Showing posts from April, 2015

Cappadocia - 38° 38' 31" N 34° 39' 30 E

The moon is lighting a cloudless, starry night as I sit on a terrace of a hotel cut into a sandstone  hoodoo .  The temperature is in the low teens, there are frogs, crickets and stray dogs providing a soundtrack.  I have a cold, strong beer and all is right in the world. After our Gallipoli adventure, we spent two more days in the Old City in Istanbul, wandering through the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market in search of a 50th birthday prezzie for Kate; exploring the Taksim/Beyogiu districts; crowd watching in the streets; trying more of the local delicacies and watching the sun set on the Bosphorus from rooftop terraces. On our final day in old Constantinople, having mastered the local tram and Metro system, we made our way, local-style, to the Ataturk Airport and hopped a quick flight to Kayseri. After a two-hour shuttle bus ride at limit-disregarding speeds, we arrived in Cappadocia at  our hotel  just as the sun was starting to set.  The whole place has a hippie, rock-climber-moun

Post-Gallipoli - 40° 58' 48" N 28° 48' 58" E

Cold, sleep-deprived, hungry, dehydrated, bored and COMPLETELY OVER being at Gallipoli - that was what all ten thousand of us were by about 11:45 am.  Imagine what we were like by 3 pm when they announced that they were finally starting to load busses for the six hour ride back to Istanbul.  That was NOTHING compared to our moods as we realized that it was taking them about seven minutes to round up the specific people to load a single bus of forty-two people.  Do the math. By 7 pm, the temperature had dropped into the single digits. The one little coffee vendor had long since stopped selling ten-dollar thimbles-full of coffee, closed shop and headed up the peninsula. They began passing out emergency thermal blankets and were barely fending off the angry mobs. It's a good thing Aussies suffer in silence so stoically. We really wouldn't have missed this ANZAC Day event, but we wouldn't have said 'no' to a chopper ride out of that place 15 minutes after the wra

Gallipoli - 40° 21'0" N 26° 28'0" E

After meeting our tour in Istanbul at 11am, we finally arrived at the commemorative site at 1am following a long bus ride and extended waits at the six separate security checks. The seating stands were full and real estate on the grassy areas in front of the presentation podium was tight.  We therefore parked ourselves on the edge of the road directly behind the media. With four and a half hours to wait until the dawn service, it was impossible to lie down and sleep - no matter, there was much to see until then.  There was a reflective programme and documentaries shown on massive display screens; performances by the military bands; cultural groups; the Terrace-All Hallows (Brisbane schools) choir and information videos on arrangements following the service. The service itself was haunting.  All was dark until the master of ceremonies began recounting the preparations by both the Turks and the ANZACs, as lights gradually began to illuminate the waves lapping against the shore, he

Pre-Gallipoli - 41° 0'51" N 28° 58'41" E

With jet lag mostly conquered, we decided to get a broader view of the city by taking one of the "hop-on, hop-off" bus tours that circumnavigates the city.  Some intrepid travellers poo-poo these tourist-focused outfits.  I find that: it is a good escape from the rain on soggy days you get a much-needed seat if you've done some tramping already that day they cover a lot of ground in a hurry and can help you get to a few of the more remote sights easily you get a good directional orientation, an idea of scale, scope and notion of how the city is laid out  the double-decker busses give you something other than "sidewalk" perspective - especially good for bridges that span continents you are presented with some good information on the audio soundtrack (everybody gets to listen to a recorded, location-triggered commentary in their choice of languages through headphones at their seat) We now know where the New Mosque (built 1589) is relative to the others;

Still Istanbul

Tramped the tourist route through The Blue Mosque and Kate's pick of the sights - the Basilica Cistern. Both were remarkable. What you could do when you had a few thousand slaves at your disposal! We wandered the Spice Bazaar, drank beer in the sun and took a ferry to Asia. Sean, using the universal language of flapping, gesturing and pointing, managed to buy a SD card/iPhone adapter to allow us to download photos from our camera. We will be able to post photos to the blog! But not today! We are off early to beat the line ups into Hagia Sophia...

Istanbul - 41° 0' 48" N 28° 57' 17" E

We arrived at our hotel after successfully negotiating the Istanbul train and tram system from the airport. Cheap, efficient and easy! Aimless wandering followed through the streets breathing in the sights and sounds, sampling tasty local fare and orientating ourselves.  And with heavy hearts, we realized what we had forgotten - to get our "Gallipoli 100" t-shirts printed. There were mobs of Aussies swarming around tourist attractions flaunting their Gallipoli 100 Tour Mollymock SLSC and Gallipoli 100 Military Sites Tour jackets. And here, we didn't even bring a flag... And then, the realization, the feeling in the pit of our tummies was the result of sampling far too many different flavours of Turkish Delight not from the forgotten t-shirts. All is well! Welcome to all the unfamılıar names! <Lookıng out over the Golden Horn Galata Tower One of the quieter streets

What to pack??

10 weeks away.  Hiking, diving, sailing, exploring capital cities and old ruins, lunching on sunny terraces in the Greek Islands and French vineyards and camping out overnight before the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.  What does one pack? ...we have managed to keep it to our 22 litre day packs, tipping the scales at about 5kg each!

Calgary - 51° 2' 54" N 114° 4' 14" W

We're still in Calgary right now. This is gonna change.