Victor & Joanne - Italy &Turkey 2015 travel blog

The beach at Ari Burnu Cemetary. This is where hundreds died when...

At Ari Burnu, you can see the slope of the land and...

Turkish soldier carrying wounded ANZAC soldier. At times both sides ceased fighting,...

Trenches recreated on the hills surrounding the battlefields


Istanbul to Gallipoli

Whenever we do a tour, one of us (guess who) says, "Did we know we were getting up at 6:30?" It will be fairly standard that we have an early wake up call and be on the bus at eight. Ah well, we can rest when we get home. Departing from Istanbul will take us west toward Gallipoli, then south along the Aegean. Our tour director, Berna, is extremely knowledgeable. She is also certified as a local guide for all of Turkey (Turkiya) which is a considerable accomplishment.

Gallipoli

We have a number of Australians, New Zealanders and Brits on the tour. Some have family members who fought in WWI at Gallipoli, so it's an emotional time for many. Berna showed a 2 hour documentary about Gallipoli while we were on the bus. It was produced using correspondence sent home by the soldiers and included letters from both sides. It was exceptional, but very difficult to watch as it included actual photos from the war. In nine months 130,000 men died: the Allies lost 44,000 and the Turks lost 87,000. Altogether, over 500,000 men were killed or injured. At one point, the two sides were a mere 5 metres apart. A grenade tossed from one side to the other was often returned; this continued until it exploded.

At the beach sites, it was easy to see why so many of the ANZAC (Australia, New Zealand Army Corps) troops where killed. There were cliffs and hills where the enemy had a perfect opportunity to pick people off. As the war developed and the troops gained ground, combat was brutal and so was the weather. It was the hottest summer and coldest winter that had been experienced for many years. A sobering visit for all of us on the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.



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