Posts Tagged ‘Çanakkale’


A little kitten, all alone, meowing on the side of the road. Outside in the cold. I almost tried to take her in my handlebar bag. Passers-by didn’t seem too concerned. Maybe they didn’t understand me. She might freeze. Or get squashed.

A lonely little kitten

A lonely little kitten

After all the cold days, I was worried about climbing into the mountains. There was no need. It was short-sleeve weather for me (about 6C, I think – I overheat easily, as James can testify to). It was also big head-wind weather today. As I crawled along the valley, I was a bit worried about reaching Çan before sunset. (In the end, I made it easily.) And, finally, it was impressive cloud weather today. Although sometimes dark and looming, the clouds kept their water to themselves.

Up the valley from Çanakkale

Up the valley from Çanakkale

Up the valley from Çanakkale

Up the valley from Çanakkale

The road to Çan

The road to Çan

Looming clouds

Looming clouds

See how small she is

See how small she is

Thanks to the kind hotel manager at the Anzac Hotel in Çanakkale, I am now in a hotel that I would have never have found. Recommended as a cheap hotel, it is inside the security wall of a ceramic factory. It reminds me a bit of the teacher accommodation we stayed at in Lüleburgaz. It is a hotel, but, not for the normal public – or at least, it is not widely advertised. Its perfect for a tired cyclist! 🙂


The sun came out on this frosty day as I peddled alone on the wind-swept peninsula. Outside, I only heard the tranquil sound of the wind and the waves, but inside I felt the earth shudder, the chatter of rifles, and the screams of pointless death around me – almost 100 years ago. Tiny knolls in an all too common rolling-hill landscape have great significance by the death burden they carry. Today I felt that burden, and cried.

Anzac Cove

Anzac Cove

What a peaceful place. I was alone today. The roads were empty. Some farmers ploughed their fields. Some people were picking olives. Most of the time, it was me, the sun, the wind, and my thoughts. Thoughts of what happened here 100 years ago. How insignificant and mundane the famous beaches were. I stopped at Beach V – one of the Allies’ landing points at the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula. There was hardly a beach at all.

Beach V

Beach V

There were two areas – two little specks of land – that were held by the Allies for the extent of the Gallipoli battle. One was at the tip, and one at Anzac Cove. The Helles Memorial overlooks Beach V.

Helles Memorial

Helles Memorial

Around Anzac Cove, small knolls, undulations, crags, all have Australian names. They were too insignificant to have Turkish names. Now their significance is burned into history. I visited a cemetery near Anzac Cove. Protected from the wind, there was an eery silence. The lawn was lush and the sky was blue. A bird flapped overhead. I stood there amongst the gravestones. Men aged 22, 21 – I saw one 17. All died in 1915. Here where I stood were trenches.

Cemetery

Cemetery

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

At the going down of the sun

At the going down of the sun

In the morning

In the morning

Monument to the Fallen

Monument to the Fallen

Words of Atatürk

Words of Atatürk


Today was a day of thoughts. The road was straight and the wind was strong, and my thoughts were on Australia and my youth. I had studied the war-poet Wilfred Owen at school, and I felt a lump in my throat as I approached the almost sacred Anzac territory of the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula. My family was here 100 years ago, as were the families of the lovely people around me that have welcomed me to their country. War is such a horrible thing.

On the road to Çanakkale

On the road to Çanakkale

Rugged up like a mummy I went out into the cold – which wasn’t that cold. I peeled off the layers and basked in the sun (briefly). And who was there, but the 2 French girls James and I met in Croatia before entering Bosnia Herzegovina?

I meet the French cyclists again

I meet the French cyclists again

It was a day of clouds and sun, with beams of light piercing the clouds to make for beautiful vistas.

Sunset in the military museum.

Sunset in Çanakkale

Sunset in Çanakkale

And, just after having installed myself in the Anzac Hotel (an appropriate place for my stay), I stumbled across 3 heavily laden bikes with 3 bike tourers – a group of friends from France cycling to Iran in the winter (!). We ended up having a lovely evening sharing our left-wing radical views and discovering some common interests and activities of touring cyclists. Follow them on their blog: http://bikingtotehran.tumblr.com

Touring cyclist get-together

Touring cyclist get-together