We had encountered plenty of snow on our drive through Europe from the Netherlands to Turkey but once we crossed the border it was rain and more rain that we had to endure.
It poured all night and after a broken sleep due to the incessant drumming on our roof, we left our slippery and muddy parking spot just over the Turkish border in Edirne and found that we had spent the night very close to a historic Ottoman bridge that spans the River Tunca. The bridge has six arches, and was constructed between 1484-88.
We also drove past another Ottoman classic – the 16th-century Selimiye Mosque, which has a massive dome and four minarets and is very close to the nearby 15th-century Üç Şerefeli Mosque. The many minarets belonging to the two mosques dramatically filled the skyline as they came into view.
When we left Turkey just a month earlier everything was brown and shrivelled – there had been absolutely no rain for months! Literally a few weeks later and the land was transformed. The copious rain had turned everything to a vibrant shade of green!
At Gelibolu (also known as Gallipoli we found out later!) we boarded a small car ferry to cross the Dardanelles (Çanakkale Strait) that connect the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
This important narrow body of water forms part of the continental boundary between Asia and Europe and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey.
Things at the quayside were extremely chaotic. First we were waved onto a ferry that was about to leave and had scarcely any room left on it. We could see there we were definitely too long for the tiny space but obediently drove aboard.
Once on, we discovered that our assessment wasn’t wrong and had to reverse back off the boat and park off to the side of the traffic queue waiting for the next ferry! Fortunately, we were first on the next vessel which was loaded very soon after the previous ferry left.
As always, we thoroughly enjoyed being aboard a boat, even though the weather was pretty foul and the trip was really short!
Back on dry land again, we decided to make a small diversion to the ancient site of Troy – the setting for the Greek myths about the Trojan Wars and the powerful kingdom of the Heroic Age.
The approach to Troy is along a winding country lane and a few minutes before we arrived we came across a herd of sheep walking along the road in front of us. I love these typical country scenes in Turkey and never tire of watching the shepherds hurrying their charges along to make way for the traffic.
In the car park in Troy we saw a group of street dogs – ubiquitous everywhere in Turkey – helping themselves to food remnants in the nearby rubbish bin. These dogs are often part (or even full) Anatolian sheep dogs, a beautiful natured animal, protective to sheep and gentle to humans. The Turkish look after these dogs (and multitudes of cats too) by putting out food and water for them, come rain or shine. Of course, they love to forage too!
Fortunately there was a really nice camper stop just a few minutes down the road which we heard about when the owner came into the museum car park to tell us all about it.
It was another rainy day when we woke up the following day so we decided to visit the ultra modern museum and save the site for another time.
We walked down a ramp to enter the museum and at each side there were niches on the walls containing gravestones, large statues, scenes and mural-sized photographs from the various levels of the excavation in Troy.
In the interior of the museum a wide range of wonderful historical artefacts from Troy and some other nearby ancient sites were displayed.
There were so many fabulous objects to admire including gorgeous glassware, pottery and gold jewellery – we could have spent all day there but we had to keep heading for Didim Marina to prepare our catamaran for Christmas and the arrival of our daughter Hannah and son-in-law Pieter.
The weather didn’t lighten up at all and by mid-afternoon we were driving through massive puddles under stormy skies.
Driving along the seafront at one point we dodged both plumes of water from vehicles going the opposite way to us and waves breaking over the sea wall.
We spent the night outside a beachside camper park that said it was open when we looked on-line but which definitely wasn’t when we arrived!
The car park was very muddy and we had visions of getting bogged so we left early the next morning – thankfully with no problems.
As we made our way through the narrow streets of Bademli we came across pools of water stretching right across the width of the road. There were very few pedestrians braving the horrible weather but those that did were wading through the water in their gum boots.
The run off caused by all the rain could be seen from the waters edge way out to sea – an unpleasant brown stain tainting the normally bright blue water.
It was such a relief to be back in Didim Marina on our catamaran Sunday.
Our friends and near neighbours Jack and Jan had watched over her while we away and we came back to find everything absolutely fine – much to our relief (thanks guys!).
Christmas was approaching fast so after unpacking and settling in our first task was to put up our Christmas decorations – all ready for the festive celebrations!