25th - 26th April 2009
Throughout the night and morning sitting in North Beach in Gallipoli, we listened to information, diary readings and stories about the soldiers and what happened on that fateful day. It was quite an emotional thing to hear but mostly because hearing this whilst being there in the place where it all happened. Before going on this trip I was hearing a lot of things back home about us going and telling us that we should stay away but I found all those claims unfounded and was disappointed in reading all the news about this.
The sight where the service is held is a designated area so no one can damaged the national park, there is security to make sure no one get unruly, there is airport security before entering the sight and everyone was really respectful to each other and to the day. The Turkish government and Australian Veterans Affairs ran the whole day very well.
After watching the pre-service we eventually fell asleep around 3am, it was a pretty cold night and thankfully I had lots of layers and a warm sleeping bag, but unfortunately as soon as I feel asleep we were all woken up with an announcement to sit up and move as to close to each other as we could because there was more people coming up and we needed to make room.
The dawn service started which was another emotional experience. This lasted for a couple of hours then we had to wait around for all the dignities to leave. We were then able to leave around 10am and then we had a trek up to Lone Pine Memorial. It was a 1.5km hike up hill and I was quite proud I made it without having a heart attack. We made our way to the memorial to watch the Australian service.
After the Australian service we walked 3km's uphill to Chunik Bair to watch the New Zealand service but there wasn't much room so we listened outside. After the services we then had to wait for our bus to turn up. We ended up waiting for 4 hours and arrived back into Istanbul around 9pm.
We checked into our hotel then went out to a bar called Déjà Vu, which ended up being a gay bar in one of the old cisterns. We then left got some dinner and went to the Sah Bar before calling it a night.
The next day I checked out and went back to my original hotel, then we decided to wonder around Istanbul and go to the Spice Bazaar, until they had to leave to go back home. I said goodbye to them then went back to my hotel and chilled out as the next day I was flying out to London.