So plan B is in operation….not to go directly to Istanbul, because my flight home is not till June 17th, but to go south in the direction of the Dardanelles, scene of the infamous Allied defeat in 1915, better known as Gallipoli.
In the town of Golibolu (Gallipoli) there is a small museum displaying photos, memorabilia and salvaged weaponry, but on the outside wall of the museum my attention was caught by this
…words written by Ataturk, the father of Turkey’s nation state. Then when I got to one of the Ottoman military war cemeteries
I was reminded that the Turks had declared jihad (a holy war) in the face of invasion
which meant that all Turks killed in the action, or died as a result of injury or illness, were automatically declared martyrs. The defeat of the Allies was momentous for Turkey….it provided the foundation for developing their nation state, led by the indomitable Ataturk.
En route south, I caught up with Jacques from Belgium….
Without knowing it, we had been tacking a similar course through Europe, but he was hoping to get to Jerusalem. Not via Syria, of course, but via Cyprus, where he will have to persuade a cargo ship captain to take him to Haifa. A retired lawyer and veteran of long distance walks, like me he is convinced of the value of always travelling solo.
Shortly after meeting Jacques, I stopped to chat to this goat herdsman with his dozen goats
and via unsubtle sign language, we managed five minutes of communication….but down the road I had to thread my way through cows on the road
was startled to discover a small herd grazing on a busy roundabout
and wondered what this shepherd of two tethered sheep did to keep his mind occupied all day
When you ride in excess of 100 kms every day through open countryside, you are going to stumble across many interesting situations.
But after climbing over a range of hills, and before I started 7kms of non-stop free wheeling, I caught my first sight of sea since leaving the Hook of Holland
the Aegean….which reminds me of something I read in the comically worded tourist brochure in Kesan (you know, the place that never gets any tourists?). In the same sentence it mentioned both the Mediterranean and the Agency…it took me a while to realise that it was probably a bad Google translation of ‘Aegean Sea’….!
So now, for two nights, I will stay in the bustling holiday town of Canakkale, and tomorrow I will speed the 40kms down to Troy…… luggage free!