Sunday, May 8, 2011

Anzac Day, Gallipoli

I spent 18 hours on the Gallipoli Peninsula, from about 8.30 pm on 24 April to early afternoon the next day, attending the Anzac Day dawn service at North Beach (next to Anzac Cove) and the Australian (at Lone Pine) and New Zealand services. So many people attend these now, it's a huge logistical exercise. Once you cross the Dardanelles on the car ferry, there's no way out except by the bus you came in on anywhere from 18 to 21 hours later. It was very moving having some knowledge of what happened there between 25 April 1915 and the evacuations at the end of that year, but I hated the whole experience of being corralled and herded about for all those hours, and of feeling chilled to the bone during the night. Was it *really* necessary to deposit us there eight hours before the dawn service?

I was very relieved when it was all over. I left Canakkale the next day and took a bus to Tekirdag, on the western shore of the Sea of Marmara in a region that used to be known as Thrace. I stayed the night there before heading back to Istanbul the next day. The following day I flew to London.

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