Saturday, April 16, 2011


So, we started out from Turkey early - 6:15 AM - on our way down to the Gallipoli Peninsula. While we booked the tour originally to see Troy, I am now so grateful we were able to see this important and beautiful area. We were on the tour with two couples both from Australia and our guide and driver. It was nice to be on a smaller tour and we seemed to get to the sights just before a big bus of people came in. We drove about 5 hours, with a 30 minute break for Turkish coffee, down the route shown here (though we were mostly by the sea rather than this exact route):

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This is the site where the ANZAC forces were supposed to land, but due to a current,
they landed upcoast at a very difficult place to pass.  What would have happened
had they made it to the right spot?
The ANZAC cove where the forces actually landed.  Not very welcoming.

As we drove, we watched the movie Gallipoli where a VERY young Mel Gibson goes to fight in WWI on the Gallipoli peninusula.  In 1915, the British launched this attach in an effort to overtake Constantinople (now Istanbul), however after 8 months of fighting, over 10,000 ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) and over 80,000 Turkish soldiers and civilians died, Turkey won the battle.  The Turkish general Ataturk who lead the fight against the invasion was credited with winning the battle and thus maintaining Turkey as an independent country. Therefore, the country was named Turkey.

While this battle is clearly significant for Turkey, it is also very significant for the people of Australia and New Zealand.  ANZAC day - April 25 - is celebrated annually with thousands of Aussies and Kiwis making a pilgrimmage to the ANZAC cove where so many soldiers lost their lives.  As one of our fellow travelers explained, this battle and the ANZAC forces involvement was so significant as it is what helped bring these two newly formed countries together to fight and unify towards a common goal.  As the movie Gallipoli illustrated, fighting in the war was marketed as a wonderful adventure, so many young men readily volunteered to go fight for their country not knowing what they were really getting into.
ANZAC cove
 It was amazing to see the beautiful memorials that were built for essentially the "invaders" of Turkey and how much respect the Turkish people have for the Aussies and Kiwis.  It was a true sign of the generosity and genuine kindness we saw in all the people we met in Turkey.

One of the cemetaries

Lone Pine memorial

View out along the coast from Lone Pine

Walking through the trenches with Mr. G (our guide)
 As we walked through these hallowed sites and Mr. G explained to us which directions the troops came from and how they came to fight at the top of this massive hill in these trenches, you could almost feel the presence of the thousands of men who died here.  It is impossible to describe the awe and expansiveness of this battleground.  Even the pictures do not do it justice.
 After our afternoon tour of the peninsula, we took a ferry that we just barely made (that was one fun ride), to Çanakkale, which is on the Asian side of the country, where we stayed for the night.

Turkish flag on the boat to Çanakkale

Çanakkale - Asian side

View from our hotel

Smoking apple nargile (hookah) - apple
flavored tobacco

Fellow travelers and our driver and guide

Great ashtray in our hotel!
Don't smoke!  But if you do, put it out here...

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