To get to Gallipoli we were taking the bus; to take the bus we needed to get to the main bus station servicing destinations outside the city. The day before I learned that this was not walking distance. There was a tram line, but we would need to change and having seen how crammed the trams were, and with our bags, it sounded like public transport hell.
So, taxi it was. After another hotel breakfast we checked out and waited. In typical Istanbul traffic fashion, the taxi that arrived was then hemmed in between a bus and a couple of trucks so some manoeuvring was necessary before we could go anywhere.
Otogar Esenler was further out than I realised – the taxi ride must’ve lasted about half an hour. (No, not really walking distance.) While dad snapped photos out the window, I was wondering if we weren’t just going on a joy ride and worrying a little about what the fare would be.
We did drive past part of the massive old Constantinople city wall though, which was amazing to see. Big and long.
With some relief we made it to the bus station, having to go through a ticket gate which whacked another 5TL onto the price – 50TL in total thank you. Oh well at least we were there.
The otogar was a big centre of maybe 50 bus companies and there was only one which had regular hourly departures to where we wanted to go. Thank gawd I had worked out with a guy at the hotel which company this was. We went there and bought two tickets to Eceabat (Eh-chah-bat) at 45TL each. Due to magic pixies at work in the universe, the next bus was getting ready to depart so on we hopped and found our allocated seats.
I’d heard the buses were comfortable and this was the case, big Mercedes coaches with not-too-bad legroom. It was a five hour journey and I wanted dad to be reasonably comfortable. They provided refreshments which was a nice bonus.
Time ticked by ok. I was keen to see the landscape and managed this in and around tiredness and the lingering headache. With the often bumpy road it was difficult to sleep anyway.
The bus destination was Canakkale, the last stretch of a journey requiring a ferry ride across the Dardanelles from the village of Eceabat. But Eceabat was as far as dad and I would go.
I left dad in charge of bags while I scoped out ATM, snacks (which would have to do us for dinner), and taxi.
We trudged over toward where I’d seen taxies and gave a driver heading toward us a bit of a raised-eyebrow-nod which I hoped conveyed yes we wouldn’t mind a lift thanks. Expecting some basic stilted communication we were instead greeted with “hello, can I help you?” You certainly can. After explaining where we wanted to go he said oh yes the proprietor was his friend. The ride was about 10 minutes and we got some local information on the way. Possibly we paid for this knowledge as the fare at 40TL was almost as much as the longer ride that morning. Ah well.
We arrived in the village of Kocadere, home to the Gallipoli Houses accommodation. I had found this place while conducting research and it sounded great, not to mention based on the back door of the battlefields.
And it exceeded my expectations – after the journey it had been to get there it was like finding an oasis. A really well thought out site with nicely presented units and fantastic outlook to the third ridge of the battlefields where the Anzacs were largely based. And wifi!! In fact I was buzzing so much about everything it was a few hours before I realised there was no television. Which was fine by me – dad, not so sure!
I had been excited to see from the bus wild poppies growing on the sides of the road. And the final perfect touch with the accommodation were its own poppy bushes.
I got settled in and went to investigate the village in the warm afternoon sun.