We left very early this morning for the drive to Canakkale by way of Edirne, which is quite close to the Bulgarian and Greek borders on the European side of Turkey. On the way, we stopped at the Sultan Bayazid II’s healing center of Bayazit, completed in 1488. This was where students could come to learn the art of healing people through ancient traditions, such as using herbs, music and massage.While there, we were given a concert by a man playing a bamboo flute – the music is said to have medicinal qualities. Performance was great, and I certainly felt better afterward!
Next, we drove south to the peninsula in the Aegean sea which has the town of Gallipolis, site of a terrible battle during WWI. During the 10 months that Turkish troops fought the British forces for control of the peninsula, there were about 250,000 casualties. Turkish troops were told that they were being sent to die for their country – they eventually defeated the British, who withdrew from the peninsula. The fighting was particularly tough, with the British trying to scale cliffs from which the Turks could pick them off. At the end, Attaturk (Turkey’s beloved ruler of the early 20th Century) honored all of the fallen soldiers, including the British.
We visited a few cemeteries in the area, and it is an emotional place. It is difficult to imagine how Churchill and Attaturk could send so many young soldiers to their deaths, but that is what happens in war. On the other hand, a beautiful sunset appeared at the end of the day, casting a comforting glow on the peninsula that had seen so much death.
We drove directly to the town and boarded a small ferry boat (with the motor coach!) to cross the water to the Asian side of Turkey. Canakkale is where we are spending the night after having a substantial meal on the terrace of the hotel. In the morning, we’ll see the famous city of Troy!