Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 4, Saturday

Tour to Gallipoli. This historic area on the peninsula is about the World War I battle to control the Dardanelles Straight. This is the narrow shipping lane from the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea.

Thousands of Australian and New Zealand troupes landed along the Aegean Sea coastline of 600 meters by 20 meters wide and then up the hill. The Turks had the higher ground edge and the Auzies and Kiwis did not have a chance. The Turks on the other hand had many troupes but little ammunition.

We went to the landing cove and then onto three of the larger memorial grave sites. We heard stories of the camaraderie formed during the daytime and then the fighting at night. There was a soldier, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who had a donkey, he did not carry a gun and would take water up to the troupes and the wounded back down to the beach. He was never fired upon until one day when new Turk troupes had arrived and he got shot John could not be awarded the purple heart, but his donkey was.

The graves and maintained by a Commonwealth Association, the land donated by the Turkish Government and locals are hired to do the lawn cutting, etc. They are getting ready for (ANZAC Days) a very large memorial service on April 25. At each of the 3 large memorial sites there are over 6,000 red, or white seats for the expected Australian and New Zealanders coming for the services.

At one of the memorials there was a group of young Turkish woman from Istanbul, they wanted to talk to a woman in our group, the first one they approached said hello, and she was from England, she then went on her way. They then came to talk to me and of course I was thrilled to talk with them, what an opportunity for all of us. They seemed to be so excited that I would answer all of their questions. They were thrilled to learn we have toured other areas of Turkey and that I knew a few words. One woman said I was beautiful! I thanked her and then complemented all of them on their beautiful eye brows, those nicely groomed brown brows. I think we could have talked for hours, but our tour had to leave so we said good-bye and they left too. I think our tour guide and bus driver were thrilled that I did stop to talk with the young ladies.

We then went to the Turkish monument of Mustafa Kemal the soldier in command at Gallipoli. We walked in the trenches and then had a look out over the hills down to the sea. It looks very peaceful and lovely, but 93 years ago it must have been a hell for those fighting here.

We left here and went past the souvenir and snack shops. We bought some salted hazelnuts and Len went behind with the men and cried "get your peanuts here". They didn't catch onto what he was doing, but lots of people stopped to look and see what the calling was all about. They seemed to enjoy having him there. Some men came over and asked to take his picture and I got into it too. Then a soldier came along and Len asked if we could take his picture and he said yes. He even held his gun up in front! They might have thought we were Auzzies because of Len's hat, we've been asked that before.

It was a very moving and memorable day. On the ferry Len got his picture taken and was also given a cute little rubbery toy.

The day ended with finding a vendor that sold baked potatoes! Mmmm, it was delicious.
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Spent three days in area and two full days visiting the park and memorials were not enough. Should have had a third. Used dardanel troy Cannakale as a base and left car at Kilitbahir. Our visit was focussed on the British landings in the Cape Hellas area and Morto Bay as well as Gully Ravine. There was more than enough to see with British, French and Turkish sites. It is a must to read up on the Gallipoli campaign before you go. Pretty spectacular and difficult terrain was dwarfed by a second visiting Suvla and Anzac areas Spectacularly beautiful and daunting/terrible for those who fought there. September is a quiet time for a visit with good weather although very dry. Well worth the visit Thank you all so much.

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