SUN COMES OUT FOR VISIT TO VIRGIN MARY’S HOUSE, TURKEY 1976

 

View from Virgin Mary’s last house

THURSDAY 21ST OCTOBER, 1976 – PART TWO

‘Back down to town; some of us had stuffed peppers, chips and tomatoes (Heidi, me, Adrian, Chris, Hans).

Nice town [Bergama] lots of food stalls and shops.  Quite clean.  Sun came out.  Scenery looked much better in the sun – blue sea and clear outline of sandy hills covered in olive trees.

Stopped at Izmir.  Soldier called Hassan attached himself and offered to find the Meaders’ place [parents of school friend who were living there].  Not enough time, so gave up.  Met up with Mark, Paul and Julie.  Very modern and busy port.

Salcuk from Nightingale Mountain

Next stop was early evening at house of Virgin Mary up on Nightingale Mountain, outside of Salcuk.  Really peaceful and serene setting among terraced gardens and lots of trees, view out to sea, sun beginning to go down.  Lovely little chapel built on remains of house; sat inside for a while, attendant gave me free guide.’

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PERGAMON – TEETERING TEMPLES AND PHANTOM SNAIL PINCHERS, TURKEY 1976

THURSDAY 21ST OCTOBER, 1976 – PART ONE

‘Went back in to Bergama and up hillside to old citadel of Pergamon.  Fantastic views of surrounding hills and plains and bird’s eye view of Bergama.  Hills very rugged and unfertile; lots of olive trees and sheep wandering around with bells around necks.

Ponies grazing among ruins.  Ruins quite extensive (Greek ones – Roman further down towards the town).  Remains of aquaduct, old city walls, library (200,000 parchments originally before taken to Alexandra and lost in a fire).

Temple of Athena and very steep theatre dropping down hill – steepest in Turkey because of gradient of hill.  Hilarious American Tour – “Gee what a super picture of a fig tree” as they passed the remains of the steepest amphitheatre in Turkey; “does anybody want a bit of marble?” and handed some round.  One woman went into ecstasies over a snail and looked suspiciously at us, saying, “You’re not going to take the snail away are you?”  I didn’t think we looked particularly like phantom snail pinchers.  Perhaps she thought we were combing the old ruins of Turkey for that very reason …’

ACROSS THE DARDANELLES TO TROY – AND MUDDY CAMPING, TURKEY, 1976

WEDNESDAY 20TH OCTOBER, 1976 – PART TWO

 

Paul with flowers in beard

‘Back to Eceabat where we got ferry across Dardanelles to Asia.  Sat in lounge, waiter came round with cay.  Rob trying to write diary again but men pestering him to buy jeans – offered 2000 lire!  Paul tried to sell his for 500L.

Next stop was Troy.  Went round ruins – about 9 different cities.  More impressive than expected – bits of city wall, rampart, theatre, pillars, storage jars etc.  Looked out across plain to Dardanelles and Gallipoli (?) in very far distance.  Looked around museum, various jars and pots and drinking goblets, as well as powder jars etc.  Some still had designs on – owls and little men.  No one quite sure which city was one of Homer – maybe 7th city.  Big wooden horse has been reconstructed by musuem.

 

Girls picking cotton in Western Turkey

Continued along coast and inland a bit.  Rather boring scenery, mostly flat and muddy; more hilly countryside covered in olive trees.  Felt ill.

Stopped at Pergamon – walking across road, Neva was missed by car by about an inch!  Bought nuts and raisins.  Shirley had her shoes polished; little boy in full command, bashing brush on box with great flair when Shirley was to put other foot up.  Nearly missed bus.

Drove few miles out and camped on sandy muddy stretch near water (house was built on previous camping area!) at Plajevleri – bar a few metres away, road on other side of tents.  Dogs barking round all the time and village idiot blowing whistle and snooping round tents.’

WINDY, DESOLATE MASS GRAVES OF ANZACS AT GALLIPOLI, TURKEY 1976

Lone Pine Memorial to Anzacs, at Gallipoli

WEDNESDAY 20TH OCTOBER, 1976  –  Part One

“Very windy again.  Grey sky and grey, green sea – dark when first got up.

Detour back to Anzac memorials.  Very quiet, cold and grey.  Wound up hill past Lone Pine memorial and others – gully of mass graves.  From top looked down on beaches of Gallipoli and ridges between them and the bluff.

Ridges and beaches of Gallipoli

Sinister war ships in the bay, just seen through the mist added an uncanny touch.  9 month siege, about 60,000 Allies died and more Turks – many from cholera, hepatitus, dysentry etc.  Stopped at Lone Pine – about 900 headstones and many more listed but never found.  Very sad place (quite a few Scots’ names).

 

 

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HOT SOUP & COLD CAMPING BY THE SEA OF MARMARA – OVERLANDERS ON THE ROAD AGAIN, 1976

TUESDAY 19TH OCTOBER, 1976

Young cotton picker in Western Turkey

Up early and raining.  Big clear out of Chinese laundry image!  Coffee at bar before left.  Boring drive back along road to Greek border.

Became very cold during day.  Stopped again at small port, bought hot bread and honey.  Eventually turned off down coast and followed Sea of Marmara.

Eventually near Eceabat made camp.  Very windy and bitingly cold.  Pitched in dark beside a derelict wall (apparently people sometimes live in it!) Very near sea, very rough, could see ships’ lights in the dark.

Had hot soup and stew.  Some of us walked (or rather were blown) into Eceabat – 2km – and had beer and cay at a quayside cafe.  No room indoors because all watching telly, so sat outside and froze!  (Chris, Nikki, me, Pam, Mark, Neva and Diana).  Walked back – very cold night.”

NIKKI SOLD FOR 20 CAMELS! FROM THE BAZAAR TO CAMP BAR, OVERLANDERS 1976

MONDAY 18TH OCTOBER, 1976

Bosphorus, Istanbul

Part Two:
Made for a cay shop – (Chris, Nikki, Jan, me and Heidi).  Got lost in back streets, seemed to be cloth factories and shops, with streets teaming with cars and men bent double under loads of bails etc. Eventually found tiny cay shop in arcade – produced a few stools and bought cay and Turkish coffee – place seemed to serve all the shops in the area.

Kept buying all the savouries and sweets that were being sold at street corners – me and Jan the worst culprits!  Made for the bazaar.  Really funny time – blokes haggling for us 4 from Chris!  Nikki was offered 20 camels!  Quite expensive prices – lots of coats, material, jewellery, belts etc.

Found another cay shop!  Then made home in the rush hour with Chris and Nikki.  Everyone dashes for the buses, absolute chaos.  Eventually crammed in one – a fella called Salami told me where to get off.  Then had to waylay a No. 6 mini bus.  Everyone rushes into the street and people in mini buses grab them onto the buses.  Another bloke guided us on, shouting “Schnell, schnell!”

Went to B.P Camp to see if any mail.  Had meal in Camp restaurant – revolting meatballs (probably camp cat!) and cold spaghetti.  Tehran turned up.  Had to say goodbye – others eventually rescued me!
Went up to B.P Camp again because someone said I had a letter up there.  Me and Mark discovered Contiki were there and so stayed and drank with them.  Mostly dull, but driver’s good fun – pretended he was barman – quite a laugh when annoyed people wanted drinks!

Back to our busand had a chat in back with Nikki and Chris.”

EUNUCHS, QUEEN VICTORIA, DIAMOND EGG CUPS – TOPKAPI PALACE, ISTANBUL 1976

MONDAY 18TH OCTOBER, 1976

Part One:
“Decided not enough people to go for fish super, so cancelled it.  Bus dropped us at Blue Mosque again.  Jan, me and Heidi, Bill and Shirley made for the Topkapi PalaceBegan to pour again.  Palace had lovely courtyards and gardens of trees which must be lovely in the sunshine.  All buildings fairly low lying, in pavilions.

First went to the kitchens – large chimneys.  Inside was all the Chinese pottery, some very early stuff, masses of it.  Really beautiful blue patterns, large bowls and coffee pots, mugs, urns etc.  Latter stuff green, pink and mixed colours; some very beautiful.  (Imagine using big china urn to pour the cordial in the bus!  Might have even more spills!)

Next thing we peered into was the Sultan’s library, can’t see inside, but saw low couches and book stand.  Then saw the magnificent jewellery.  Incredible jewel studded weapons – quivers, daggers, pistols etc.  Lavish pendants, bags.  Section with utensils such as diamond studded egg cups, jade carved bowls.  The next section was mainly emeralds, including the biggest emerald in the world.  Various jewel studded thrones – looked rather uncomfortable!  Then there were some fantastic diamonds, including the spoon mason’s diamond – really massive.  Gold candlesticks with 6666 diamonds in them – prayers of the Koran.

There was also a house ful of sacred emblems, such as coffers for Mohammed’s mantle and little casks with his tooth and hairs from beard etc.  Sacred weapons and padlocks from some gate.  We then went off and bought some biscuits before the harem guided tour was due.  Met up with Chris and Nikki.

The harem was fascinating.  Very secluded, over 400 rooms.  Dark corridor of cells for eunuchs.  The bigger rooms had lovely decorated doors of fruit and pink patterned walls, blue tiles, and incredibly intricate ceilings – the Crown Prince’s room had a material covered dome ceiling.  Turkish baths and the Sultan’s room had running water in so that people couldn’t hear what he was discussing with his mother about politics etc.

Fresh fish sandwiches off boats at Galata Bridge

Lovely large entertainment room, low lying bolsters, carpet covered floor, chair with eagle from Willhelm III, and 2 clocks from Queen Victoria.  About 300-500 women in all.

Then we headed straight for the quayside for fish and bread off the little boats –really good.”