Staying in a Turkish village
We were staying in Kocadere, a small rural village in the Gallipoli National Park and on the doorstep of the WW1 battlefields. Before the war it had been the largest village on the peninsula; today apparently it is the smallest. Civilian evacuations before the battles and the later destruction of the village took their toll. I went walkabout to have a look.
The village has been rebuilt though it is a shadow of its former self.
A central paved area has appeared in recent years as part of a regional project I think to acknowledge important features of the Turkish war effort. In this village there had been a Turkish field hospital.
There wasn’t anyone else around until a couple of vehicles rattled in returning villagers who looked a bit grubby from a day in the crops. I continued, really just following my nose.
On the outskirts of the village I found a cemetery.
Later I learned that Turkey has snakes and one shouldn’t wander into bush. But at that time I was blissfully ignorant and walked along a sort of path through the low lying scrub for a closer look at some of the headstones.
A rustling noise began on the ground to my left. Not a good noise, I thought. I couldn’t help but investigate. Luckily it was a good kind of surprise.
Time to return to the hotel. So far I had seen evidence of cats, dogs, chooks and a rooster. The rooster was crowing throughout the afternoon. We were a tad concerned for the morning.
The nazar is an important symbol in Turkey to ward off the evil eye. You see it pretty much everywhere. Our rooms had these lamps.
Earlier on I had remembered that there were no eating places in the village and the hotel doesn’t offer dinner on a Saturday or Sunday. As it was Sunday we were in a slight pickle. In between the bus and taxi rides down in Eceabat, I found a corner store and grabbed a non-healthy array of snacks that would have to do us for dinner.
Just about all of Turkey’s population is Muslim. One of the features from Istanbul which presumably happens in all Turkish settlements is the call to prayer. This happens five times a day. Kocadere has a mosque and I heard the chants broadcast from the minaret at roughly 5.12pm, 8.47pm and 9.55pm. In Istanbul I heard them at 1.12pm, 5ish-pm and 9.47pm. The times change depending on the sun and signal the start of a window of time during which prayers should be made.
During the call to prayer, the dogs would start howling.
I watched the sun set over the ridge in front of the hotel. An early night seemed inevitable for dad in his room given the lack of distractions, though blog activities kept me up late in mine. We needed a good sleep for the long day ahead touring the battlefields.