March 10, 2015
We had solved the question of getting to Çanakkale and visiting Troy by booking three-quarters of a Troy tour from İstanbul. (Instead of returning us to İstanbul at the end of the day, the tour company would leave us in Çanakkale instead.) This plan was more expensive than taking the public bus to Çanakkale, but it was much more convenient because we wouldn’t have to make our way to the bus station in the suburbs.
So we were up at 6 am to finish packing, and we were picked up by the tour’s minibus about 6:45 am. There were already five people on the bus, a group of friends of which three were from Calgary and two from Hong Kong. And then there was us, and Tu Loan, the teacher from Coquitlam. The traffic leaving İstanbul was terrible, but that was because of a bad accident; once we got past that it was fine. At 9 am we stopped at a roadside café at a gas station for breakfast. Our table was neatly set with tomato, cucumber, olives, white cheese, lettuce, and hardboiled eggs—a typical Turkish breakfast. There was also a basket full of bread.
Once we were all done we re-boarded the minibus and continued until we reached a memorial to Turkish soldiers fallen in the Gallipoli campaign, where we stopped for about ten minutes. Just after noon we arrived at the Crowded House restaurant in Eceabat, where we had lunch. It started off with a really good bean soup followed by a chicken and potato stew, salad, and bread. The rest of the passengers were booked on a Gallipoli tour, and the two of us were booked on a tour of Troy, so we had to hustle out of there in order to catch the 1 pm ferry across the Dardanelles to Çanakkale.
Once in Çanakkale we were met by our tour guide Uran Savaş, who would take us to Troy. It turned out that we were the only two customers on the tour, which was a good deal! It was only about 30 km or so to Troy, so we were there within half an hour.
When you reach Troy, the first thing you see is a very large wooden Trojan horse. You can climb up inside it, so both of us did. Our guide then toured us around the site. On our own it would have been hard to figure out what was what, as the layers are at different heights at different places on the hill. Not to mention that some of the walls and buildings have been reconstructed in the last few years. But our guide straightened it out for us and made sure we could tell our Romans from our Trojans. It was quite amazing to wander around and realize that people were settled here in 3500 BC and that Homer’s Iliad actually took place here.
After the tour we stopped in at Uran’s shop for a while. We had coffee and bought a Turkish cookbook (in English) before heading back to Çanakkale, where our driver dropped us off at the Anzac Hotel. This would be our home for the next two nights.
We settled into our room, and then went across the street to the döner shop for dinner. The food was good and the price was even better—₺15 for the two of us! After dinner we walked along the waterfront past the ferry terminal; here was the big wooden horse which featured in the 2004 movie “Troy” with Brad Pitt as Achilles. And here also were a lot of sweet shops and bakeries, so we had to buy ₺10 worth of cookies to complement our dinner.
Next: Walking and Cruising