Turkey travel diary: Day 2 – Gallipoli

Woke up in Istanbul. Early. I had booked myself in for a day tour to Gallipoli. The departure time was 6:30am! Sleep…so overrated. Myself, an American girl and a kiwi couple were all transferred to Eceabat (near Gallipoli), a 5-hour drive away. There were plenty of pit stops along the way. We stopped every hour which seemed rather excessive. This was our breakfast stop, where I picked up a cheese gozleme (a Turkish crepe):

From Gallipoli

It was nice to see some Turkish landscape during the 5-hour drive, albeit from a car window.

From Gallipoli

Sunrise:

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

Arrived in Eceabat sometime after 11am, where we joined a bigger tour group. We had lunch and then we got on another bigger bus for our tour of Gallipoli. A table for two? (No, this is not where we ate lunch at. Just a random photo I took at Eceabat.) A shame I didn’t take this photo on the SLR for a more arty shot.

From Gallipoli

The sheer scale of the Gallipoli Peninsula is overwhelming, let alone reflecting on its place in history. It takes about 3 full days to explore the whole peninsula. We had only about 5 hours.

From Gallipoli

What amazed me the most was how stunningly beautiful it was. Unfathomable how it could have been the scene for such a bloody war. It’s a spectacular piece of real estate, a preserved national park. It literally seemed like the end of the earth. I was captivated by the surrounding water. Amazing colours. The highlights that we took in were: Brighton Beach, ANZAC cemetery, ANZAC Cove (beach), trenches/tunnels, the biggest mass Turkish grave, Lone Pine cemetery, Shrapnel Valley and views of Suvla Bay and a few other spots. We had a great tour guide – a young local graduate of History, super knowledgeable and passionate about his work – always a bonus. I will spare you the history lesson on WWI and just post up a whole bunch of pics (as usual) with some minor commentary. The water at Brighton Beach was stunning, and we were blessed with beautiful weather, although, it gets a little cool along the Peninsula.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

I love the layers of colour of the water in this photo:

From Gallipoli

We then went to the site of the ANZAC Day dawn service. I was so surprised by how small that area was! You see it on the news on the TV every ANZAC Day and you see all the people crammed onto that small patch of grass! I was impressed by how many people can fit there.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

2015 will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. They’re expecting a crowd of about 50,000 people!

From Gallipoli

Ok, so you might have noticed that a lot of the time, photos of me are generally of my face. That’s because I’m usually taking a photo of myself with my arm outstretched. If I ask people to take a photo of me, that photo usually ends up quite shoddy – out of focus, or bad timing, or people walking in front of the photo etc. Case in point. I asked someone to take a photo of me on my SLR. Don’t people remember the days when you actually had to squint your eye through a tiny little glass square. It seems that without some wide touchscreen, people don’t know how to take photos. Here is one such photo that I asked a stranger to take of me. Shoddy work indeed. Obviously, didn’t know how to work a zoom and we end up with a way unflattering photo of Zac and Aleisha! Henceforth, you’re only gonna get headshots of me.

From Gallipoli

I mean, really! I don’t ask for much. Just a holiday snap. I do not see a future as wedding photographer for whomever took that photo! I don’t know what’s worse, really – someone who takes as bad a photo as that OR people on holidays, or people out in public for that matter that take photos on their iPad!!!! Seriously, the only thing I wanted to do with that iPad was wallop her on the head with it! I guess, each to their own. But did you know that the iPad camera has less than ONE megapixel. The quality is really bad. She shoulda just sketched whatever she wanted a photo of!

From Gallipoli

Beach where the ANZACs landed:

From Gallipoli

The sphinx:

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

And then we went for a stroll along the beach.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

Gallipoli, much like any other cemetery, is a very sobering place. There’s a certain irony in how peaceful and serene and beautiful it was here, a spectacular location, yet thousands upon thousands died here. It makes me wonder what their last image would have been before they died – an image of blood, war, terror or that of serenity and beauty. Could they have still appreciated the latter despite being faced with the former.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

I was captivated by the volume of water that surrounded us, that stretched out into the horizon.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

It literally felt like we were standing on the edge of the world. And it was a stark reminder that the earth is indeed round. The horizon looked curved. Hard to imagine the amount of force, the amount of gravity required, that pulls the water to the centre of the Earth to prevent water from floating.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

We then stopped at Lone Pine Cemetery.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

Lone Pine is up quite high by this point, and offers amazing views over the surrounding valleys.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

I took a neat photo of the American girl (unbeknownst to her) who was also on the tour:

From Gallipoli

A red poppy:

From Gallipoli

We saw some trenches and tunnels – from which the ANZACs got their nickname as “Diggers” – they dug a network of over 300km of tunnels and trenches.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

In addition, to paying respects to the many ANZAC soldiers, we also visited one of the largest mass Turkish cemetery – around half a million soldiers who died on home soil.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

Some spectacular scenery to take in.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

It can get rather windy here, so the trees tell me.

From Gallipoli
From Gallipoli

Gallipoli is a convergence of history and nature – respect its past and appreciate the force of both. 5-hour drive back to Istanbul, arriving some time around 11:30pm where I crawled into bed. The sun had set on another day. Gallipoli photo album. (I took over 500 photos, but have culled them down to just under 100 in this album).

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