Of course we had to save our most exhausting day for the final day of our trip. Our tour group hopefully remained oblivious, but the day was made even harder with our suffering from an awful tummy bug we’d somehow managed to contract. Ailments aside, today was a day we’d never forget.
We were picked up about 6.30 and spent the next six and a half hours in a mini bus, along with numerous other New Zealanders, Australians and Brits all bound for Gallipoli. At 1pm we arrived in the town of Ebiceat where we were treated to a three course Turkish lunch and a brief meet and greet.
We then climbed aboard the bus and our tour of Gallipoli began. Our guide was Turkish, but his knowledge of the area and its history was immense. We started out at Brighton beach, moved along the peninsula to ANZAC cove and its cemetery as well as visiting some of the old trenches, Lone Pine, the Turkish memorial and Chunuk Bair, the conquering of which was the first objective of the Gallipoli campaign.
The history was full on and the magnitude of death was nothing short of horrific. It was a surreal and somber experience visiting the actual sites where these events unfolded so many years ago, and I know I’ll never view ANZAC Day the same ever again.
The day was huge. Once the tour was over, we climbed back onto the bus and headed all the way back to Istanbul. We didn’t get back until after midnight and we were both shattered. Some people opted to stay the night and visit Troy the next day, which might have been easier on the body but would have given us too much dead time. I’m so glad we did the trip, but I’m also glad that the journeying part of it is now in the past!