I am somebody who loves her history.
I love discovering ‘old’ tidbits which make the world today make a bit more sense, and appreciating remnants which have withstood time. However, I’m also someone who doesn’t have a particularly good sense of imagination. This is one of the principal reasons why I don’t like cartoons or anything that isn’t real. (I always say, with the exception of Babe, Harry Potter and Shrek.)
In terms of history, this means my favourite era is the last hundred or so years. There’s a heap of primary sources, debate and general interest. The further back you go, though, my interest slowly declines. I love the little quirky stories in history, and they’re more plentiful the later in time you get. I’m just not very good at imagining things. I looked at the Roman Forum, and yes I appreciated it, but after a few hours I gave up trying to picture the place as more than just a series of rock piles. Ditto Athens’ Pantheon and the Temples of Angkor. Sure, I liked the sites, but I just couldn’t embrace my inner historian to love them even more.
So, with all of this in mind, we set off to see the ancient city of Troy. My dad had been obsessed with the intriguing ‘lost’ city since as long as I can remember, so, seeing that it wasn’t far from Gallipoli and the bustling little city of Cannakale, we booked ourselves a guided tour of the place.
The first thing you see when you get to the archaeological site is a giant horse. It’s a 1970s construction made out of wood – I call it a construction, not a reconstruction, as historians are divided as to whether or not the famous Trojan Horse actually existed, let alone if it performed the role we today use as a term to describe a slightly dodgy gift.
Nevertheless, we joined the throngs of Chinese tourists and climbed all over it, as if it was just part of a neighbourhood playground. This was the start and end of the extent I knew about Troy. An old city, and a horse.
Now, if I was by myself and visiting Troy, I’d probably just do a lap and try desperately to picture things as they were one day. But, with a guide this was different. Even though I’m a tour guide myself I hardly ever invest in one as I’m a travel snob through and through. However, they can make all the difference. This time, we were pointed out evidence of the different Troys (the city was rebuilt at least nine times) such as different building materials and foundations. There’s even an amphitheatre in pretty good shape from Roman times, a reminder that history can certainly overlap.