Saturday, October 20, 2007
Who is there?
We are on the Asian side of Turkey now, after spending most of a day touring the battlefields, graves and monuments of the war waste known as Gallipolli.
It was a wonderful area to ride through with hardly any traffic, views of the Aegean and of fields, bright blue skies, clean smelling scrub pines and narrow but nice 2 lane curvy roads. Unfortunately, they had just layed some liquid tar on many portions of the road, and our bikes got saturated with the nasty stuff.
After a short ferry to Canakkale, I spent the afternoon with gas and diesel soaked rags getting them cleaned up. We walked the boardwalk along the Dardenelles, filled as everywhere there is in Turkey, with fishermen. We took a picture with the Troy movie prop of the Trojan horse, before getting some cheap dinner. (Completely aside we had a nice lunch in the seaside town of Cumbag the day before)
The locals showed more of the Turkish hospitality by letting us try some Turkish delight and baby cakes that Clara had her eyes on, for free.
Yesterday we spent hours at the excavations of the ancient city of Troy. Fascinating. There are 10 different layers going back 6 or 7 thousand years. They are not sure whether it was Troy VI or Troy VII when the Trojan war took place but there is evidence of a fire and a ruining of the city. It evoked the imagination to feel like King Priam looking out from the limestone hill across the plain, to see the Greek ships on the shore, to see the battle arrayed before you. Did Hector, Achilles, Agememnon and Odysseus really fight down below?
We reached another ancient site in the afternoon: Assos. We explored the Temple of Athena, the old church converted to a mosque, and the large ampitheter looking out over the sea towards the island of Lesbos. St. Paul waled down the road we were on in his trip to Rome.
We settled in for the night, camping in this incredibly cute town, 10 meters from the lapping waves.