Day 31, Aug 12 - Wrath of the Gods

Trip Start Jul 13, 2012
Trip End Aug 16, 2012

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Flag of Turkey  , Çanakkale,
Sunday, August 12, 2012

The morning starts off with a shuttle bus (that has A/C :o) ) to the site of ancient Troy. As someone who was trained in archaeology and Classical studies this was a must see. The fact is the site is more impressive and larger than I expected.

As the bus sped, and I do mean sped, to the site we drove into an ominous black sky. It is going to rain today. Which has not happened for nearly a month according to our guide. He should have been with me on my trip. I am an old hand when it comes to travel ling in rain.

We get to the site and the second we disembark from the bus drops of rain start. At least the sky has kept the morning temperature in the 20s. 

The bus driver hands us out some blue rain coats so we start to look like a group of walking blueberries - you know like at Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist. The only difference was these were not ponchos but buttoned up in the front which proved not such a great idea as most of us, bar one guy from Malaysia, got soaked in the front.

Once we were all set the tour guide gathered us in front of the info/gift shop. Just as he opened with his first statements about the myth of Troy a loud thunder crack rang out and the lights went out. Within seconds the rain began to pour. It felt like the beginning of a bad horror movie. The curse of ancient Troy Just as we step on the sacred grounds evil forces/gods plan their revenge on us. Even the huge Anatolian Shepherd dog seemed frightened by it and was trying to cuddle with people. I have a picture of the dog and just want to say this is the size of a lot of the stray dogs in Turkey. Like the ones chasing after me in Edirne - it gets a bit scary.

So after a month of no rain it poured like crazy for the duration of the tour. It would have been a lot nicer to walk around the site casually but most of the time we were scrambling between sections trying to get out of the rain. A river of rain water flowed through parts of the site. It was obvious that this sort of rain was not common. Troy was one of the sites of the early days of modern archaeology - by that I mean some achaeological techniques that would become standard were used. However mainly Heinrich Schliemann was a treasure hunter and grave robber like Indianna Jones. But he seems to have been correct about identifying the historical version of Homer's iliadic Troy.  We came across some people huddled in shelter near one of the old room walls and I was pretty sure they were not allowed to be there but no one said anything. It did not last long as I was leaving the spot the room though covered with a fancy canopy started to flood.

I am still glad I went and really enjoyed seeing the site and the efforts of more recent achaeologists. We headed back to Çanakkale to pick up some more people people that would join us on the tour of Gallipoli.

We first had lunch at a traditional restaurant and by the time we finished it was hot and sunny again. I think all my sunscreen has washed off from the thundershower. 

The Gallipoli tour was over 5 hours alone and we stopped mainly at the ANZAC sites with a couple Turkish sites. I learned there are actually a few Newfoundland Regiment gravestones at one of the British cemeteries at the Sulva sites but we did not stop there. Most of the people in our group and the other tours were Australian. I was the lone Canadian for the day. I was asked by the tour guide why I was here and I said I was a Newfoundlander first and I also know about some basic war history. There were two American girls on tour but the reason they were the3re is because they came along as a package deal with the Tory tour and they had no knowledge of what Gallipoli was about. I think they learned a lot that day even if it seem to get a bit repetitive and a lot of referencing to things Australians know specifically about. April 25th is an important holiday in Australian and New Zealand commemorating the day they landed at the shores.

It was well worth the tour and it gave a lot of perspective of how this devastating battle shaped the psyche of the Turkish nation in regards to conflict.

Later that night I mainly chilled on the roof top patio with a guy from Perth who was on the tour. He was and up and coming winemaker from Australia and he like to buy wines while he traveled around, so we had a few glasses while the streets became made with celebration because the local football team won the championship.

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