1566: Gallipoli

1566:   Gallipoli

Friday 19th June 202

Minibus, guide and drive arrived promptly at 8.00 Apparently we were the first tourists for the tour company since Covid and we were told the same thing when we stopped for Cay … a few Turkish day trippers only.  Normally this time of year is wall to wall tours … we saw a few other people at some of the monuments, but again we were very privileged to have them mostly to ourselves.

David’s Great Uncle had fought here, been wounded, gone onto fight in the European trenches, been wounded again … only to die from the Spanish Flu.  Consequently we concentrated on the Irish and British landing areas, down the South of the Gallipoli Peninsula.  We only had about 4.5 hours as we needed to get onto close to the Bulgarian border.  To be honest, with assimilating the information and dealing with the emotions, the time was enough.  I am sure we will return and spend time in the museums and at the Anzac fighting areas.

The Allies withdrew after 9 months leaving

  • More than half a million casualties, of which 130,000 were deaths
  • The British Empire lost 36,00, including 8,700 Australians and 2700 New Zealanders.
  • French casualties were 47,000, over half their number and 8,800 dead.
  • Half the 500,000 strong Ottoman forces became casualties, with almost 86,700 killed
  • There are 40 Allied and 20 Turkish War Cemeteries.


The map showed the landing beaches, some very narrow, the target villages and higher ground that was supposed to be captured.  It looked like a very small geographic area that was held by the Allies.  It was a shock exactly how small the area when we looked down over it from one of the hills.

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Turkish gun emplacements  either side of the Dardanelles …. the guns supplied by the Germans.  These and mines destroyed 6 Allies ships in March 1915 – the Turkish Canakkale Naval Victory.  The original plan had been to create a route up by Istanbul (Constantinople) to Russia, keeping Allied control of the waterway.  The land assault was Plan B.

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The Turks revere the Gallipoli Peninsula is a National Park as a symbol of national pride  whilst the Generals may have been German, it was Turkish soldiers who repelled the invaders.  At the time, Turkey was the “Sick Man of Europe.  At the outset of the war, Turkey was neutral, but Germany had freely supplied guns and equipment and Churchill had commandeered two battleships that Turkey had paid for (apparently!).  

This chap was a forester and during the sea campaign, he found the strength to lift up the shells when the lifting gear broke.  His statue is found in various places.


Pic taken from the target hill the Allies never managed to take.  The opening of the Dardanelles is surprisingly narrow.  The pic does not show how small the geographic area was that the Allies managed to secure in 9 months of combat  and it was a really small area.


At the Turkish monument.  All the memorials had been shut for much of 2014 to be cleaned for the Centenary celebrations in 2015.



A moving speech by Mustafa Kemal, then a Commander of a Regiment … the future Ataturk.


The Turkish memorial is visible for miles  14.5 metres tall.  From most angles you can see 3 legs, representing the Turkish common male name Mehmet, meaning the one who praises.




The Clyde steamer foundered on the rocks and small boats had to be used to create a bridge for the troops.  Hundreds were picked off by Turkish machine guns.


Allies Cenetary, with a lot of volunteer Irish.


Hellas Memorial:  honouring 20,000 British and Australians who were known to have died here, but have no known graves.



Lone Pine Cemetary with the most Austrian graves, where a 4 day battle left 7,000 dead.  


The small Salim Mutlu War Museum mostly contained shrapnel and shells, but this display case showed how dense the number of shells was on the ground.


A bit of light relief at the end  cats ever hopeful around the fish van.

288 -289: Sailing Soup & Gallee Pollee

288 – Tuesday 2nd February 2016:  McWiFi – and Flying Soup….

Marina di Piscci saw K running for 6 straight days equalling her previous record – and I ran for the fourth day in succession – hopes of a calf muscle recovery – spoken softly….  Brekkie and tidy up – MV Chardonnay took to the highway with a dodgy headlight – main bulb gone – we have spares but couldn’t immediately see the change method – never mind – note to selves to get to the nightly bivouac before dark.  SSN (Synchronised SatNavs) set for Gallipoli – not the infamous World War site – that’s in Turkey, we think. No wars today – or any day.

Passing through one town about an hour into our trip, K’s eagle eye spotted a sign for an Auchan supermercato – her favourite !  I stayed house sitting – oh and when we stopped for diesel before Auchan, an Italian chap commented on how bellissimo our van is !  Anyway, one hour later, K emerged laden with goodies for at least a week – but hungry and needing the loo (does the reader need to know about our lavatorial requirements ?).  McDonalds beckoned with free WiFi – and burgers and chips – and toilet….  We needed little persuasion – burgered, chipped and WC’d – and WiFi’d at length.  To our slight surprise, it was 3 pm when we resumed our journey…..

Now then – everyone knows that K makes great homemade soup. What the reader may not know – is that K’s soups have some amazing qualities – including deliciousimmos. One little publicised attribute is (suspend your disbelief) – the soup can fly !  Not locking the fridge before departure greatly assists this aeronautical prowess (DFTLTFBD) – this anachronistic acronym defies explanation… Whilst driving, we are used to hearing bangs and other sounds from within the van – sometimes the wardrobe door opens and shoes get rearranged, etc. This was a big bang !  K (driving) suggested (gently) that I investigate cause of said noise. On making my way gingerly mid flight to the kitchen area, I was able to confirm back to the cockpit that an aeronautical event had indeed occurred. Now, one interesting fact about flying soup is that it leaves it’s home as a homogenous mass – but in flight – it breaks up and attaches itself in a number of subsidiary soups to any surface it meets en route ! This soup met many surfaces ! 

Surfaces mostly restored (floor included), trip resumed. Our SSN programmed night stop was reached in near darkness (dodgy headlight in play) – it was ‘chiuso’ – closed. We phoned the owners, but to no avail. We had passed closed campsites en route – but it was looking like a wild camping beachside stop – with no proper toilet (dare I tell the reader that K has ordered a purple Shewee ?). We tried one other Sosta by phone – they were ‘aperto’ – open – and off we galloped – on arrival, we waited 15 minutes for the owners to arrive and let us in – water, wc emptying, and grey waste facilities – we were the only occupants….  Services completed, fed (no flying soup), Marsala’d, we surrendered to ‘somno vinoque’ – (ask your Latin teacher) at about 11:00 pm…. Did we dream of soup ? 


289 – Wednesday 3rd February 2016:  Gallee Pollee

7 days successive running for K (a new record) and I managed a couple of KMs also.  A sort of jobs morning – mostly K clothes washing – I did some bike maintenance and generally tried to look useful…

Lunched in the van on landed soup – thankfully in our bowls this time – I really don’t like eating soup off the floor…  We biked to town.  K navigated – with MiMi – Madge’s daughter from MapsMe (on a phone as against the iPad) – complicated… If Madge and Brad got married and had a child – suggested names on a postcard please -addressed to – James and Katherine c/o Europe somewhere…..

Now our redoubtable Brad SatNav insists on calling this town “Gallee Pollee”.  Gallipoli is pleasant but not outstanding – the wine was ! We stopped for a glass (or two) before recycling ourselves back to base…   Gallipoli reminded us of Ortygia in Siracusa … access via a bridge and sea on 3 sides – historical centre with narrow streets.

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Castello at the bridge entrance to Gallee Pollee  … and the new town, complete with a sky scraper … first we’ve seen in a long while.

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The garage is smarter (and cleaner) than Chardonnay.  We don’t have a chandelier .. only the knicker one for drying ones’ smalls!

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Now why would you decorate a planter with plastic bottles?

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Delicious … and only EUR 3 per glass 🙂

Another flying incident … K ‘dropped’ the 5ltr red wine flagon and it spurted red wine up out of its spout.  Upholstery and carpets now a cacophony of red and orange (the soup was carrot!).