Loaded up the crew and set forth for Gallipoli, a peninsula situated on the Aegean coast of the Mediteranean sea. We were astounded by the absolute beauty of the aqua blue coast line, sprawling beaches and decidedly overall atmosphere. Our campground was a minute walk from the beach, and from that vantage point we could see a Greek Island.
We spent a few days relaxing on the beach, swimming in the salty water, trying to tan and hanging out with the extremely friendly Turkish university students who extended their hospitality to us. Our neighbours were so kind as to turn up at our camp bearing gifts and food... likely because of the state of our situation they assumed we were poor. We lacked a tent and slept under a rudimentary tarpaulin strung between trees. The last night we smoked nargile (water pipe containing flavored tabaco) and indulged in Raki, a traditional Turkish liqour which you mixed with water. As soon as I took a sip of the Raki (which is an anise-flavored apertif) I shuddered and I got goosebumps running up my arms! I was just researching how to spell Raki and this is what Wikipedia revealed to me "In Turkey, raki is the unofficial 'national drink' and it is traditionally consumed mixed with water; the dilution causes this alcoholic drink to turn a milky-white colour, and possibly because of its colour, this mixture is popularly called aslan sütü (or arslan sütü), literally meaning "lion's milk" (a(r)slan is also used to mean strong, brave man, hence milk for the brave)."
On our last day we hiked to Anzac cove, which was the landing place for the Australian and New Zealander troops during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915. After galavanting about, and running into a very poinsonous snake in the depths of a bunker we investigated we managed to arrange a guided tour we a cab driver for 60 Lira. We learned much about the campaign and the role of the Ataturk in the battle. There is one quote we stumbled upon in particular which was enjoyable uttered by the Ataturk himself and immortalized in a memorial of Anzac Cove, commemorating the loss of thousands of Turkish and Anzac soldiers in Gallipoli.
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets 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. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
The New Zealanders who flock to this area of the country are embraced by the Turks and no traces of animosity exists. Hamish was excited to meet a few people sporting New Zealand motif t-shirts and hats. Our guide was hilarious and well versed. On our trip back into town he cranked a disc and 90s music and we rocked out to MC Hammer 'Can't touch this' while racing around bends in the road with the windows down and hair flying.
Overall, Gallipoli was beautiful and we are planning to take my parental units to visit when they arrive in istanbul next week!
Ohh la la, Delilah