Monday, 30 May 2011

A Slow Bus To Anzac Day

23-25 April
Our wake up call was at 4.30am for the 6 hr bus ride to Gallipoli... under normal conditions. From the beginning though the bus was sluggish, changing gears was difficult, and there was a few times we wondered if the bus would even make it up the hill! After a couple of hrs of this we finally stopped and apparently there was bad diesel in the fuel tank. So they topped up the fuel tank... Surprisingly this did not help the situation and the bus was still sluggish, etc. We continued on to a supermarket , where we picked up some supplies for a picnic lunch at Anzac Cove. While we were stopped I think they emptied out the fuel tank and tried to start again, but this STILL did not work!!

Anzac Cove
We continued on to a fuel station and actually got onto another bus that went fast! (or the normal speed, but after the slow bus it felt fast :P) Finally we arrived at Gallipoli at about 2pm, were we had a picnic lunch on the grass of Anzac cove. Then we had a tour of Lone Pine, the Nek, and Chunuk Bair war memorials. On the way to Gallipoli we watched a film (guess which one) and some documentaries on what happened in this part of the world. It is amazing, and almost unbelievable that such a beautiful part of the world can have such an ugly history.

After the tour it was time to drive another 2+ hrs to our accommodation for the night, as well as the 26th. The 4 star hotel had a thermal pool, which was nice and warm and relaxing after a long dinner. The next morning, Easter, we had a relaxing morning, just lazing about, swimming in the pool, etc. We didn't really celebrate Easter, though I did have some Cadbury Mini Eggs :P After an early dinner we left for the drive back to Anzac cove, arriving around 8pm. We were the 58th bus (in the end there were over 300!) There was plenty of sitting space, but no grass/sleeping spaces.

Yalcin showing us a map of the area

At The Nek

John Simpson's grave

Playing the Last Post
At 5am we got told to wake up in preparation for the Dawn service, which was starting at 5.30am. While it was good to go to Gallipoli and see the how dark, and experience what conditions were like 96 years ago for our troops (It was cold, about 0 degrees with wind chill, but I was nice and warm wrapped up in my sleeping bag), I did not find the service to be as emotional as I was expecting. I was more emotional while were were touring the memorial sited on the 23rd. I think having spent most of the night awake sitting in a hard plastic chair, and thus being very cold, tired and uncomfortable may have played a part in this!
3 Nation's flags

After the Dawn service we walked about 3km to Lone Pine for the Australian memorial service. The Turkish and New Zealand services were later on, but up to another 3km walk away. From the Aus service I went straight to Chanuk Bair, and by the time I got there the NZ service was full and they were turning back people. So, I got out my sleeping bag and had a bit of a nap, waiting until about 3pm when we could catch the bus back to our accomodation 2.5hrs away.
Walking up to Lone pone