ANZAC Day 2015 - Gallipoli
We arrived at the ferry to cross the Dardanelles at 3pm and the waiting started. We were behind another 12 other buses at this stage. Eventually a great crossing and on our way to the first security check point. We received our bus number, our passes were checked and we were each given a wrist band for being a Kiwi and another tag for the coach. Back on the road again for another hour before arriving at the security point where we left our coach for the next 24 hours. More security checks and in the queue for checking our bags. It was at this stage 7pm and we were lucky to be the last group to make the 3.5km walk to ANZAC Cove. Martin started us all out with a marching chant which lasted about 2min. Looking down the road was a amazing sight of just people walking along. We had the sea to our left and we were very close to the narrow strip of beach. The water was very flat and no wind. On our left we had army boys strategically placed as security for us. Made me think this is a smidgen of what it would have been like with the snipers in the scrub 100 years ago. A bit cool but very pleasant. The sun was going down slowly through a magnificent display of clouds and eventually gave a perfect setting performance. On arrival at the point where we were to spend the night we had a very big checkpoint. Wrist bands, passes, passports and bags. and given a great bag of goodies. Very special as you only got this bag if you made it this far. The whole area was set out in blocks and most of these blocks were half full at this point. 13 of us found a spot and settled in for the night. Started to get colder but after 5 years planning we were here.
The Dawn broke, it got colder but also very solemn as everyone reflected on why we were there and we should really suck it in as 100 years ago our boys faced a much harsher condition. The bugle broke the silence, an amazing display of the war ships sailing past where we were. The huge screens beside us then gave us a good look at what was happening on the stage down in front of us. After the ceremony, we ate our portable breakfast and filed out. We walked back part of the way we had come along the beach road to the actual ANZAC COVE beach and turned off to Lone Pine and Chanuk Bair. The road was a rough uphill walk for about 3km and once we got past Lone Pine where we left the Australians it was another 3-4km to Chanuk Bair on the tar sealed and again very steep in places but plenty to look at along the way, especially looking down on where the buses were parked waiting to come back to pick everyone up. They say there were 450 buses. We arrived at Chanuk Bair at 8.30am and had to wait under big tents until 1pm when we were then assembled into the Chanuk Bair memorial area for the Memorial Service. This service as by far the best. The speakers were all fabulous and very moving. Getting colder and tired, and hungry and after 3 hours were very all very excited to hear our bus was coming up the hill and get ready. The fastest some of us had moved all day. 5 minutes on the bus and most of the group was asleep. We had to cross the Dardanelles again and travel to Assos for the night along with at least 50 other buses. Arrived at 10pm for a fantastic meal and good night’s sleep. A very quaint little village on the water so Martin and I forced ourselves to get up early in the morning so we could explore. Just the most gorgeous little seaside resort. Another place added to our come back to someday.
Across the Dardanelles again as we were headed back to ANZAC COVE so we could explore without the huge crowds. This was very hard and emotional but well worth it. After 3 hours exploring we were heading back to Istanbul for our last night in Turkey. We had a really enjoyable evening out with the group before we all had to say goodbye and go our separate ways. Will certainly come back to Turkey another day but if I don’t this was a super holiday and well worth the 5 years wait.