Blog: Simpson Prize 2012
The first and most difficult part of our journey is now finished. I say difficult but probably only difficult for me. All of our students have flown in from each state and territory to meet in Sydney and then head off to Istanbul via Singapore. This does require some degree of juggling, time management and in some years Olympic style 100m dashing. This year was a breeze thanks to some great timing from airlines, and excellent support from our two teachers, David and Lorraine.
It is that time of year again when the most important day of commemoration for Australians looms closer. ANZAC Day, our time to stop and reflect on the service and sacrifice of Australians, is likely to have direct and indirect meaning for most Australians. It is a time that reminds us of how a nation viewed itself and what our nation wanted to be but it’s also a time for us to look at our past and try and understand its influence and context today.
ANZAC Day is a significant point in the trip for everyone. Experiencing the Dawn service for the first time at the Cove is different for everyone and in the context of the whole trip and for us, the intensity of the Gallipoli experience has shaped the day for us all. In many ways we have the best of peninsula, we have had time to walk the ridges and visit the cemeteries virtually alone. It has been a time for reflection and a time for us all to really appreciate the enormity of the task that faced thos e men almost 100 years ago.
Today we took the time for another Simpson Prize First and another first for me. We made our way to Suvla Bay and walked the ridge on the northern side of the salt lake. It was a rugged climb upwards, our legs and arms being ripped at and grazed from the sharp foliage and thorns. Pulling our selves upwards over the rocks and pushing endlessly through the scrub we finally reached the ridge. It was every bit worth the cuts and grazes. The view was amazing in every direction.
As we do each year, we have a day that becomes devoted to the rehearsal for the ceremonial activity on the 25th. It is a chance for our friends at DVA to put the kids through their paces and of course an opportunity for journalists to speak to the kids. So far the studnets have been interviewed for all the major netwroks and it is great to see that people are showing and interest in the perspective of our youth in regard to the campaign and the significance today.
Well Andrew has written a fantastic entry below so there isn't much need for me to say much. It is a day in the itinerary that is something to look forward to, especially for the ancient history buffs amongst us. For me, the most poignant moment of the day is the ferry on the morning as we travel the narrows the almost impenetrable small stretch of water that the allies so desperately tried to break for the entire campaign.
Today was our big day on the peninsula. We began by a walk along ANZAC cove I wasn't sure what to expect, it was difficult to connect the tiny beach we walked along with the photos that I have seen from the time.
Today was another fantastic day in Istanbul. Walking the cobbled streets of this ancient city we found amazing mixes of the old and news at each new turn. Our Turkish guide, Ozgur, has impressed me once again this year and managed to find more beauty and more facinating stories in this city than last year.
For our second day Ozgur, our Turkish guide, allowed us a later start to recover from our marathon effort the day before. We had a cruise on the Bosphorus were we had a rather large boat called the Purple Elephant all to ourselves. One of the highlights was passing a palace that was so opulent and expensive it help bring down the Ottoman Empire. We disembarked on the Asian side for lunch in a waterside restaurant. While we were there the weather turned drastically, we later found out it had been a twister, and we were all grateful that we were no longer on the water.
It is fantastic to be able to say that we made it here and we've all had some sleep. Our trip started with some drama trying to gather everyone together, and poor Taylor's plane was delayed by two hours, so we all only just made check in by the skin of our teeth. It was a relief to finally be in the air. The flight was long, but there was no rest for anyone, just time for a freshen up, lunch then the start of our first day.