Thursday, July 08, 2010

The cat goes to class

Sometimes things don't start quite as you thought they might. This was one of those times. We arrived at the Anzak House hostel in Canakkale at 1:30, and being suddenly wide awake went off exploring for a bit. Returning to our room Mark got a message that the girl who had taken Greta (the cat) just the day before was freaked out by her and she was no longer willing to keep her. She was our second person to take Greta, as the original person fell through at the last minute. But at half past two in the morning there was nothing to do.

After a restless night, Mark got another message saying that a friend of a friend could take Greta for three weeks, solving the problem for now. We took the noon tour of Galipoli. As Mark is Australian, Galipoli is sort of a pilgramage site. For those of you who are American, and therefore didn't learn about this in school, Galipoli is a peninsula which is at the entrance to the one sea route between the Mediteranean sea and the Black sea. During WWI it was therefore a very strategic point. Brits, French, Australians and New Zealanders attempted to control the penninsula for 8 months before escaping from the Turks. The tour took us accross the dardeneles (the first bit of the waterway) to a resturant with a horrible lunch. Poor people on organized tours never eating good Turkish food! Our tour guide was great though and the bus had airconditioning. We went to the small museum, Anzak cove, where the force originally landed, lots of cemetaries and monuments for various countries, and even got to walk around in the trenches. Although I don't usually like tours there was no way to get to all the sites by public transport, and the guide had lots of stories, and put the places in context instead of it being just another monument.

We had a lovely supper, odd ice cream, and a good walk before sleeping. The next morning, however, we were awoken by beeping - the next place for the cat had fallen through. We were running out of options. We could leave her with a vet for 6 weeks, but she would be in a cage the whole time and crazy by the end. Tramatized by various houses, putting her with another friend wasn't really an option even if we could have thought of someone. Then there were the future problems of what to do with her when we continue to travel, and the torture of the 10 hour flight to america. So we decided to take Greta to her brothers - to be a very scholarly cat at Bogazici University. But I didn't want to let someone else take her. Which is how we found ourselves on an 11am bus back to Istanbul. Arriving at Istanbul at half past five we did a mad dash to galata, picked up a freaked out cat and took her to the university. When we got there we saw Chaucer sitting on a step, and a few minutes later, Hendrix. Both looked happy and healthy, and both remembered us. No longer feeling worried about Greta, and knowing this was the right thing for her, we said our goodbyes and dashed back to the bus station for a night bus to Ayvalik. We arrived at 7am to start the holiday again.

Since then everything has been lovely. We set up our tent in a foresty bit of the town overlooking a bay of the Agean sea, went swimming twice, and visited an island and had amazing seafood. We also went on a long search to find methylated spirits for the camp stove (which we found) and a sleeping pad for me (which we still haven't). It was a bit frusterating, because for the first time in a while I found myself not able to explain what I wanted in Turkish. But in the end we got the idea accross.

Today we took a day trip to Bergama (formerly Pergamom) to visit the amazing acropolis and red basilica. The red basilica in particular is amazing! It was so big that insead of converting it into a church they just built the church inside it. Amazing to think that those towering walls have been standing for over 2,000 years.

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