Published: April 23rd 2007April 23rd 2007
Julie and Sarah at Gallipoli
This was the day before Anzac Day, in preparation for the long night ahead.
ANZAC DAY 23/04/07 to 25/04/07
After arriving at Istanbul airport rather late on the 23rd, it was straight to the hotel to be ready for the tour in the morning. However as usual, something had to go wrong. Julie decided to play electrician with a lamp which would not work. Let’s just say there was a bright spark, and then darkness in our hotel room. After about an hour of stuffing around, we finally got a new room and made it to bed.
The morning of the tour started off with a traditional Turkish breakfast at the hotel. This consisted of olives, feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, bread, circle meat, and a hard boiled egg. This we would learn would become out breakfast for the next 12 days.
The tour kicked off at 7am and we joined our group of 44 others and began our trip to Gallipoli. We visited the War Museum at Lone Pine and also had a chance to take a look at Lone Pine Memorial before the ceremonies on Anzac Day. There seemed to be tour busses everywhere, in fact 162 large coaches, so you can just imagine how many people had made the
pilgrimage. Surprisingly, the majority of the crowd were quite young.
At 5pm on the 24th, Sarah, Kelly, and Julie set up camp at North Beach which is where the dawn service would be held. We were lucky and arrived just in time, as good positions were quickly running out. The weather was cold, but at least it didn’t rain. Security was tight at the ceremonies, which was a comfort.
During the night, documentaries were played on the big screen and there was entertainment throughout the night. After minimal sleep, the dawn service began at 5:30am. Words cannot really describe the emotion of the service. It was surreal to be on the beach where the diggers landed 92 years earlier. The terrain of Gallipoli gave us all a new appreciation. Although the pictures may make it look green, the foliage was extremely tough, dense and prickly. The slopes were steep, and the water freezing. Just to think the diggers had to jump from the boats and wade through the water just to be slaughtered on the beach. The most emotional part of the service was the Australian National Anthem. Where Sarah and Julie usually belt this out at full
ball, we were both quite choked up and couldn’t seem to get the words out.
After the dawn service finished, we trekked about 3km uphill to Lone Pine Memorial for the Australian service. We made it there and had a quick nap before it started. This service was purely amazing. The speeches made by the honourable speakers were fantastic. Brendon Nelson (Australian Minister of Defence) made an incredibly moving speech. He invited all the veterans to stand up and be recognised which was very moving.
It was then onto Chunuk Bair for the New Zealand Service, which was a further 3km trek uphill. On the way we passed the Turkish service. It is amazing the friendship that exists between the Turkish and the Anzacs, now and even during and after the war. Many stories were told of respect between the Allies and Turkish during battles.
After all the services were finished, we headed for our hotel. Our Turkish tour guide, ‘Crunchie’, had no sense of time or distance. He told us “just another 10 minutes, just another 10 minutes”. After 1 and a half hours later, tempers were running high after no sleep, but we finally made
it to our hotel and crashed.
There are more photos below