Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lest we forgot

Got off to an early start on my second day in Canakkale and strolled along the waterfront to the town's second Trojan horse, this one being a prop from the 2004 movie 'Troy" and it did look alot more convincing than the one at the ruins at least.

From there went to the naval museum and started out with a look at the Nusret mine layer which houses an interesting exhibition on the history of the ship and the role that sea mines played in the 18th March 1915 naval victory, which is the only part of the Gallipoli campaign that is celebrated as a vistory by Turkey. Strolled through the garden of cannons to Kale-i Sultaniye fort which was constructed by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461 and still has an unexploded shell lodged in a wall, fired from the Queen Elizabeth battleship during the 18th march battle. Inside was a great display on the role of the navy during the Gallipoli campaign and on the second floor there is meant to be an animated manequin display showing different aspects of war but since the presentation is only in Turkish, I got my own personal guided tour from the only person on staff who spoke English. He actually did a great job, though he was constantly apologising that his English was "so fucking terrible". The top floor has a collection of really impressive oil paintings and there was also a photo gallery in one of the other buildings.

After a quick look through the bazaar which was full of souvenier Trojan horses, I met Jeff and Kip, another Australian Kay and another couple and took the ferry over to Eceabat to meet the rest of our group and our excellent guide for the Gallipoli tour. Started at the small museum which has an interesting collection of things including last letters home, uniforms and other remnants of life that were left behind and had to wait for the world's most talkative tour guide to finally give up his spot at the map so our guide could have a turn. Then drove past Brighton Beach to Beach cemetary where John Simpson is buried. Walked from there to ANZAC cove which is a beautiful and really tiny beach and saw the cemetary next to that where the dawn services used to be held before moving to the new commemorative site which was our next stop. From there we drove up to Lone Pine cemetery and signed the visitors book inside the memorial and stopped in Johnston's Jolly to explore some of the remaining Allied trenches. We then stopped at the Turkish cemetary dedicated to the 57th regiment who were all killed defending their post and waiting for reinforcements. Visited the Nek where only 10 graves of all the soldiers killed could be identified, and which is really small too, only maybe 10 metres between the trenches. Walked from there to Walker's Ridge which overlooks the commemorative site and Ariburnu cliffs and then finished the tour at the NZ memorial and cemetery at Chunuk Bair. There is also a statue of Ataturk here as its the spot where he was struck in the chest by shrapnel but survived without harm when it broke his pocket watch instead.

Returned to Canakkale where I introduced Jeff, Kip and Kay to gozleme (yummy turkish pancake-ish) and we strolled around on the waterfront for a while before I left to catch my bus to Selcuk.

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