John and I will have a couple of weeks in an apartment in Kabatas in Istanbul, with Helen’s brother Phil joining us for a week or so of serious cultural and Anthony Bourdain-style consumption. Janet will join us in late June.
Then we’ll head down to the Gallipoli Peninsula for a few days. Bill Sellars, an Australian journalist who lives in Turkey and who has done a lot of work on Australian POWs in Turkey, has offered to show us the Gallipoli battlefields and point out the places where the two soldiers served and where Maurice was captured.
For the second part of the journey marked in yellow on the map below, we’ll pick up a car and driver. We’ll take a few days to visit the acropolis of Pergamum, Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis, and on to Pamukkale with its magnificent white calcium terraces and the ancient city of Hierapolis. From Pamukkale we head to the city of Afyonkarahisar (Afyon). This apparently translates as the Black Fortress of Opium. Our interest however is that this was the clearing and distribution centre for all other Turkish POW camps during the First World War.
From here we hope to catch the Toros Ekspresi train which will take us across to the Taurus Mountains, and through the little villages of Belemedik and Hacikiri where the POW camps were located. The train will also travel through the tunnels dug by the prisoners and over the spectacular Varda Bridge (recently featured in the opening sequence of the James Bond film Skyfall and as the front header on this blog).
We’ll take a day in Adana and then drive back up to Hacikiri and Belemedik. After exploring this remote area and whatever remains of the POW camps, we’ll drive to the Fairy Chimneys in Coppadocia. After a few days here we’ll take a plane (red line) back to Istanbul, and home.
Here is a rough version of our proposed route on Google maps.