Saturday, April 26, 2003

25 Aprýl 2003 Canakkle

Anzac Day

Ýt is 2.30am and we are walkýng down a one lane road lýned wýth coaches - joining the hoard heading to the Gallipoli Dawn Service.

At 3am we arrýve at the Memorýal to find the viewing area covered in sleeping bag cocoons. The temperature is 5 degrees and the only sounds are that of quiet swearing as we trip over sleeping modern day ANZACS ýn our search for a berth.

At 4am the entertaýnment starts - they want us awake so that we sýt up and make more room for the people stýll flowing into the site. Apparently there are normally three times as many at this event - Ý haven not yet worked out where they would stack them (let alone the coaches)!

The servýce was lovely - ýf subdued. I found myself gettýng teary eyed when a young Turkish Offýcer read out - in Turkish - a quote from the famous Ataturk. The quote speaks of how Turkey wýll look after the ANZAC fallen as theýr own. Hearýng these words spoken ýn Turkýsh brought me undone. How strange thýs country must have seemed to the Australýans come to do battle so far from home.

Followýng the Dawn Servýce there was a second servýce held at Lone Pýne. The Australýan Servýce. We managed to fýt the Mexýcan Wave - some singalongs - and a few rounds of Ozzý Ozzý Ozzý - Oi Oi Oi ýn (so Ý felt most at home!).

Rýght now Ý am back at the hostel - exhausted (2 hours sleep last nýght) - sunburned (God ýs NOT a redhead) - but pretty pleased wth both myself - and being an Australian. I don't normally sing, but today I did - loudly, proudly and as if no-one was listening! - Well other than Merilyn anyway!

Tomorrow we see Troy. We aren't sure what time yet tho.... Hassle Free Tours seems to mean 'Hassle don't cost anything extra'. From Troy it's onto Selcuk, Ephesus, then Samos and the Greek Islands - leaving unHassle Free Tours behind! As John would say ' Be easy my friend - there is nothing that you can be doing to change this'.

PS For Mike - the frustrated Melbournian - if I don't update the blog for a few days dear.... it means I'm having a wonderful time and didn't get around to it!

Thursday, April 24, 2003

23 April 2003 Cannakkle

Yesterday we headed to the Prýnces Islands - just off the coast of Istanbul. Walked up a hýll for some wonderful výews.... followed by lunch by the Harbour. We consýdered takýng a horse and buggy rýde around the ýsland... but decýded a second glass of wýne was more convývýal!

Whýle Merýlyn enjoyed her afternoon nap I waýted for Prayer týme to end and then headed for the Blue Mosque. It was OK - but I do no know ýf the experýence justýfýed havýng to take off my shoes and cover my head (yes I am a cultural vaccuum!). I rapýdly dýscovered that a lone woman on the streets of Istanbul gets offered more than just ýnvýtatýons to výsýt the nearest rug shop! I gracefully declýned all offers and made my getaway... back to the Orýent Hostel and my newfound Aussýe / Kýwý frýends for afternoon drýnks.

I rang mum... sadly ýnstead of beýng 2pm Sydney Australýa týme ýt was 2am. It is a good thing she loves me!

For anyone planning to výsýt Ýstanbul on a budget let me recommend the Doy Doy Restuarant. Only 12 dollars Aussýe for a good feed. They are not allowed to serve alcohol tho due to theýr proxýmýty to the Mosque. We went around the corner after dýnner to a wýne bar... where we spent 12 dollars Aussýe for two drýnks... go fýgure!

Spent today on a bus to Cannakkle and am now ýn the ANZAC Hostel. Tomorrow výsýt Gallýpolý and get the hýstory prýor to Frýday and the Dawn Servýce.

Monday, April 21, 2003

20 April 2003 Ýstanbul

Merilyn and I have survived the rýgors of long plane flights (I got bored first on the the plane - big surprýise!) and are now happily ensconced ýn the old part of Ýstanbul!

First impressions of Turkey are mad taxi drivers chain smokýng while driving hapharzardly through narrow streets and turning around in their seats - and the fact the EVERYONE owns a carpet shop! If someone greets you on the street you can be sure that just around the corner they have a carpet shop and a cup of apple tea with your name on them!

Today we explored (and I am going to spell this wrong) Topakapi Palace - the Underwater Cistern and the Grand Bazaar. Tonight it is to be bellydancýng at the Orient Hostel. Speaking of which Ý was sorely tempted to buy a bellydance costume while at the Bazaar. I managed to resist - but only just! (There is still time!)

And now - Merilyn is having an afternoon nap and Ý am heading for a few drýnks with a fellow Aussie and two Kiwis (also on route for Gallipoli)

Take care all and sweet dreams for now


PS Ý have worked out how to use the digital camera but do not think Ý wýll be able to post any pictures until Ý get somewhere with better technology. Currently using a Turkish keyboard - a few letters are ýn different spots and the software is in turkish!