Chasing Rainbows, RTW on a H.A.T.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

    Joined:
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    We've been off the air and busy catching up with a fellow RTW traveller on an Africa Twin. Bulent from Bursa here in Turkey set off last year heading in the opposite direction to us. It's fair to say that Bulent has had his fair share of bad luck. There is no easy way to say this, but he has broken his left leg in the same spot 5 times. Yes FIVE times just above the ankle. First climbing the last icy slope up to the highest road in the world, the Khardungla pass in India. Fortunately it wasn't icy for us. The last in Indonesia, so for 4 months he has been home here in Bursa trying to get his leg mended properly with plates, screws, physio and lots of rest. He flys in 3 weeks back out to Java to continue his quest. By mid November he hopes to be in Australia for 3 to 4 months after which it will be across the ditch to NZ. If anyone from either of these two countries can offer a little help, bed maybe, beer or just a warm welcome. PM me a and I'll pass it onto Bulent.

    Graeme, Tamer, Bulent's eldest son, Katrina & Bulent. Safe travels my friend.
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    Our first ferry crossing for a very long time, hmm that would have to be Java to Borneo.
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    There is still a bit of child in the old girl yet.
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    Crossing the waters to some sacred land.
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  2. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi 42

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    Get him to PM me closer to the time Graeme
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  3. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Will do MrKiwi he's not a user of Advrider, but I'll pass the message on, thank you.
  4. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi 42

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    I'll PM you my email address
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  5. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    I thought this might be worth sharing. Fifty thousand kilometres clocked up just outside of Assos, Turkey. If someone had said that it would take more than 50k klms to get from home to Greece twelve months ago I would have laughed, but somehow we have managed to do that. How many more klm's to be done?
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  6. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    On August 4th 1914 Australia, along with England and many of her allies declared war on Germany and there began the war to end all wars, WW1. That name immediately gives away the lie to the above statement. For WW2 would be a few short decades away, but I digress.

    Eight and a half months later, an armada of British, French, Australian, New Zealand & Indian forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula, in the early hours of the 25th April 1915. Why Turkey you may ask? Well, obviously Turkey was allied with Germany. The sea passage from the Mediterranean to the Black seas offered an ice free resupply route to Russia whom England was very keen to have play an active part on the allies side and there was a influential band of military & political leaders in England that strongly believed that opening up a second eastern front would help shorten the war. It should be noted that not all were in favour though. One that was, was a young ambitious man, lord of the admiralty in fact, Winston Churchill. The Admiralty of course being the British naval forces, far and away the most powerful in the world at the time. Although it must be said the Germans also had an impressive naval fleet.

    But prior to the actions of April 25th 1915, the British navy sent some capital ships into the Dardanelles', that is the narrow strait of water connecting the Mediterranean and Black seas, thinking that this would be enough to secure this important channel. How wrong they were, the channel was mined and the narrow confines severely restricted these ships movements. So that would constitute disaster No1 in the Turkish/Gallipoli campaign. Many more would follow.

    Of course this action only reinforced the already widely held belief by the Turks and Germans that the Allies had ambitions on the Dardanelles'. So what was already a heavily fortified landscape became even more so after this disastrous and aborted attempt to take the narrow straits and knock Turkey out of the war.

    So it was with that back drop that the troops came ashore on the morning of the 25th April. A rough estimate of Allied troops involved in the entire 8 month campaign were something like 480000, 250000 dead or wounded. For the most part I'll concentrate on the Australian and New Zealand contribution. Australia contributed a total of 60000 troops, 26000 were wounded and 7594 died during the campaign and New Zealand 18000 troops committed, 7571 wounded and 2431 killed. The cost was high, very high indeed.

    There were two beach heads established that morning. One near the tip of the peninsular at Cape Helles, predominately by the British, French and Indians, the other at Gaba Tepe, later to be renamed ANZAC cove in honour of those men that were the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps, this was further north and at the foot of some formidable hills and gully's. It was because of this difficult terrain that this area was relatively lightly defended, predominately by Turkish reservists. Some of those reservists were lead by a man known as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was under strict instructions not to do or act unless ordered to do so, by the German officers whom were mostly in command on the Gallipoli peninsula.

    So it was against strict orders that Ataturk repositioned his men when he could see the initial 36 row boats coming his way at about 4:30 am on the morning of April 25th. He deduced quite correctly, that whom ever had control of those craggy and difficult hills above Gaba Tempe, would have the upper hand on that fateful morning. Ataturk made it to those hill tops 7 minutes before the ANZACS. Many have speculated that those 7 mins possibly decided the outcome of the entire campaign. We will never know.

    Katrina and I were told this story in 1998 when we first visited here, by the retired Turkish submarine captain, Captain Ali. We were to discover that the good Captain Ali has only recently retired from taking countless tour groups around the Gallipoli peninsula. Heres a shameless grab of the net of Capt Ali.
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    Memorial at ANZAC cove, Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey.
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    This small handful of sand will return home with us and forever remain a part of Australia.
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    Every Australian child is taught the story of Simpson at school. Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick was a medic and stretcher barer in the early phase of the Gallipoli campaign. He was in fact from South Shields in county Durham in England. But had sailed out to Australia some years earlier. Now home sick for England he saw the war as a ticket back to his home, so enlisted in the Australian Army. Whilst stationed at Gallipoli and bringing the wounded in off the battle field he found and befriended a donkey. It was with this donkey he saved many mens lives, but sadly it was not to end well for Simpson, he would never made it home to South Shields.
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    The Gallipoli peninsula is littered with features, locations, sites and battlefields with memorable names. Johnson's Jolly, Baby 700, Shrapnel gully, The Sphinx, The Nek, Chunuk Bair amongst many. But some of the fiercest fighting was at Lone Pine. Here men from both Australia and Turkey were found dead wrapped in each others arms and it is here that you will find the Australian war memorial to the ill fated Gallipoli campaign.
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    If you have ever seen the movie "Gallipoli", then you would have seen a depiction of the 300 Australian light horseman sent to the deaths in 4 waves, across 80 metres of open ground facing Turkish machine gun fire. Extremely moving to be standing on this ground.
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    Left at The Nek.
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    The only place that I am aware of in the world that has the military monuments of two opposing nations on the same ground is at Chunuk Bair. Both the New Zealand and Turkish monuments can be found here. It is the highest ground on the Gallipoli peninsula and both sides held it at one time or another. It should be noted that some British were also present when the new Zealanders held it. Albeit, only for 2 nights.
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    Turkey ( Ataturk ) to the left, New Zealand to the right. Although it may not look it, I believe both are of equal hight.
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    A bronze of Ataturk who rose through the ranks and then by 1923 became the founder and first prime minister of modern Turkey.
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    To this day both Australia and Turkey have a fondness and deep mutual respect for each other. This empathy was of course founded in the trenches of Gallipoli. I can only assume that the same regard is given to New Zealand. Both countries see the campaign as forging their respective modern identities.

    The campaign was deemed hopeless by the British high command and a successful evacuation of all troops was carried out on December 20th 2015. When the ANZACS were repatriated to Alexandria, Egypt, where by chance my Pop, or Grand father was in training, like many other young Australian and New Zealanders in preparation to go into Gallipoli as reinforcement. Instead he and the more experienced Gallipoli men were placed on ships, sent to Marseille and to the meat grinder that was the Somme on the Western front. Where he endured and survived 2 1/2 years in the muddy trenches and battle fields of France and Belgium. Katrina and I will spend a good while there in 2018.
  7. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi 42

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    Brothers in arms then and still now. Very sobering.
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  8. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile

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    Playing with the hope to shorten a war is a dangerous thing. The use of chemical weapons in WW1 comes to my mind.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons_in_World_War_I

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  9. Balanda

    Balanda Been here awhile

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    An honourable account Graeme, well done.
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  10. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    The meal that gives you a smile. I'll have the one in the middle, yeah the one with a sheepish grin. Add some peas, carrots and few roast potatoes, with a little mint sauce. Oh and a good robust red to wash it down with.
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    One of the great pleasures when traveling to foreign lands is trying the different cuisines, but we passed on this one.
  11. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    By now most would know that Katrina and I are quite partial to a good ruin and it's ruins that you will find in abundance in this part of the world. Having left the Gallipoli peninsula it was short hop down to Assos. The city was established in pre Greek times, but then during the 4th century BC people from the nearby island of Lesbos came across and the city blossomed. Aristotle and Alexander the Great have both been here. In fact Aristotle was it's ruler for a period of time.

    To top it off the site was essentially devoid of tourists and locals alike, there was no entrance fee and we could roam to our little hearts content.
    The necropolis (cemetery)
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    Helmet hair or what?
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    Ok you students of Latin & Greek, what does this say?
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    Looking out across the Aegean to the Island of Lesbos.
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  12. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    This tourist and traveller caper is hard work. Having delved into the ruins of Assos it was down to the harbour for chai, nibbles and a little look see. What we found was a gem of a place and like the ruins, we had it pretty much all to ourselves. There were little cafes all along the water front with neatly layed out tables and practically no one else around. We are now about 3 weeks out of the busy summer season and the place is devoid of tourists.

    Come to Turkey, you won't be disappointed, I can assure you of that.
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  13. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi 42

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    We really enjoyed Turkey when there in 2015. Keen to go back
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  14. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    It's got it all MrKiwi good weather, great food, history and amazingly friendly & hospitable people. Ok the petrol could be a little cheaper. At 5:30 lire a litre, it is far and away the most expensive we've come across. Especially after Iran where they were practically giving the stuff away. Oh, 5:30 lire equates to about $1:50 US ouch!
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  15. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I think you have to pay to see the temple at the very top of the hill, approached through the small village streets.
    (I stayed at the Yildiz Hotel at Assos harbour once, very tranquil).
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  16. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Ahh Ok, we never got up to the temple, just walked around the Aegean perimeter. Possibly the best historical site we've seen anywhere is just down the road from here in Izmir. Efes, wow that place is amazing. We checked it out back in 98, but this time we will sail right on by. We need to be in Bodrum tomorrow, where we meet up with some people.
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  17. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    You're not the only one. I missed it too, on my first visit in '82. Returned on my motorbike in '07.
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  18. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    I'd be surprised if many knew what this outfit is used for, for the dapper young man of Turkey. Any guess's?
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  19. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Mate, watch out as circumcision parties are a rite of passage in Turkey... Truly enjoyed two years working in Istanbul (Turkey) during the late 80's ~ amazing city back in the days and hear all the time its the same fascinating city today...

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  20. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hahaha if they get hold of me, dress me up in one of these suits and give me the snip, there would be nothing left. :dirtdog
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