Sunday, April 30, 2006

ANZAC - Turkey Trip - 3

Ok so day 3.....lots of driving, more driving, stop for lunch, more driving, a Gallipoli video, then hoorah....we are in Gallipoli. We arrived around dinner time, when we had our included BBQ dinner (not anything resembling a proper Australian BBQ) but it was food and we were starving.

We then grabbed our gear for the night, with another two girls - Larissa and Megan - and headed off for a short walk along the Gallipoli coast to Anzac cove (see pic). The actual site for the dawn service is on the North beach as Anzac cove is actually quite tiny. Despite the fact that it was only 8pm there were no spots left to park our sleeping bags for the night - the fanatics had the best grass spot, and were probably there at midday. There was plenty of spaces in the stands so we had our pick there, of course having no space to sleep became the problem. No matter I rugged up tight in my sleeping bag - it was freezing cold - along the bench behind us (under the seats - I think Larissa slept along those) as it was empty for a couple of hours after we got there. I got an hours nap, hummm, hard to sleep on wooden boards!! Mark, well he slept in his seat along with Megan and I later on - uncomfy yes but when your exhausted you just sleep.

That night that kept us entertained with an army band, short movies and inteviews every hour - no drinking or bands this year and even Andrew Denton was there doing a few live interviews. We also were kept updated on that night back in 1915, so we could picture the soliders and where they were as the night progressed into that fateful morning. Then at 5am it all began, and with the sky lighting up more every minute we were reminded again of how we came to be there and why we were there to remember. It's actually a very moving service and you feel that its a very important patriotic thing to be there and to remember what happened.

Following the service, its time to pack up and head on to Lone Pine for the Australian service. It's quite a nice walk, very steep but the views are amazing. The service itself was very similar to the dawn service, but with obviously an Australian focus. I had my photo taken with an Australian army officer, so I was pretty happy with that.

After the service we headed up to Chunuk Bair for the NZ service, we thought we'd missed it, but the road on the way up is so congested the special guests that go from service to service (the Turkish service is in between) hadn't made it there as yet either.

We still ended up sitting and resting on the cliffs overlooking the North beach, whilst watching a very large parade of Turkish boy scouts (Anzacs & boys scouts thus the congestion!!) visiting Gallipoli while we waited for our bus. Though it was in the bus convoy. There were hundreds of them and you could see the trail snaking all the way down the hill. Ours arrived eventually and we began our ride back to Istanbul.

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