“So, how did you like Troy?” asked our guide.
We all answered politely in the affirmative but, truth be told, we would probably have been more impressed if we hadn’t been to Ephesus the day before.
Like Ephesus, Troy is an archeological site. But whereas Ephesus offers an impressive display of sculptures, gates and columns from the time the city was controlled by the Romans, Troy just offers the visitor a bunch of old walls, mainly of interest to archeology buffs, history enthusiasts, and fans of Homer and Virgil.
The walls represent the remains of as many as nine different cities said to have occupied this site over the centuries. (The kitschy-looking wooden horse, by the way, is located at the site’s main entrance. It was constructed in the 1970s to illustrate the most famous tale from the Trojan War, but doesn’t pretend to have any real historical significance. The tourists take pictures of themselves with the horse in the background, and then ask one another, “Did you see the Brad Pitt movie? Different horse, I understand.”)
To give the Viking people their due, they did not put Troy – and the nearby city of Canakkale – on our original itinerary. After Ephesus, we were supposed to spend two days in Istanbul, but that plan was scrapped after the suicide bombing on March 19. Troy was quickly substituted as an alternative destination. It might have been fun to wander around Canakkale and look for a restaurant with authentic Turkish cuisine, but it was rainy and miserable when we got there, and we just wanted to return to the ship.
This was the day when we repacked our suitcases. We put them outside our cabins by 10:00 PM and hoped they would be on the right shuttle bus when we were transferred from the ship to the airport in the morning. They were. These Viking people know what they’re doing. Earlier, they had invited us all to join them in the Atrium for a final toast marking the end of our journey.
After sailing overnight from Canakkale, the ship docked at Istanbul at 2:00 AM on Sunday and all we got to see of the city was what little we could view through the windows of the shuttle bus as we made our way along the darkened streets from the ship to the airport. The security at the Istanbul airport was very tight. We went through two layers of it before getting to the KLM check-in desk, and went through several more layers before getting to the gate. The flight left on time, arrived in Amsterdam a few minutes earlier than scheduled, and left us with a comfortable window of three hours before we had to connect with our flight to Calgary. The only disruption occurred in Amsterdam when a drunk passenger was intercepted by the cabin crew as he tried to take his seat aboard the plane. After failing to convince the drunk he would make for a distracting presence on the flight, the crew phoned for the airport police and had him ejected. I expect that will be a costly lesson for him.