Eceabat Travel Blog› entry 8 of 43 › view all entries
The day started with a long journey with only one Kiwi girl for company. The journey to Eceabat took about 5 hours but the bus was air conditioned and we had a short stop at a service station for coffee and a burger. When we arrived at Eceabat we were treated to lunch of chicken, rice and salad whilst we enjoyed the views from TJ’s hostel on the waterfront. Our guide was a young Turkish bloke called Hasan who had served a brief stint in the army. He began by querying our nationalities of which all were Aussie/Kiwi myself excepted though you wouldn’t know for the Aussie wifebeater I was wearing. The only regret of the trip was that we didn’t stay the night, take in Troy, and go back to Istanbul the next day – it sure would have broken up the journey.
He gave a big intro to the background story of Gallipoli before we headed off to the sites. We started at the Kebetepe museum which displayed memorabilia from soldiers who fought in the area including one amazing site of two bullets that had collided mid-air. Ari Burnu was the first landing sight for the ANZAC troops, they had intended to land at Brighton beach but heavy winds saw them go astray slightly. Some graves of the dead are located in the area. This is where the dawn service is now held. We then moved onto a beach cemetery, site of the grave of reknowned ‘John Simpson and his donkey’ who saved multiple lives transporting the wounded on a donkey through shrapnel valley. The next stop was Lone Pine sight of a hilltop battle. Here British and ANZAC troops tried to breakthrough Turkish lines and hold the hill, this failed at a huge cost in lives. Graves on this site offer only approximate dates of death as the sheer number of casualties prevented accurate record keeping. This was another hilltop battle site where NZ troops were tasked with a silent attack on the Turkish troops which succeeded until they broke out into the Haka and gave away their positions resulting in major losses. All in all the trip brought home the sheer sacrifice those of our ancestors made to secure our freedom and the tour was conducted in a professional and informative manner leaving pride in the eyes of all those who were present. The TJ tour is well recommended at 79Euros with an excellent guide and a thorough walk through of the sites, I especially liked the tales of individual heroism which most tours don’t offer.