Our day started with a 5 hour transfer from Istanbul to Gallipoli. On arrival we picked up our private war guide and started our tour in the early afternoon at the Ecebat museum. Our guide is excellent and we soon learn about the war from the Turkish perspective which is fascinating and sad as we realise how betrayed the Turks were.
The museum is interesting, the different Allied uniforms giving some insight to the different troops. Naturally the French is the most stylish with blue trimmings. There are plenty of ammunitions on display as well.
We then drive round to the Landing Beach – Brighton and on to Anzac Cove – what a terrible difference a mile makes! The cliffs are steep here and must have been a terrible disappointment to the boys, not to mention making them such a target. We had good information on the bus and then plenty of free time to read the storyboards which present different perspectives. I tossed of my shoes and walked into the sea to stand in t
he water and try and imagine what these young men felt.
Then on to the north beach. This entire area is cared for well and there are good history boards. We then went to Lone Pine Cemetery – quite beautiful with wild and planted poppies and roses flowering. Too sad to read the headstones as aged 17 , aged 18 aged 19 was a bit overwhelming. We then went to 2nd Ridge and our guide took us through the trenches and tunnels, all the time bringing the area to life with stories and facts. Why were the trenches only 8- 10 metres apart ? So neither side could use gas we are told. Very useful though as Turks would ask for old newspapers for their cigarettes and in exchange they would give the allies cigarettes. The Allies threw over a tin of beef jerky, they threw it back with a note saying no thanks send us some of your biscuits.
We also visited Bloody Ridge, the 57th Memorial and Chunuk Bair. It was a very moving 4.5 hour tour, we all thought it was the most amazing experience and we loved getting the total picture. Our tour guide was passionate, knowledgable, compassionate and we cannot imagine how you could get this level of understanding without a dedicated Gallipoli Guide. Even the guys who thought they had a good war knowledge were surprised at how much they learnt. Absolutely our highlight experience.