Çanakkale – Gallipoli Turkey

  • Post category:Europe / Turkey

The bus from Selçuk to Çanakkale was a 6.5hour journey – sitting in the front of the bus watching the Turkish countryside go past.  Really the buses were an excellent way to travel except that the bus stations were all on the outskirts of town, which meant a transfer into the city centres where we were staying. Andrew enjoyed the concept of the drinks trolley coming around every hour or so.

We remarked to someone how good we have found the roads (condition/driving etiquette and number of vehicles). They agreed a lot of money had been put into the roads, but make us aware they thought a lot of that had been done as part of election ‘vote-buying’, rather then judicious spending.

In Çanakkale we had an apartment – mainly so we could use a washing machine and could restore our travelling wardrobe to clean again.  Our hosts had advised we could take the bus and had said get off at Central Square (or some such similar wording)  We had a minor panic, and frantic searching on the phone as we got into the city, as we needed to work out which stop that was – they had translated it for us, whereas the maps and bus notifications were only referring to the Turkish Cumhuriyet Meydanı. But it wasn’t a major problem. We did have an issue getting back to the bus station from the city when our scheduled bus didn’t arrive and eventually we had to hop in a taxi, along with a local lady in the same predicament and zoom out to the bus station. 

We soon realised Çanakkale was not a tourist town and people were genuinely interested to find out why were there.  It is a central point for visiting the Gallipoli (Gellibolou) Peninsula, but most foreign tourists either came through on a day tour or a larger tour and stayed just for one night.  We got asked in the supermarket where we were from by 2 young checkout operators and it took a number of iterations for them to understand New Zealand. 

We had 3 nights, but we chose not to travel to nearby Troy, even we had heard good things about the newly opened museum there.  We did have lots of time to visit the Naval museum – although at the end we had to hurry to complete as they closed for lunch. 

Walking back from a very average Kebab we found a recommended shop selling the local dessert speciality ‘Peynir Helvasi’ a Cheese Dessert which had similarities to Künefe which was delicious with a scoop of icecream on top. 

We visited the famous Trojan horse on the waterfront gifted to the city after the filming of the movie Troy.  Like every other tourist, we stopped and took a photo. 

The next morning we sheltered under the eaves of a building as our umbrellas threatened to turn inside out in the wind.  Our contact arrived and along with another couple we hopped on the public ferry across the Dardanelle Straight to the small town of Eceabat.  The weather was looking absolutely awful for our afternoon visiting some of the ANZAC sites, but it soon cleared and was sunny but very cold.  We joined the Crowded House tour and were totally out-numbered by loud Australians.  4 of us vs 10 or 12 of them.  The guide was excellent and had a good understanding of Antipodeans and of the places we visited.  It was also really interesting understanding how important the area was to the Turks, as it was to us.  We were very pleased to have had the opportunity to visit and to see for ourselves part of our shared histories. It was also interesting to hear our guide talking about seeing Russian warships passing through the straits in the last year – the area remains important as another conflict plays out (Ukraine).

We had a final meal in a popular indoor brewery type restaurant.  We coped but, smoking in restaurants is something we have become totally unused to, and most people were smoking like trains.  Almost none of the staff spoke any English and we had a bit a struggle trying to communicate we had only received one meal.  So quite a long meal!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Loved reading each of your blogs this morning, 5am! Can’t sleep! Many thanks. Jane j

  2. Richard

    Great travelogues as usual. Impressed with your use of buses to get around.

    1. AndrewPaula

      Front seat everytime. Worked like clockwork everytime. Highly recommended. Nescafe, not so recommended

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