Day 48 - Gallipoli


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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Gallipoli
August 18th 2015
Published: August 19th 2015
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Slept well in much cooler room, and even had a nice hot shower. Down to check out and leave a case behind as we are going to Gallipoli this morning for a 2 day tour. Breakfast is happening, we are due to be picked up by our guide at 0830. A Mercedes mini bus pulls up at the hotel and the porter says this is our taxi. Hmm, no English speaking guide so not too sure what is going on. He moves bus out of the way as anothe bus wants to get past, not much space out the front. Try to communicate but the driver doesn't have any English.

The driver is on the phone and next thing the bag is in the back. Still not sure what is going on when a guy comes running down the street with a bag in hand. He explains he is the guide and apologises for being late. I ask if this is the correct tour as it is meant to be a Mat McLachlan tour. He pulls out a piece of paper with our names on it so it looks legit. In we hop and off. The mulish speaking guy is a Turk who does Gallipoli tours all the time. Must be ok. He starts to give details of what we will be doing and if we have any specific requests. None so he explains how the trip will work. We have about 5 hours in the bus to get to Gallipoli and then we will do the major Australian sites, some walking, the rest in the bus. Ok, sounds like what we expected.

Rest stop at a service station cafe. Sitting there and another mini bus arrives and a couple and guide appear. This guide has a Mat McLachan shirt on - hmmm, also is very Aussie. He says he lives in Turkey and does these tours of the company all the time. Interesting.... Off we go wondering why, or how they chose to sub our tour out and then do this other one internally.

Lunch stop and we are feted by the lady who runs the restaurant. Food explained and eaten, quite nice and traditional. Finally arrive on the peninsula and we ate taken to a new museum. Turns out the museum is a Turkish representation of the war. Still depicts it reasonably well. Interactive walking tour of scenes, 3D parts and imittation trenches, etc. Out of the show and wander through the museum parts with uniforms, weapons, etc. Not really what we came for so out to the bus and off to the real stuff.

Pull up at Anzac Cove and the other couple and guide are just leaving here. Say hi and he suggests to catch up later at some "boomerang bar" in the town we are staying overnight. Anyway off we go. This is what was expected. Down to the picture boards which explained a bit about the landing, etc. Then we walk down to the wall that is shown in the Anzac Day ceremony just off the beach. Start to get the felling of being there and wondering how it would have been 100 years ago. Turn around and some of the landscapes written in many books are now real, the Sphinx, the Nek, and the valleys where the soldiers should have landed quite visibly easier than the terrain they actually got. Pics at the wall, and the other way then down to the beach. I dip my feet in the water. The guide has suggested going to the first cemetery just up the road (or a short walk along the beach). He is unsure if we can walk as the pebbles might be hard to walk on. Off we walk.

Get to this area and look back at the landing site and wonder how they even got to safety. Wander around here for a while then back to the bus. On to the Shrapnel Gully cemetery for more wandering. Hard to imagine all the bodies that didn't make it into the organised cemeteries. The sea looks so calm and there are people swimming everywhere. Lucky them. We get back into the bus and start to climb up the hill past a few smaller cemeteries which we agree not to stop at every one. Eventually get to Lone Pine. They are packing up the scaffolding from the 100 year anniversary of the Lone Pine battle (6/8/2015). This place looks immaculate even with some of the scaffolding around the walls.

We ate taken down the track a few hundred metres and shown the track/valley the Aussies came up from Anzac cove to this area on days one. Amazing they even made it this far, let alone dug in and fought for over 8 months here. Back to the cemetery and more pics, and a look at the names of the dead on the walls of the memorial. Into the bus again and now we can see lots of Turkish flags along the road. This is where there are Turkish cemeteries or memorials. The guide says this area is known as the Red Sea of Gallipoli Because of all the blood spilt in this area.

We finally get to the top of the area, Hill 791. This is where the Kiwis fought for months. A huge monument for them and also the Turks is up here. Eventually we wander back to the bus, done. It is now 1830 and we decide we have seen enough. It is also very hot today so we have been sweating up a storm during the day. We are given an option to do the other half of the peninsula where the British troops landed and tried in vain to capture ground or to do a tour of Troy (of the wooden horse fame). Decisions - he says we can tell him tomorrow morning so we talk about it later.

We need to cross the Dardenelles on a vehicle ferry to get to our city for the night (Cannakale). Get to the town and there is a ferry looking ready to go. Our driver guns it through the back streets to try and make it. Bugger, just miss. No problems, there is another one just up the road. Off we go and this one is just coming in so no probs. lots of cars, trucks, buses and people waiting. Finally on and away across the water. We go upstairs for some fresh air. Nice sea breeze o it is very pleasant. Get to the other side and our hotel is very close to the ferry terminal.

Into the hotel, our room is huge, big bed and reasonable bathroom. Our guide has said the food here is fine, and not too expensive but that there is also a fish restaurant up the road that is very good. We shower to get the sweat off and then walk the promenade. He also told us that there is the wooden horse they used in the movie in the town square. We find that and look at the signs, etc. Getting a bit hungry now (2030) so we look at restaurants. None of the promenade ones look really inviting so we decide to give the fish one a go.

Wander along to find it, but nothing stands out. Then we notice that one place that sounds like where it should be has a roof top sitting area. We walk in sure enough, get ushered upstairs. The middle floor is the cooking area with some seats, but no one eating here - also very hot. The guy asks what fish we want. Not too much English going on here, next thing another guy appears who can speak a little English. Explains that you pick a fish, then they cook it for you. Also have meat if wanted.

Chris picks a Sea Bass and ask for it to be grilled. What salads or veggies, a huge selection so she picks some and is done. I see fresh prawns. He suggests cooked in butter and garlic, done. Upstairs and a table looking over the harbour. Another breeze so nice. Beers ordered and delivered. Food arrives and it looks nice. Chris asks the boos looking guy if he would de-bone her fish. No probs, starts the show at the next table then Chris asks him to do it on our table so we can watch. Very dramatic but efficient work. Let's eat.

Food is good and so are the beers. Finish and get offered the standard Turkish tea or coffee. No thanks, pay the bilol and wander back to the hotel for a final quiet drink looking over the promenade. Very pleasant way to finish a hectic day.

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