The Easter bunny must have got lost – no choc eggs for us this morning! We are up at 5.30am, bags out by 6 and down to breakfast. A bit of a shambles, the “hot” food is cold, and Tony is chasing them up for muesli, milk and Horrors! No coffee either! There is not a lot of choice, and the usual rabbit tucker is there. Still wary of eating salads as the tap water is undrinkable, but we figure we have been lucky so far and hope we are slowly adapting to the lack of drinkable water. We don’t think we will get used to salad for breakfast, and not seen many people actually have any. The usual small sausages are there with the boiled eggs. We are trying to steer clear of the sweet stuff and pastries, usually with success.
By 7am we are on the road to Troy. We had been told that the site itself is not much, and when we get there we find that there is not a lot that has been restored. We figure that is the reason why people have made the comments. We didn’t feel that it made the site any less interesting. We are told that Troy had actually been re-built nine times, destroyed through fire and attack. They usually rebuilt on top of the old city, so as you walk through the site you can clearly see the different levels, it is something to marvel at.
There is a replica of the wooden horse for the obligatory photo shot. Cynthea is juggling cameras and drops Tony’s. Bugger, the lens is jammed, and it won’t start up. Hopefully the photos are safe (should be).
We hit the road again and call in at a supermarket that also sells camping gear. One or two need a sleeping bag and blankets for tonight, and we need to stock up on snacks to keep us going through the next 24 hours. We figure that food and drink will be expensive on site (and dodgy?!). We get fruit, chocolate bars and drink (no alcohol allowed), and also get a foam sleeping mat. Phil gets a sleeping bag that is rated minus 7, and figures that will see him right. We are sceptical of the claims. It scans at the checkout at TYL499, and he queries the price. It comes back at TYL15, and on the bus we find another label that rates it at 0-6 degrees. He is not a happy chappy.
We cross over to Gallipoli on the ferry after a short wait at the wharf at Canukkale. There are many buses waiting to make the crossing, and we wonder how many will be their tonight (over 600 buses!). We stop at the Boomerang Café for a proper barbeque that On The Go puts on for all the tours it is operating. There are 8 or 9 other buses there already, and long queues for the food. When it comes our turn to be served there are no hot chips or pasta, so we have a bit of a wait and enjoy the sunshine. A great lunch of chicken kebabs, turkish meatballs and lamb strips with bread, chips, pasta and salad.
We arrive at the site entrance a bit after 3pm to find there are many buses here already. The gates at ANZAC cove (a few kilometres away) are closed until 6pm, so we are not allowed any further. We had hoped to be able to visit the site and museum before the big crowds, but the local Jandarma (police) won’t allow it. We decide to get off the bus for a wander around, but then we are told we are allowed through after all. We are lucky to be in the first group let through. The museum is very crowded so we don’t stop. We see first hand the distance we have to travel, and realise that it probably isn’t possible to get to all the services. The bus is allowed to stop at Lone Pine (the Australian Memorial). Tony is pleased we can visit now, as there is a short time between the Australian and NZ services, and probably not enough time to make it to both. We have a look around and are then driven past the other sites.
The bus lets everyone off about 700m from the site of the service, just past ANZAC cove, from here we are walking and there is no access to the bus or any belongings until tomorrow afternoon. We have to carry everything we need, and it was a bit of a mission trying to work out what to take as the weather could be changeable during our night out in the open. Those with a disability are looked after with a shuttle service, so Cynthea and a couple of others use that. She nearly ended up more disabled as there was a step down into the bus just past the driver. She wasn’t impressed when one of the staff told her he had fallen himself, but failed to warn others as they boarded.
We expected to have scanners for bags, but we just walked through airport style scanners and there was a manual bag search, the security check was not particularly thorough. No alcohol or opened bottles (even of water), no sharp objects, etc. We were given a welcome pack containing a booklet on the campaign, a commemorative programme, rain poncho and rubbish bag.
We walked to the site of the dawn service, hoping to be on the grassed area so we could lie down and sleep, but it was already full so we opted for seats near the stage. Most of the group were close by as the first of us there had secured a heap of seats for us. We wandered around the site to see where food and drink was, choices are limited and reasonably pricey. At 8pm the sun set, and it got very cold with a cool breeze on our backs. We settled in for the night and the foam mattress came in handy as a wind break and padding for the seats.
At 8.30pm the Reflective Programme began playing. This was a mix of music (RNZAF and RAAF bands) and mini documentaries telling the story of Gallipoli, and some live interviews with those whose family were involved. It was very, very moving as we listened to stories the diggers wrote, to the letters that they sent home, and learnt of the terrible conditions they had to endure. And here we were rugged up in jackets and sleeping bags, no one dared bitch about the cold.
Because Cynthea was “special needs” she was allowed in a different area that had more room so she left hoping it would be more comfortable. Those left on the seats either tried to doze sitting up, or lay on seats where they could. Tony and a couple of others lay on the ground in front of the seats, and that worked well until about midnight, when we were asked to sit in seats so others could sit down. We tried to explain that we weren’t taking up any more seats than we were already ready using, but no joy there. We ended up huddling together listening to, rather than watching, the remembrance programme that played through the night. We dozed rather than slept, and figure that even that was more than those poor buggers got all those years ago.