The boys at Çannakale almost forgot to charge me for the Gallipoli tour but after chasing me down the road I ended up doubling back and staying at their hostel anyway. I got a 12 bed dorm all to myself. I was absolutely burst and was so grateful for the late 12 noon checkout the next morning, I reluctantly got out of bed at 10 to 12. I'd foolishly left my specs on the night bus and managed to establish with help from the boy at the hostel that thankfully they still had them on the bus and would be arriving back in Çannakale at half 1 that afternoon. Unfortunately the driver didnt get what I was on about and we had a great game of charades before he finally sussed no, I did not want to get back on his bus. I finally got the specs amidst much hilarity when the concierge boy turned up, nearly walking away with the wrong pair to start with, not the only one obviously. As it was, I got on another bus instead.
First though I had a wander in search of the castle and adjacent Naval Museum (sods law I had landed on the one day they were shut) but you could still get around the grounds which were lined with old mines, torpedos, torpedo launchers and guns. Some of the guns were as long as a bus. Pride of place though was given to the Nusrat, a small Turkish minelayer which had seen action here during World War I and helped seal their now celebrated Naval Victory Day on 18th March 1915. Believing the Dardanelles to have been cleared of mines, Allied naval forces entered the straights that day in force only to encounter mines rapidly relain overnight by the Nusrat in the nick of time. They took a pounding from the shore batteries too and lost 3 battleships and 3 smaller vessels along with many lives. A large motif of the date now adorns one of the overlooking hillsides in testimony. The tiny Nusrat had shown that the Dardanelles could not be forced by naval power and the stage was set for the Gallipoli campaign which commenced the following month.
I got on a bus for Edirne which fortunately at the last moment I realised was already on the ferry, and so I crossed the water one more time, thankfully now mine free! We had to stand off for a while mid-channel in order to make way for big ships, it was like trying to cross a maritime motorway which is exactly what it is. The ferry landed at Eceabat and headed up the northern shore for Gelibolu, the town whose name had been adopted for the whole peninsula and thus been immortalised. Large signs beckoned you to stay at the most alluring Hotel Kum, quite an invitation, and I was back in Europe which kind of smacked of going in the wrong direction. The peninsula narrowed further on, to the point where you could just about discern water on both sides. It was also at its flattest here and a military bunker had been strategically positioned in the centre facing down the arm towards the site of the alled invasion. It was probably World War II era however and hence never saw action. A small village huddled around a cove could have been Buckie or Eyemouth in the twilight and then a great sandy bay opened out to the north. The rural farming landscape had turned to thick forest as I stared out west towards Greece in the last of the light. The Greeks and Turks had a long history of clashes and I reckoned it wasn't entirely unintentional that the border region had been left so empty and impenetrable.