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Brad’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005

Location: Gallipoli, Turkey

MapI hooked up with the tour group and we got on the bus at 11:30 at Istanbul to head down to Gallipoli. Our schedule was put back four hours because of Prince Charles arriving, lot of extra security! I met four other really cool Aussies on the bus, we ended up sticking together for the whole thing and became a pretty close knit bunch by the end. The bus hit the que for the dawn service site at about 9 and we were told to get out and walk!

It was about 3 or 4 ks to the site, so we got there at about 10ish. The whole place was packed! It was really hard finding a spot but we eventually got a really good one to the left of the stage just behind the big boom camera (did you see me?). There were people arriving all night and loud music playing (The Bee Gees!) so it was really hard to get any sleep. By about three in the morning it was so freezing cold, it would have to go close to zero. I was only just warm enough (thanks to Gems hot pack - thanks)! I probably got about an hours sleep in all, pretty good considering the circumstances.

They began the pre-service ceremony at 4ish, with a beautiful poem being read a string quartet playing some cool new Australian music and a light show flashing back over the cliffs.

The service itself was really good, I'm sure most of you saw it on TV. Watching the light slowly come up over the cliffs, it became pretty clear why the ANZACS were slaughtered. There were a few speeches, Helen Clarke's was really good, the last post (the guy was really nervous and accidentally cut out the two minutes silence which was a shame) and then the national anthem. This was probably the highlight for me, everyone was getting choked up and looking back up at the cliffs it made me feel not only sad but proud of the brave young men who lost their lives here and the sacrifice they made.

After the sun rose, we all started packing up and headed up to Lone Pine for the Australian ceremony. I went for a walk up towards the cliffs and stood at the top of the first ridge for a while, thinking of my great-grandfather who came here, and of Bill and Jim who both served in WWII. I could imagine the fear of the soldiers running up the cliffs and being rained on with machine gun fire, that someone had probably died where I stood.

We all walked up to Lone Pine for the service, it started to really heat up and was about 28 degrees by the time we got there. This service was really nice too, but I was so tired by the time we got there it was hard to take it in. One of the guys I was with sat next to a digger and got everyone to say three cheers for him, that was really cool!

The bus picked us up at about three, we spent the rest of the day trying to sleep, I was so very tired. My Aussie mates were dropped off at Cankale, so we said goodbye and I continued on to Istanbul and got there at 11pm. Made it to the hosted and crashed, I was sosososo tired!