I had not particularly thought about Greece in terms of expectation of experience, it was a country to cross on the way to Eastern promise. Funnily enough I have enjoyed the country and it's people a great deal. Nothing but friendliness and generosity. The roads are a dream, mixing exciting scenery, very little traffic and generally good repair. That said I did have one hairy moment on the first day, when the road suddenly narrowed because of a landslip. The right hand side of the road was an unguarded precipice of hundreds of feet and the on coming car only gave me inches to squeeze between it and the said cliff face. Both Batty and I did a cartoon type breathing in act to make it.
This was my first border crossing of any consequence. Of course I completely forgot all the stuff I had been reading up on and made a bit of a meal of it. After about an hour of to-ing and fro-ing, being sent from one kiosk to another, accompanied by insanely loud piped Turkish music, I was in the land with the red flag with stars and a young moon.
Staying in Gallipoli in a somewhat suspect hotel, but with a great proprietor who has helped get road maps and a fine diner.
It is difficult when in a place that nearly a hundred years ago were the fields of huge loss of life, of extraordinary suffering and bravery, to know as where or what to see. I decided to just drive around the peninsular that saw much of the fighting and stopped at the most southern point, where there is a huge commonwealth memorial.
There are so many memorials every few miles that it gives some scale of the fight. Whatever the rights or wrongs, and who did what, it is the Turkish massive loss that I found extraordinary, something like 3 to 1. The French were the second biggest losers, followed by the Brits and Commonwealth countries. The Turks were defending their land, and in spite of their loss, this is the translation of a Kemal Ataturk's words that gives a little bit of the hint of graciousness and generosity of spirit that has been my experience over the last 48 hrs (apart from some drivers...):
I ferried across the Dardanelles to Asia, and you can see why it was so strategic. This stretch of water that took about 10 mins to cross, connects 2 economic and political worlds. Had Churchill and his fellow planners succeeded in beating the Turks it would have changed the shape of the war enormously.
Batty on the ferry across the Dardanelles, her 3rd time on water, she has quite got her sea wheels.
In the later afternoon I went to Troy. Although ruins, it again was positioned very strategically as a trading post/ harbour for ships that could then only sail with the wind. As the prevailing wind is from the north, ships had to wait a long time at Troy for the southerly wind. This caused trouble as the Greeks and then the Romans wanted to lay their hands on it.. I had a good look around for Helen, but alas not even a glimmer.
Horror of horror, I suppose they have to for the kids?
Some fellow bikers, every friendly and spoke great English (please say hello here if you read this blog, I am afraid I did not catch your names). Thank you and hello again Erdem and Cihan, it was great to meet you and good luck in India and your studies.
I think I have started to get careless, I managed to leave my laptop on top of the bike and in clear view of everyone for over an hour, whilst I went around the War Memorial. And I have also lost a credit card. I am sure it is not stolen, as I keep it with others, but it must have been left in the ATM machine....that will be a headache. Sharpen up Harry