We had visited the Gallipoli Peninsula (site of horrific WW I battles) as part of a 3-week tour of Turkey in 1994 but wanted to visit again and get a more in-depth tour. Our hotel in Canakkale offered a tour saying we would join a tour from Istanbul. They explained all that was included and put us on the ferry at 10:45 the next morning. We were met in Eceabet, by a man who we thought would be our guide. However, he only walked us to a restaurant where we proceeded to wait for 90 minutes for the small tourist van which was coming from Istanbul with our guide, driver, and four other tourists. The group from Istanbul was exhausted when they arrived, having left between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. We had lunch and then set out (after 1:00 PM) for the battlefields and memorials on the more northern part of the peninsula that, for the most part, commemorate the Australians and New Zealanders. The guide mentioned a DVD he had shown on the long van drive as background; we had not had a chance to see that DVD. We visited 10 sites, some of which were memorials and some which were cemeteries as well. The guide's explanations became shorter the closer we got to 4:00 PM because he was determined that we would be on the 4:00 PM ferry to Canakkale. When the tour was described, the hotel rep said there were two areas to visit: the northern area and the southern area which is more geared to Turkish memorials but is also the site of English and French cemeteries. We understood that our tour would include both those areas and when it became apparent we were on our way to the ferry and would not see any of the southern areas, we questioned the guide. He said those areas were never on tours except for Turkish visitors. We were very upset about that and we were also upset that our tour did not include a visit to either of the information centers/museums that were described in our travel guide. As with most tours, the quality of the tour is dependent on the quality of the guide. Our guide was only interested in the four customers he had brought from Istanbul because he was guiding them on a week-long tour of western Turkey. We had read about Gallipoli and he also gave some incorrect information. We complained to the hotel because we did not feel we had gotten the tour we had been sold and they finally did return a portion of the cost of the tour to us. We were satisfied with the resolution the hotel made but we are disappointed that we still have not seen all the important sites of Gallipoli. If you want to see the Gallipoli Peninsula, we recommend you join a local tour and not one that is coming from Istanbul. Or, as we plan to do the next time, rent a car and drive yourself; there are some good maps and guidebooks available and with the high price of the tours, renting a car is no more expensive than paying for two or more persons to take the tour. Our guide book said one of the museums charged an entrance fee; none of the sites we visited did. We recommend you set aside a full day for touring the Gallipoli peninsula.
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