Ever since secondary school after hearing the stories of the ANZAC’s battle in Turkey I knew I had wanted to visit this place and pay my respects to the fallen soldiers. In 2016 this becomes a reality.
I jetted off from London with two close friends on our way to meet our travel guide in Istanbul and for my dream experience to begin. We had a long drive the first morning to get from Istanbul to ANZAC cove but it was well worth it. When we arrived it was one of the most surreal feeling I had ever felt. The whole group went quiet and it was like you could feel the energy and stories of the place as you come to terms with the fact that you were standing in the exact place such an important battle had taken place so many years ago. It was a very moving experience and as I found out later it was just the beginning.
We spent the afternoon exploring the area and getting a slight feel for what the soldiers must of been feeling as they come to shore in 1915. You walked past private grave sites and war cemeteries and this is when it really started to hit home that just how many and how young most of these men were. Lots were the age of me when I first learned of this war.
The evening of the 24th we slept on the banks of the shore where the boats had landed. It was a very cold evening and the sleeping bags were doing little to assist us. They were playing clips of soldiers telling stories and scenes of the war. If the cold wasn’t making it hard enough already to sleep then not wanting to stop watching the documentaries sure did. At the exact time, the first boat landed some 102 years ago the last post started playing and the realization set in that at this very moment so many years ago a bloodbath was about to begin. It gave me goosebumps to think about.
The service was very moving and afterwards, we enjoyed a nice hot coffee to try and warm ourselves up before the drive back to Istanbul.
This trip was not one that provided amazing scenery, swimming in crystal clear water or indulging in cocktails by a pool but it was a very raw and emotional trip that I would encourage anyone thinking about it to go on. The feelings I got during my time at ANZAC cove are hard to describe but it was one trip I’m sure I will never forget.