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Published: April 23rd 2015
A change of pace was planned into the itinerary for today and was greatly appreciated. Breakfast was leisurely, as our departure for the ancient city of Troy was 10:00am. The half hour drive enabled us to see a different area of this lovely country. The sun shone brightly and warmed our spirits. There were moments of hilarity on the bus with wonderful banter between our guide, Okan, and historian, Peter. Peter (who reminds us of Wallace from ‘Wallace and Grommit fame) was with us for the experience of Troy. Okan recounted the history, mixing truth with legend in a delightful way. It was a fun and lighthearted journey.
The Trojan Horse towered above us. It’s a replica of course! I was looking at the horse and, when I turned around, whom should I see but my mother talking with Ray Martin! He is here to be the MC at Mat McLachlan’s private Dawn Service on one of the battlefield areas. There was laughter with Mum as she shared her media experiences with Ray.
This area is fascinating with all the different layers and eras of Troy being exposed. Wandering around the ruins was, in Mum’s
words, surreal and amazing.
From this ancient city we could see the Dardanelles and Cape Helles. The imposing memorial could be seen from across the waters. Breathtaking views again. This sees the end of the official touring.
Back at Canakkale, we now have leisure time until 2:00pm tomorrow. Mum and I strolled the waterfront of Canakkale. We were entertained by singing groups, children skipping rope, men holding bunches of balloons, face painting… today was a public holiday to celebrate Children’s Day. There certainly was a festive mood, helped by the glorious sunshine.
We took our time walking back to the hotel, stopping at various shops and stalls to supplement our provisions for ANZAC eve and day. Bananas, strawberries, cashews, Turkish delight…
Mum enjoyed a well earned afternoon nap! We are now preparing for what lies ahead. Food boxes will be provided. There are staggered times to leave the hotel. Okan was able organize our leaving time to be the latest possible - 3:00pm. Then, our bus joins the many others to cross on the ferry then drive to the drop off points. There will be many security checks. Mum and I will be transferred to a smaller bus at one of the checkpoints. This will take us to within 400 meters of the seated area designated for ‘assisted mobility’. The plan is to have us seated about 2:30am. We are well prepared! Thermals, hats, gloves, heat packs for hands, toes and back, emergency blankets (those silver things!), ponchos, water, food.
We have been designated seating area A2 at Lone Pine. Having visited Lone Pine, we could see the section – right in the middle. We feel so honoured to be able lay a wreath at this memorial. Very blessed.
We wait at Lone Pine until the New Zealand contingency conclude their ceremony at Chunuk Bair. We will then be transported to our bus and driven to Istanbul. Sunday 26 April is a planned rest day.
May the way you commemorate this ANZAC Day be incredibly special to you and your loved ones. We are all united by this spirit of ANZAC, not just from WW1 but from those subsequent wars. We will remember them. Forever grateful. The words written around Canakkale say it well – peace is possible.
Lest we forget
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