Gallipoli & Cannakkale
14th June 2010
On the bus bright and early for the 4ish hour drive across to the Gallipoli Peninsula. Along the way Kev told us a bit about the history of the war with the ANZAC's as well as the Turkish soldiers that battled there. He put a rather dull documentary on the TV on the bus too, which I have to admit I dozed through a little.We made a couple of stops along the way, one of which was a truck stop service station where we had lunch. It was pretty good food considering it was on the side of the road.
Shortly after lunch we arrived at the small Gallipoli Museum. We walked through looking at all the bits and pieces on display; uniforms, bullets and artillery, letters etc.
From here we drove down along the shoreline to the North Beach Memorial Site with the well known brick wall with ANZAC in big letters across it. This is where on ANZAC day the big memorial service is held. It's not a large space but they managed to fit about 10,000 people in each year. This is one of main landing sites, and just across from the beach were some pretty huge arse hills. I wouldn't want to have faced climbing them.
It was only about 100m up the road the next stop, at ANZAC cove, another one of the landing sites. There is a beautiful big memorial sign erected there with a quote/poem from the first Turkish President (Army General against the ANZACs during the war) Ataturk, as well as a small cemetery.
We stopped at a few more beach cemeteries along the way. One of the graves that Kev pointed out to us was of Simpson Kilpatrick. He was a man who saved the lives of many soldiers by carrying them out of battle on his donkey. Apparently they made a movie of him with Mel Gibson playing Simpson Kilpatrick.
From here we ventured inland a bit, and up the hill to the Lone Pine Memorial - The Australian memorial. Another large cemetery and a monument, with the plaques of many of the soldiers who lost their life, as well as the Lone Pine are all perched up on the hill. From here you had a really great lookout point down to the beaches and the surrounding hills and valleys around.
Continuing further up the road we came to some ANZAC and Turkish trenches. The Aussie ones were on one side of the road, and no more than 10 meters across the road were the Turkish ones. Kev told us stories of how the two opposing army's became friends, with the Aussies and Kiwi's throwing cigarettes and cans of food over to the Turks, and the Turks throwing them supplies back. He also said that on occasion the Aussie's were known to throw a grenade over with the gifts for their Turkish friends, but the Kiwi's never got involved in such dirty play. Kev made a joke that maybe this is why that now Kiwi's don't need to buy a visa on entry, but Australian's do!! We scuttled through the trenches for a bit, before jumping back on the bus for the very short trip up to the final memorial, the Kiwi memorial, which was a little bizarre to look at. Right next to it is a massive statue of the big General Ataturk. We were all pretty hot and bothered by this stage so after a quick look at the memorial we stocked up on drinks and ice creams.
The last stop for us at Gallipoli was at a lookout over the original massive mountains that we'd seen from North Beach and ANZAC cove, this time from the top. Again it gave fantastic views over the whole area.
It was finally back on the bus to catch the 6pm ferry across to the small town of Cannakkale where we were spending the night.
We had another 5 star hotel, the only one in the region apparently, and this one was very impressive also. Dan and I had gotten lucky being given a mega massive suite, with entranceway, sitting room and a bedroom with a bed big enough for me to roll over 4 times! The only disappointing thing was that by the time we arrived that the outdoor pool was closed, and you needed to buy a swimming cap if you wanted to use the indoor one!
Dinner was included at the hotel tonight, so we went down to see the biggest buffet spread ever. The tables of food stretched out for about 20 meters, with anything you could think of (In the Turkish Cusine) available to eat. They also had two massive tables full of desserts, which we went a little crazy on. After eating we sat out on one of the balconies and watched the beautiful sunset over the water.
After dinner we walked up to the nearby shopping centre and stocked up on drinks (Which we had to smuggledback into the hotel in an Adidas bag) and on our way back noticed a projection on the roof of the hotel. We went up to investigate and found that they had a massive roof terrace and were massively projecting the World Cup onto the side of the building for those up there to watch! We couldn't afford to pay their bar prices though and went back down to our mega suite for a few quiet drinks before bed!