Saturday 20 April 2013 by Stuart Baines. No comments
Anzac Connections, Battlefield Tours, Simpson Prize 2012

Today was spent like most days on this trip, flat out from dawn until dusk. The group is learning more about each other and really bonding well. I think over the years, everyday in Turkey I learn something new. Sometimes that is about the country, sometimes the people and sometimes about myself. I have watched these young adults and the way they have embraced the culture here, the way of life and tried valiantly to squeeze every drop out of the experience. It is inspiring and makes me wish I had their enthusiasm and maturity when I was their age. Lauren will tell you about the days events but my highlight today was watching the kids at Hagia Sophia. They soaked up the experience and wanted to know more, but not only that, the questions they asked showed they are starting to understand that beyond the great food, shopping and friendly people, that this is a place with deep, rich and some times troubled history and that Turkish people now are shaped by their history but not defined by it. Over to Lauren...

After the long day yesterday MOST of us were keen to get a nice long nights sleep. A rude 6am wake up call was followed by an absolute amazing breakfast on the roof. The food here is amazing, we all wish we had stomachs with twice the capacity so we can fit everything in. The Hagia Sophia Museum was also a great experience; the ex mosque and church was incredible. After a visit to the basilica cistern we took a walk to the site of the hippodrome to see the obelisk of theoduis, serpentine column and column of Constantine. It's incredible to hear the story of the hippodrome and how they transported the ginormous slab of granite that is used for the obelisk. I really enjoyed the spice bazaar as well, the people here are so friendly and love us Australians.

These first two days have been a once in a life time experience and I can't wait to get to the Gallipoli Penninsula tomorrow.