Wed., July 13. Bus to Canakkale. As Ephesus is considered the crown jewel of ruins in Turkey, we decided to skip some other ruins (Pergamum and Troy) and instead visit the Gallipoli Peninsula, site of a major World War I campaign.
Thursday, July 14. Tour of Gallipoli with Hassle Free Tours. We took an afternoon bus tour arranged through our hotel, Anzac House, in Canakkale. Jeff and I were the only Americans amongst Aussies, Kiwis (New Zealanders), and POMs (Brits). Anzac day is a very big holiday in Australia and New Zealand. It commemorates the Aussies and Kiwis who died in a attempt to secure the Gallipoli peninsula for the Allies during World War I. The Allies happened to land in a sector defended by troops commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), the father of modern Turkey. After a nine month campaign with little headway, the Allies withdrew. There are numerous beautiful cemeteries and monuments dedicated to the lives lost on both sides during this campaign. As an Australian citizen, it was quite a somber experience to visit the cemeteries.
From Gallipoli, we took a minivan back to Istanbul. We met Nozzy and Megan from Perth, Australia, who were also on the minivan.