Turkey - Istanbul - Gallipoli PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 19:33
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Day 12: Istanbul to Gallipoli Wednesday 3rd October


Instead of the briefing as usual when we set off on the bus we were treated, as a warning to all travelling fools, Andy's latest story of how he was relieved of his money by four or five Turkish gorillas in a night club. It conspired that he and a New Zealand backpacker, who'd joined our group on the cushions earlier, had set off to find a club and were stopped by what they thought was a Turkish businessman, expensively suited and driving a big car, who offered to take them to a club with girls. Once they arrived they were surrounded by Turkish girls who did not speak English but these were quickly replaced by others from Belarus. On realizing they were in the company of prostitutes they quickly got up to leave but were confronted by a barman who presented both of them with a bill for five thousand lira. On saying that they didn't have that kind of money they were roughly led to an office where four large Turkish gorillas began to frisk them. After taking their money and credit cards they were allowed to leave poorer but wiser for the experience. So far we have been lucky not to have more of these stories to tell.

After a, frightening at times, drive down a long winding road that meandered its way around an open field system that rose and fell towards the Sea of Marmari and the Dardenelles we arrived at our next home for the night; a campsite on the shores of Gallipoli.

The tents were erected in double time and a meal of mushroom soup, salad, chips and meat balls and spaghetti in a tomato sauce were prepared, tabled and cleared away in the time it takes to order the meal of the day in a French bistro. In less than hour we had made camp, eaten a four course meal and were seated back on the coach to pay our respects to the young lads who'd forsaken their lives half a world away from their homes on the beaches of Gallipoli. I couldn't help thinking that if the ANZAC forces could surmount the stones, briers, bushes and shrubs while dodging bullets and shells from superior Turkish numbers positioned on the heights above, then poor old England stands no chance on the manicured fields of Eton. A rather sobering place to be, irrespective of nationality or age, sitting there as the sun set below the horizon of the Dardenelles and stretches its warmth over the wind swept graves nestling amongst the pines and trenches.

Got back to the campsite in darkness and quickly made our way down to the beach to sing a few a songs and drink tubes of beer: Turkish not Aussie. Got Mac to sing 'And the Band played Waltzing Matilda',

When I was a young man I carried my pack
and I lived the free life of a rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback
I walzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915 the country said son
better stop all your rambling there's a job to be done
and they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
and they sent me away to the war.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the key
and midst all the cheers hand waving and tears
we sailed out for Gallipoli.

Can't help wandering whether any of the young lads laying out there in the dark spent any of their young lives night clubbing like their fellow countryman sitting on our bus happily telling his story of how he lived to survive. Nevertheless, thanks Mac, a fitting end to a day to remember.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2012 16:49