to get water, I lay down on the very back seat and went to sleep for a couple of hours, poor Marty managed to doze a bit also.
Our first stop was lunch, and being a private tour Arif took us to a traditional Turkish restaurant rather than one that is geared towards tourists, i had Moussaka of course and Marty played it safe and had chicken and potato, but at least it had chili.
We then drove to Anzac Cove, I suspected that they would be preparing the area for the ANZAC day celebrations but it was also National Day the next day so there were thousands of people swarming all over Gallipoli, I found this a bit disappointing because I had been there when it was quiet and the atmosphere was totally different. Fortunately though the crowds didn't bother Marty, as he still felt moved by it all.
We spent a couple of hours visiting all the significant sights, memorials etc, then caught the ferry across the Dardanelles from the European side to the Asian side of turkey into Canakkale. Arif showed us to our accommodation, another smallish room but at least comfy and no smell, well at least we thought so, once we used the toilet, the same sewer smell presented itself. We alerted the staff and they came and stuffed some plastic in a down pipe which sort of fixed it. Arif had offered to take us out for the evening but we declined and after a bit of a relax we headed out to find dinner, which was ok, but next time we will get some advice on where to find a traditional restaurant again. I have forgotten to mention that in the Turkey they broadcast a "Call to Prayer" over an extensive speaker system throughout each city. This happens 5 times a day, with the first one being at 5.30am, I thought this would be big problem for me, but I stuffed those earplugs in so far, they could have dropped a bombard I wouldn't have woken, so I was a happy camper.
Our first visit today was to Troy, I remember last time I was here I found it quite boring, but Arif combined the history with the legends and made it really interesting, and I think sharing it with Marty, who was really enjoying it made it much more special.
We had a quick stop for some coffee/ tea (I tried a Turkish coffee- wild gear but wakes you up), while we were there a gentleman said that we sounded Australian, when we said we were he told us he wrote a book for us, so for 10 lira, we got an autographed book of the story of Gallipoli, very special.
We drove onto Pergamon or Pergamos where we had another delicious traditional Turkish lunch and this time Arif bought us a glass or raki each, this is the Turkish equivalent to ouzo, but they mix it with water and it turns a milky color, the Turks call it lions milk. I am glad Marty at least tried it.
Pergamon is the sight of what was the political Capitol of the area and has a lot of remains
We then drove onto Selcuk to stay for 2 nights. It was quite late and once again Arif offered to take us out for the night but we declined, had a short rest, then found a nice cafe where we had a beautiful salad and chicken shish kebab. It was about 10 by the time we got home so basically went straight to bed.
The plan was to go to Ephesus today but Arif thought it better we do that tomorrow on our way to the airport at Izmir. The breakfast we had this morning was typical of Turkish breakfasts but unfortunately this one had no English choices. So we feasted on cold boiled egg, tomato, cucumber, goats cheese, bread, olives and Turkish tea. Blahhh, but it was food.
So we started the day at Tire, a traditional village that isn't visited by tourists much, and once a week they turn almost the whole village into a market. We strolled around the market looking at all the wonderfully fresh fruits and vegetables, and all the other traditional offerings. We did manage to also find some magnifying glasses for me as I had lost my first 2 pairs and my last pair were on there last legs.
Next we drove to Sirince, a town that has become very touristy but is also world heritage listed and very very old. It is supposedly famous for its fruit wines. Once we arrived Arif took us straight tot the top of the village to the restaurant where we had yet another lovely traditional meal. It reminded me of the village Meryl Streep played the mother in Mama Mia.
We found some Tshirts for Marty and then tried some of the local wines, most of which were undrinkable. We had asked Arif if we could have an earlier day as we had things to book before heading back to Istanbul. So we had a leisurely drive back to Selcuk.
We returned that evening to the same restaurant as we really loved the food, and while there got a couple of running repairs done on some of Marty's clothes at the local tailor.
We were faced with the same breakfast plus some cans of juice Marty bought across the street, then we were off again to firstly "The Virgin Mary's house", which was just a little tiny chapel with a stone block in the wall that had colorings that with some imagination resembled what the virgin Mary supposedly looked like.
Then onto Ephesus, I remember this ancient 2000 year old archeological site from my last visit to Turkey and was really hoping Marty enjoyed it as much as I did. They had excavated quite a bit more since I was last there, and built a structure over some new excavations of private houses that were incredibly well preserved, including paintings and floor tiles and painted walls, just fascinating. And luckily Marty really enjoyed it.
After touring the library and then the amphitheater, that seated 240000 people, we headed back to Selcuk, and had lunch and a few drinks while waiting to go to the airport at Izmir to fly back to Istanbul.
That evening I rang dads hotel and confirmed that he had arrived safely.
We made our way on foot to dads hotel and met him and Marcia at 9 as arrange, wether organized a tour of Istanbul and went to little Hagia Sophia, Top museum, the palace, the underground cistern, the blue mosque, and finally the grand bazaar. A great day.
We once again met up with dad and Marcia and this time we did the boat tour of the Bosphorus river, Lovely relaxing morning, then lunch and we were going to go to the cruise terminal with both of them to see them off but there were no taxis and no drivers to take them, Marty and I had to wander the streets to find someone, the taxi drivers refused for some odd reason, but then we found a young fellow who was happy to take them. Unfortunately after we had packed there gear in the little car and he had assured us he would get them there safely for the small sum do 20€ he drove off and drove straight into a planter box and ripped the front bits off his car. We offered to take them back to his restaurant and waited until he returned mainly to ensure they got to the terminal alright.
Saturday and Sunday 28-29/04/2012
We basically checked out of our hotel, sat around in the lobby for our transfer to the airport which was prearranged with Arif. .
Got to the hotel only to find that once again, on a really hot day the air conditioner was not yet set for summer, they moved us to a larger room after much complaining, mainly to appease us as there was nothing they could do about the air conditioning.
Saturday we just went back to the airport to get US dollars, going into to Barcelona was just too far away from where we were. We ended up at an airport hotel because we couldn't get anything in Barcelona for under $400 for 2 nights, so opted for the airport.