The Tragedy of Gallipoli

Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
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Trip End Jul 11, 2012


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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We left the hotel in Istanbul this morning, bound for the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was about a 4-hour drive to lunch, which was at a roadside service centre. They also had their own zoo with many exotic species, such as camels, a Rottweiler, a Doberman, and even a couple of rabbits! Actually it was quite sad to see them kept in less than ideal conditions. I could only hope they were taken out for walks often.

From there we drove down the Gallipoli Peninsula and stopped at ANZAC Cove. It was a very emotive place, and hard to describe in a way that does it justice. Perhaps the most moving part was a monument with a quote from the Turkish General who led troops against the ANZACS – here it is:

"THOSE HEROES THAT SHED THEIR BLOOD AND LOST THEIR LIVES… YOU ARE NOW LYING IN THE SOIL OF A FRIENDLY COUNTRY. THEREFORE REST IN PEACE. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JOHNNIES AND THE MEHMETS TO US WHERE THEY LIE SIDE BY SIDE HERE IN THIS COUNTRY OF OURS… YOU, THE MOTHERS, WHO SENT THEIR SONS FROM FAR AWAY COUNTRIES WIPE AWAY YOUR TEARS; YOUR SONS ARE NOW LYING IN OUR BOSOM AND ARE IN PEACE. AFTER HAVING LOST THEIR LIVES ON THIS LAND THEY HAVE BECOME OUR SONS AS WELL" ATATURK 1934

Tim, one of the leaders of our group, gave us all an extensive (and well needed) history lesson on the campaign here. For example, did you know the Simpson who had a donkey and recovered wounded from the battlefield wasn't actually Australian? Also, he wasn’t unique but was one of several men doing that same job at the time. The sad reality of the folly of war stood out starkly against the picturesque backdrop of the Aegean Sea. How could such horrors happen in such a beautiful place? Apparently the irony wasn’t lost on the ANZAC troops at the time, either!

After Gallipoli, we boarded a ferry across the Dardanelles to our hotel tonight, the Iris Otel in Canakkale (yes, the H is left off – probably Hotel in Turkish, I assume). It is right on the beach, and we enjoyed a sunset over the water. See the photos and be jealous!

Enough for tonight – on to Troy tomorrow!
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