Reflections on first visit to Anzac Cove
By Eleanor Lourey (Simpson Prize winner):
Being here for Anzac Day seems so much more important now that I have learnt so much about WWI and the Gallipoli campaign. Seeing so many Australian graves makes the whole day more purposeful to remember and commemorate their lives. Seeing what some of the relatives had written on the gravestones made it seem so much more real and made me think about their families they had left behind at home.
When I saw how large the set-up is for the Dawn Service made me realize how important the day is, not only for Australians but also for New Zealanders and Turks. I am now looking forward to the Anzac Day services more than I was before, all because now I am here on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Over to the Asian side
The weather has turned and it's now cold, windy and wet. But that hasn't dampened our enthusiasm for a trip across to the Asian side of Turkey. A quick journey on the vehicle ferry to Cannakkale provides a spectacular view of the Dardenelles and a reminder of the busy shipping lane, as tankers and transports move through.
The ships help in imagining how British and French warships would have looked as they steamed in to launch their attacks in March 1915. The view from the Dardanos battery was great and we could see the area where Nusrat laid its mines that caused such damage. The Cimenlik Fort is a naval museum with displays covering the 1915 campaign as well ancient cannons for earlier conflicts. The displays are throughout the fort, right up into a series of small dome shaped rooms at the top, which had a very weird acoustic effect when you talked.
Down to Troy and a chance to visit a site with a history of over 5,000 years. The fake Trojan Horse at the entrance is a bit of a laugh - complete with stairs going up into its belly and little windows to look out of. But the real Troy is an amazing insight into an ancient culture. Our fabulous guide Ozgur told us of the history of the city from early mud-brick walls, protected now by a giant sail, to the continuous building and layering that happened over hundreds and thousands of years. A quick stop in the wind and rain at Cannakale allowed a few of us to take some pictures of the Torjan horse constructed for the recent movie Troy, which we all agreed was a much better representation of how the real one might have looked. Some technical discussions ensued about how we might go about photo-shopping Brad Pitt into the photos.
We enjoyed yet another fabulous Turkish meal, this time at a water-front restaurant in Cannakale. Soup, meatballs, Turkish Pizza and salad - and then the main meal came! While our tummies are expanding to accommodate all this food, it's hard at times to keep up. It's a tough life but don't worry - we'll soldier on.
The bad weather meant that our formal rehearsal for wreathlaying at Lone Pine was cancelled, but we decided to go up to Lone Pine for a brief run through. Andrew explained our role and what we would be doing on Anzac Day, and he walked us through our paces. We continued with a drive up the frontline, and a promise of returning the next day to walk the same route.