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The winds bring wealth to Troy

May 16,2012

I was booked at the Kervansaray, a hotel that spelt old world charm & hospitality. It is nicely located near the clock tower &  Fountain Square, less than 100 meters away from the bustling life of the jetty & promenade. It is a beautiful heritage property once owned by Abdurrahim Efendi a member of the Turkish aristocracy & judge in Canakkale. It remained a family property for 3 generations until it was renovated & converted into a hotel some years ago. I had a room (no: 205 / 45 euro) in the heritage wing but alas it overlooked a side street . The rooms all had ornate mirrors & polished parquet flooring & ceiling. The bannister & the stairs going down to the main lobby, likewise well kept & maintained. The door knobs/ bolts etc. a shiny brass belonging to another era. Altogether the wood, mirror, brass combo giving a nice warm feeling. A modern annex has been added to the main building with a garden separating the two wings but the character of the place remains unchanged. Everyday breakfast is served in the annex & its rather a good spread with an array of breads & cold cuts along with the regular eggs, fruit, juice & jam. Best of all most of the staff speak English. They are good at their job & attend to matters promptly. A minor plumbing problem was immediately resolved. My trip to Troy fixed in an instant. There were maps available at the reception. Also the girl manning it had a lot of information that she shared willingly & with a smile. There was free Internet & Wi-Fi, a bar, library & lobby. Would certainly recommend the place. Highly recommended one & all.

If stones could speakTrojan horse replica

The Troy tour at 70 TL takes 3 hours. It includes AC transport, hotel pick up & drop along with the services of a qualified guide.  There were 3 other persons that day – Australians from Adelaide – as we drove the 30 odd kms from Canakkale to Troy accompanied by Mustafa our guide. He was distinguished, well spoken but looked a trifle bored. The result perhaps of our being such a tiny group. The one-hour drive past low hills & the Dardanelles is beautiful. Much like most of the Turkish countryside. It is a lovely day too, as we disembark to begin the walking tour of the ruins. The archaeological sites of the ancient city, Troy 1 – 1X are still being excavated. One wonders  what they will finally yield. For the moment there is just a replica of the famous Trojan horse, the ruins of the sacrificial altar, the senate building, the concert hall, sundry artifacts, mostly pottery & terracota from early times. And of course the spectacular old stonewalls dating back to 3700 BC. The impregnable defences of ancient Troy. A marvel to behold. If only the stones would speak ! This alone made the entire trip worthwhile, for there are hardly enough ‘remains’ to be seen. But like I said the excavation is still on. Who knows what it will reveal.

The legend of Troy has always held a strange fascination. Hence this visit at the expense of other more popular tourist destinations.  The excavated sites were not exciting enough, a huge disappointment no doubt.

And the sea, in the far distance would surely have been closer in Homeric times, one thought.

Yet it was strangely moving to be standing on the very ground where the brave & noble Hector fought legendary Achilles who had his body dragged in full view of aged Priam, lovely Andromache, beauteous Helen, Paris, & the rest.

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Incredible Turkiye

Ayasofya  Hamam Istanbul Turkey


Tel no: 0212 5173535


I am visiting a hamam today.One of the  major attractions on my ‘To do List.’ I almost walked into one both at Canakkale & at Eceabat but somehow they  did not seem inviting enough. This is also my last day in Istanbul. After much looking around  I have decided on the Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamami. It is housed in a wing of the Ayasofya complex & being a part of  the historic building  has the same beautiful architecture. This hamam was built during the Ottoman period – in 1556. It has lately been acquired & renovated by a business house that appears to fully comprehend the money that could be made off such a venture. From the outside it has traditional thick stone walls topped by a cupola. I was warned about the cost but decided to check it out never the less.

I  wear the plastic shoe covers placed at the entrance & walk inside. The ambience is fairy like & ethereal. White unstained marble floors & slabs. Snow white walls reaching up to  the  domed ceiling with natural light flitting in from the skies. There is soft music, a mild fragrance & Turkish girls in the sheerest of sheers. I have to take an appointment as the staff is busy attending to a wedding party. This has long been a Turkish cultural tradition. Matrons would visit the place with daughters in tow hoping to fix a match.

This is what I love about Turkey.This peculiar mix of East & West.

I opt for a ‘Pir i Pak’ ( full cleaning) which is essentially a traditional body scrub along with a bubble wash massage. It will be 70 euros/ 35 minutes – thank you. I am given a pestamal – a traditional silk bath wrap & am led to a steaming hamam that has a golden plated Ottoman style bath bowl. The attendant brings along a wooden comb, a scrubber especial to the skin type, special olive oil soap, shampoo, conditioner & body lotion. Clothes removed & placed inside a locker that has an ornate  filigree  carved wooden screen I am quite ready to step into the bath. The pores – quite literally – open up after the scrub. The amount of skin dirt  scrubbed off so gently & diligently is unbelievable. You are led by the hand & made to lie on a hot white marble slab.This is for the bubble bath – the billowing bubble bag merely grazing you like a feather. Hair shampooed & conditioned. Massage complete, the lady walks you through a maze of marbled corridors into an immense room that has glazed glass, Turkish rugs, lamps & Ottoman era artifacts. Everything beautiful & minimal. Seated comfortably you are handed a glass of fruit sherbet & asked to relax & enjoy as long as you wish

An incredible experience indeed