"Those heroes that shed their
blood and lost their lives...you are now lying of the soil
of a friendly country, therefore rest in peace. There is
no difference between the Johnies and the Mehmets to
us where they lie side by side here in this country of
ours...You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far
away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are
now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having
lost their lives on this land they have become our sons
- Kemal Ataturk
A few things really stuck home on the tour. First is that it felt like home. I'm not a sentimental type, but it did not feel like I was on foreign soil. The next was how beautiful the area is. Also present was the respect the Turks have for the ANZACs and the respect the soldiers on both sides had for each other even while killing each other. Stories of gallantry and nobility are common on both sides.
On Tuesday morning I took a tour of the ruins of Troy, the city of legend written of by Homer. Pretty interesting, but a lot of imagination is required. Pretty cool were the spots where you could see pieces from the nine different periods of Troy's history covering 3000 years. Then it was back to Istanbul and crashing in a hostel.
It was another early start today to catch the 8:30 train to Athens which will take 24 hours or so.
A few thoughts on Turkey. Russia keeps it prize for the best chess sets, but Turkey gets the prize for best chess boards, and best backgammon sets, although I'm not sure how much competition there is for that one. It was also a lot more expensive than I expected. My hostel was good, although the weekday staff were a lot friendlier than the weekend staff. Finally, Istanbul is a cat city.