Forks in the Road? (page 2) - CycleBlaze

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Forks in the Road? (page 2)

John SaxbyTo Graham Smith

Glad your question is turning up some helpful comments, Graham, and if the way forward is lightened/illuminated by Yogi's bons mots, so much the better.

On the same subject of journeys leading to unexpected changes:  This doesn't involve a bicycle, but the motive force was an old Fiat 500, which isn't far removed from pedal power. You may know (of) Pete FitzSimons' splendid book, Gallipoli?  His preface places the genesis of the book in his journey (by rental Fiat) from Oxford to the battlefields in the early 1980s. He gives a touching account of the welcome he received from four Turkish workers who were maintaining the sites; a welcome which in turn opened the door to his own reflection on and reconstruction of the history he had been taught. It's a brave and candid personal story. (I came to know about the book through some fortunate serendipity:  Marcia, Meg and I took a family holiday in Turkey in 2014, to celebrate Marcia and my recent retirements, and we met four Australians on our journey. They told us of Fitz' book, and I bought it on our trip to the Gold Coast the following year.)

Cheers,  J.

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5 days ago
Graham SmithTo John Saxby

John there you go again. Another excellent memory prompt via the Fitzy story. In April 1979 my wife and I cycled to Gallipoli from Istanbul. We arrived across the strait by ferry from Cannakale on ANZAC Day eve. It was during Ramadhan. We cycled toward the ANZAC Day beaches and met a small group of Turkish soldiers on duty guarding the entrance to the area which is conserved now as a national park. The soldiers invited us to have tea and biscuits, even though they themselves couldn’t partake in daylight hours which was a fasting time. 

As we drank tea and chatted with the friendly soldiers they suggested we camp near them rather than continue to the beach area. The reason? Too many young Australian and New Zealanders (mostly yachties) would be drunk and aggro, and there had been reports of thieving and punch ups near the main camping areas closer to the landing beaches.

So we did camp with the Turkish soldiers, woke before dawn and rode to the ANZAC Day dawn service which was incredibly moving. But indeed there were many drunk, objectionable, young Australians on site. Shameful behaviour, including wrapping themselves in the Oz flag. It was the first time I’d seen that type of disrespectful behaviour on ANZAC Day. 

So I have both fond and not so fond memories of ANZAC Day. And I bought Fitz’s book for my dad, but I haven’t read it yet.

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5 days ago
John SaxbyTo Graham Smith

Oh, my.  What. A. Coincidence.  Do read Fitz' book, or at the very least his Preface, bef you give it to your dad.  I have to believe that you, Jane, and Fitz could share some poignant memories...

I'd welcome hearing your thoughts on Fitz' book--but perhaps we shd do that via personal email, otherwise the link to cycle-touring could get a bit tenuous, and stray onto the Forbidden Terrain of politics. Good thing you guys visited Gallipoli by bike, tho', if only for the sake of this thread. ;-)   ('Course, how were you to know?) 

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5 days ago