It has been a very busy couple of days, and I am still adjusting to life as part of a tour group. It is a very different experience to going round Jordan with just a driver. For a start getting so many people on and off a bus every time is a major endeavour.
The tour started yesterday in Istanbul with a tour of the major sites (see photos below, with explanations) The only place we went I don’t really have a photo for was the spice market, also sometimes known as the Egyptian bazaar. They have lots of spices, as well as loads of other things to tempt the tourist. However, I didn’t buy spices because I checked ahead and I would have to declare them at customs when I re-entered Australia, and there was mixed advice on whether they would be confiscated or not.
Today, we left Istanbul and had a rather long journey west to the Gallipoli peninsula. We spent the afternoon touring sites from World War 1. I kind of have mixed feelings about that. We need to understand history, and learn from it, but in some ways it felt wrong to treat it as a tourist attraction. I suppose it depends on your tour guide and group though. Our guide gave a very balanced view and made sure the Turkish side of the story got across. I didn’t know that Turkey had tried to join the English, Russian and French alliance and been rebuffed or that so many more Turks died in the campaign than allied forces did. Maybe people travelling there might learn a little bit more about the depth and complexity of the issues rather than resorting to jingoism. The young Australian man I saw today climbing on a wall, waving the Australian flag behind him suggests maybe not.