March 11, 2015
After a good night’s sleep we had a free day to wander around Çanakkale. The weather looked promising, a bit overcast but no wind or rain. So, first step: go downstairs for the hotel breakfast buffet. We were in for a treat; the spread was very extensive and also included scrambled eggs, cheese toast, and French toast. We both tried the sour cherry juice, which was quite good. However the spicy cheese balls were more like spicy wall plaster balls.
After breakfast we headed out of the hotel and walked along the waterfront to the military museum and the castle. The museum was mostly outdoors and housed numerous cannons and other hardware, mostly from the World War I era. At the dock was the famous mine-laying ship which had spoiled the British naval attack in World War I, or at least a replica of it. But there were half a dozen naval officers on board apparently waiting to greet visitors, so we felt shy and didn’t go over there. And unfortunately the castle was being renovated, so we couldn’t go in there either.
So we carried on from there, for a walk around the town. Beyond the castle the streets led us through a very rundown part of town, on our way to the Sarıçay River. One of the bridges over the river has several nice statues showing different aspects of fishing, including one statue of a woman feeding fish to some cats. Then a man came out of one of the restaurants and dumped some fish at the edge of the river, but they must have been pretty bad fish because the cats, and even the gulls, weren’t interested!
It was a bit early for lunch so we went in search of a shop selling foot cream for Rosemary. We had seen some last night, and finally we managed to re-find one of them, where we bought a Turkish brand of cream. After that we bought our usual simits and went to sit on a bench by the clock tower.
After lunch we went to buy tickets for our bus trip to İzmir tomorrow. There are several bus companies but the hotel clerk recommended Kamil Koç, so we bought tickets for their 9:30 am trip tomorrow. Business complete, we headed down to the sea front, where there were several shops selling ice cream. Paul had chocolate and Rosemary had raspberry, and both of us had white ice cream which turned out to be dondurma, a Turkish ice cream which is made from flour from the roots of wild orchids. It has a rather rubbery texture and doesn’t melt as fast as ordinary ice cream. Sitting on a bench eating our ice cream was really pleasant. We also got to watch the local fishermen bring in their catch and sort it by species into different boxes. The local feral cats also came to watch, hoping to get a tidbit.
We still needed something to do this afternoon, so we decided to take a cruise. For the sum of ₺2 each we took the ferry to Kilitbahir, on the other side of the Dardanelles. There was another castle there, but unfortunately it too was being renovated. This is the narrowest part of the Dardanelles, so there was a military defense system on the coast here including a fort built for World War I. We walked along it past numerous bunkers which had held ammunition during the war, but beyond the empty bunkers there was nothing else to see there.
We headed back to the ferry dock just in time to catch the ferry to Çanakkale. The ferry runs every half hour until midnight, though, so we didn’t need to rush to catch it. The ride is only 10 minutes long each way, but it was a good way to spend the afternoon.
For dinner we checked out the waterfront restaurants; it was hard to decide what we wanted for dinner, so eventually we ended up with a simple solution: pizza. We still hadn’t figured out Turkish fast-food procedures, like how do you place an order and so on, but they found us a staff member with some English who sorted us out. The only really strange part was that they don’t give you a bill. Once you’re done you go up to the cashier and he magically produces the correct bill, you pay and you’re done. We had a “Hawaii” pizza which wasn’t too bad.