Up 8:30am. First full 8-hour night of sleep in weeks.
Left hotel 9am. On the bus we voted 14-1 to do Gallipoli today, so we'd have more free time in Istanbul tomorrow. Mike was the dissenter...he said he'd go with the majority, but would rather not deviate from the published itinerary. Outvoted!
Arrived in Troy 12:10pm. Underwhelming. Legendary city, but the ruins are weak compared to Hierapolis and Ephesus. Troy smells like the Jersey Shore, though, because there are boardwalks over the ruins and the boards have that distinctive aroma when they heat up in the sun.
Contrary to popular belief, the original inhabitants of Troy did not live in beehives.
At the entrance there was a big replica Trojan horse. I thought the story involved a bunnyrabbit. Now I get why Trojans are called Trojans, because you get to sneak something into a girl. Except in my case, because I'm hung like a horse, so sneaking isn't feasible.
The Trojan horse reminded me of when I hid in a tent at Wiffleball 2 and emerged as The Ultimate Warrior!
Arrived at Çanakkale harbor at 2:10pm. This is Ibo's hometown. Most people in the group went for stuffed potatoes, but 4 of us got chicken doner wraps. Yummy.
Today is a bit rushed so we can squeeze in Gallipoli. On the way to the ferry we realized Andy was missing, and in the interest of time we were prepared to ditch him, but it turns out he was way ahead of us! We rushed into the minibus and drove onto the ferry around 3pm, barely making it. Ferry left at 3:05pm.
At 3:13pm I did it. The Intercontinental Fart. I farted in Europe and Asia simultaneously while traversing the Dardanelles. After numerous failed attempts at farting in two hemispheres (ironic, because farts come out of a crack between two hemispheres), I was finally content. The Honky Tonk Man never did it, but that doesn't hurt his status as far as I'm concerned.
Ferry arrived on the Europe side at 3:30pm. We got to the first Gallipoli World War I site at 3:50pm. Saw Brighton Beach, where ANZAC was supposed to land but they screwed up. I dipped my feet in the Aegean. Then went to ANZAC Cove, where they did land, and had a heck of a time getting off the beach.
Beach cemetery. There was an awesome quote from Atatürk on a monument at the entrance, but I lost the photo.
Visited Lone Pine, a cemetery up on a hill. Shirley found her great-uncle's grave. Explored trenches. Visited the cemetery of the Turkish army's 57th Regiment. 57 is retired now, like baseball uniform numbers or flights that crashed, except for that flight in China I took that still kept the same flight number.
I took a great iPhone panorama shot that showed the Aegean on one side of Gallipoli and the Dardanelles on the other, but it was lost.
We left Gallipoli at 6pm. The ferry was too busy/full so Şucru took us to another ferry that was a drive but a shorter ferry ride so we didn't lose any time. Şucru!
Ferry departed 6:40pm. I uncorked my blueberry wine. Chicks on the upper deck were checking me out as I did it. That's what I do.
Arrived at the hotel 7pm. Freshened up. Left 8:15pm. Ibo took us to the Trojan horse, which was left over from the filming of Troy and better than the one we saw at Troy. Then our final dinner as a group, because Kate was leaving the tour tomorrow to go to Greece and Şucru was done being our driver once we got back to Istanbul. I had garlic/butter/chili shrimp as an appetizer, then filet of beef. Medium rare and very good. It was freezing and windy where we were sitting on the roof and most people asked for blankets, but I braved it.
Andy and Mike offered testimonials. Ibo ordered a cake for Ofelia, and the waiters brought out sparklers.
After 11pm we went to a bar. Ibo's brother joined us. The bar had a live band and was loud like the karaoke place, so it was the opposite of where we wanted to spend our final night. So most of us quickly went outside to the quieter patio. Kudos to this group...why didn't my Peru group have the balls to ditch that loud club on the last night so we could chat? This Turkey group is a good one, despite its flaws.
At 12:20am Kate left, so we did hugs. First one to leave. But we'll stay in touch via Facebook, right? ;) The rest of us left at 12:45am. We're leaving at 6:45am tomorrow, so it can't be a late night.
Hey, whatever happened to noted Turk Don Likeness?
Total of 8 drinks for the day, including wine in my room. Bed 1:55am.