Even just the word ‘Gallipoli’ is loaded for antipodeans. We all learned about it in history class, but few have been fortunate enough to visit the site where so many Kiwis and Australians lost their lives in the first world war. Gallipoli is around a 5 hour drive from Istanbul, so it’s ambitious to do it in a day, but eight of the Ottoman Trekkers were up for the challenge the day after our Trek ended.I was floored to discover that Gallipoli was beautiful. I’d never paused to consider that the site of such violent injustice could be naturally so striking. But it really was.
The whole area feels dedicated to the ANZAC troops who lost their lives there. Below is a bit of a photo journey, because words could never do it justice.
|Old photographs help us to wrap our heads around the reality of what we’re looking at.|
|ANZAC Cove. Far more exquisite than I had imagined.|
|The allied troops trained in Egypt, so it’s not surprising that this rock formation above ANZAC Cove was nicknamed “the sphinx”.|
|There are so many tourists on ANZAC day that the service has now been moved to the larger grassy area above the next bay. We felt slightly uncomfortable posing for a photo of such a sombre moment, but wanted to remember it.|
|One of many graveyards filled with both named and unknown soldiers. Most were inscribed with messages from their grieving parents. A few were just 18 years old, which brought tears to my eyes.|
|A statue immortalising the moment a Turkish soldier carried a wounded Australian to safety
so he wouldn’t be left to die in No Man’s Land.
|The Australian memorial at Lone Pine.|
|The trenches have trees growing in them now.|
|Nek Ridge. The location of the last scene in the movie ‘Gallipoli’.|
|Our last stop, at the highest point: the New Zealand Memorial.
It’s here because only the kiwi soldiers ever made it this far.
|Afterwards, Ally and I dip our toes in the Dardanelles.|
|A blood red sun feels almost poetic as we begin the long drive back to Istanbul.|