On the journey from Istanbul to the Dardanelles the Battlefield tour noticed this striking memorial on the slopes of the Kilitbahir Plateau. In English it translates to:
The ground you tread on, unawares,
Once witnessed the end of a generation.
Listen in this quiet earth
Beats the heart of a nation.
Every year, as Anzac Day approaches, people become curious about Anzac biscuits. Maybe it's because the thought of them is a delectable relief to the sombreness of that day and all that it represents.But it is easy to make mistakes about Anzac biscuits, strangely enough. The biscuit that most of us know as the Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit made from rolled oats and golden syrup. These must not be confused with that staple of soldiers' and sailors' rations for centuries, the hardtack biscuit.
If we were sensible and thoughtful students, we would talk about the rich cultural experience we had today visiting the Blue Mosque, Topaki Palace, Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. We would describe the centuries old Christian and Muslim history associated with these places, reflecting on the significant events and people that are part of Turkish history.
The tour has been visiting some of the famous sites of the old city including the Hippodrome, Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. These grand and glorious monuments tell us much of Istanbul's long history. This city is the former capital of three successive empires Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.
Merhaba - after a marathon plane flight we made it. Istanbul is awesome – huge, fast- paced, chaotic and full of people. A cruise on the Bosphorus was a great way to experience the city from the relative calm of our boat. We saw many palaces and mosques, and noted that nearly everything has a Turkish flag. Amazing houses right on the water, just like the OC but older and more expensive. We also cruised Istiklal St, just down from the hotel, and managed to avoid getting run over by trams, cars, bikes and pedestrians – quite an achievement.
My colleague Robyn Van Dyk and I have probably taken well over 1,200 people on guided tours of the Memorial's current special exhibition Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse. As ANZAC Day 2008 approaches it is interesting to reflect on which Light Horse images have resonated most profoundly with our visitors. This week, I also took some veterans from the Vietnam War through the exhibition.
Upon removal of the fabric from the upper mainplane it was discovered that an extensive number of the ribs were damaged.
It turns out that Rod Stewart, one of our fellow travellers on the tour, is also a fellow blogger. Rod's grandfather Edward John Howells served at Gallipoli where he was evacuated injured.
Reaching Constantinople (present day Istanbul) was the objective of the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. An objective that failed. The battlefield tour, however, managed to arrive safely at Istanbul airport in high spirits and only slightly crumpled from the long flight. We checked into the Marmara hotel to ‘freshen up' and in the afternoon we set off to cruise on the Bosphorus followed by a visit to the Egyptian Spice Market.
Those of us travelling with the Memorial on the Gallipoli battlefield tour arrived in Istanbul today following a long journey from our various home ports. On a flight of over 22 hours it is inevitable that conversations would be struck and I met several Australians also travelling to Gallipoli. For the first leg of the trip I sat next to an Australian Vietnam war veteran. He was planning on touring the battlefields and to attend the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.