Today was spent on a bus and ferry from Edirne to the much larger city of Bursa, located on the southeastern shore of the Sea of Marmara in Asia Minor. I will have two more nights to exposit about the city, so I will leave the details for tomorrow’s post. Crossing the Dardanelles, however, was a climactic event for the day and probably the entire trip, as I was able to step foot in two continents in one day. Before embarking on the ferry, we had lunch in Gelibolu/Gallipoli, near the site of one of the most involved military campaigns of the First World War. The centennial anniversary of that event is arriving in April, though the tranquil olive groves and small seaside town betray little evidence of this contested spot’s bloodier history. After a few perfunctory stops for tea, including one where we encountered a group of Japanese tourists in a kitsch palace dedicated to the city of Troy, we arrived in Bursa. A short post-dinner walk through the central city yielded some spectacular views:
Notably, the city streets were teeming with cars and people despite the city having a staid and repressed reputation. True, there are few night clubs or bars in this conservative Muslim metropolis of 1.8 million, but the sight of the city from the citadel ramparts more than made up for the scarcity of all-night watering holes. Another highlight of the night was an interview with our tour guide, and I noted much of his account of how Turkey has changed––in his mind, mostly for the worse––and some of his biography. I plan to publish that as a separate, special post if possible, or integrate it into a later one. Right now my energy is quickly fading, so farewell! This has been a trying day, if one full of mild adventure and dramatic sights.