Turkey 31: Troy

One of my a South Park episodes of all times is the Casa Bonita episode.  In it, Cartman scams his way into a popular Mexican-themed restaurant (Casa Bonita) by convincing Butters to hide in a bomb shelter, only to get busted at the end.  He’s forced to run through Casa Bonita, experiencing all of the sites as quickly as possible, before being arrested by the police.  It’s hard to do the voice justice, but if you can hear Cartman going “Casa Boniiittaaa!” or “Oooo, Black Bart’s cave!  Scaryyyyyyyy!”, it makes some sense.  Click here if you’d like to watch the episode for context.

Anyway, I’ve appropriated the Casa Bonita example for three distinct travel experiences.

  1. When you’re confronted by something that is supposed to be scary, but ends up being kind of lame, eliciting a sarcastic “scary”.  Think bad manequins in a torture chamber that looks more lame than scary.
  2. Going to any amusement park when you travel.  When we went to Aqua Fantasy, there was a lot of Casa Bonita-speak.
  3. Having to rush through a place in order to see everything because you’re under time restraints.

Today was the third.

See, in spite of what the guy at the hotel said, there was no 8:30 dolmus to Troy.  There was a 7:30, and there was a 9:30, but no 8:30.

Troy is about 35 km outside of Canakkale, and takes just about as many minutes to get there, if not a few more.  Dolmuses leave Troy on the hour.

Check out at the hotel was noon.

So, 9:30 dolmus, arrive at Troy 10:10, walk the road to the site (little less than ten minutes), see the site, walk back down the road for the 11:00 am dolmus, return to Cannakale, check out.

Black Bart’s cave.  Scary.

Now, the one thing I’ve always heard, read and have been told about Troy is “Don’t expect much.”  While it’s impressive to think about a site that has had ten cities built on top of one another and that was the setting for one of the most epic literary tales of our time, Troy was the least impressive of all of the ruins I’ve seen in Turkey.  That being said, the 40 or so minutes I had at a the site was actually more than enough time.  I had to rush a bit but, really, that just meant skimming over the information plaques, which contained details about Troy that I learned from my Ancient Civilizations class in high school.  I was back in the parking lot and waiting for the dolmus with a few minutes to spare.

One interesting thing about the parking lot was the souvenir stands.  See, in 1975, the Turkish government built a Trojan Horse for the site and planted it outside of the ruins.  When promoting Troy in their tourism bureaus, that horse is the picture that everybody sees.  In 2004, the horse from the movie “Troy” was donated to the city of Canakkale.  So, when you get to the souvenir stands outside of the entrance, there are two types of horse. 

So there’s that.

If you’re not a major archeology buff, or if you’ve never read the Iliad, then Troy is easily skipable.  I even considered missing it, but then I figured I’d actually regret not seeing something that had fascinated me since high school.  I guess most childhood stories don’t match up to the adult reality, and that definitely applies to Troy.

Might actually have to see the Brad Pitt movie, just to get a better sense of it.  Sure it’s totally historically accurate.

Anyway, the Grand Hotel Anzac was nice enough to extend my checkout by 30 minutes so I could shower and not be a sweat gross mess. 

Currently typing this out on a Truva Turizm bus (love bus wifi!) on my way to Bergama.  THAT is going to be a place for some ruins!

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