Monday, 10 September 2012


Finally I'm able to upload some photos from Gallipoli (Bulgaria being one of the best countries in terms of internet access. Also, I'm in Bulgaria now).

I left Drew and the BrokenVespa(tm) in Istanbul a few days ago. After Gallipoli we were going to head in separate directions, me heading north through Bulgaria and Romania and Drew heading through Greece, possibly to Italy. I was bored with Istanbul, I had seen enough of the city and I had also seen my bank account and then decided it was time to move on, and quickly. Drew still had a few things to do in Istanbul (like Unbrokening(tm) the BrokenVespa(tm)) so he was a few days behind my leaving. So maybe it won't be until London where I'll see the little red Vespa again, most probably with new welds and pulling up on the back of a truck...

The ride to Gallipoli is a moderately boring one. Starting with crossing the Bosphorus Bridge to the side that has a small sign that says "Welcome to Europe". I'm sure people doing that journey every day get sick of that sign. The road through Istanbul flows OK, a bit like the traffic in Melbourne heading in or out of the city and it's not until the second/first/other airport of Istanbul that the traffic finally drops off. There were police EVERYWHERE controlling traffic when I went through. Most entrances to the highway had police standing there starting/stopping traffic, which in Brisbane is a job relegated to traffic lights. Once closer to the peninsula there are options to stray off the main road and go through smaller villages where you can share the road with tractors and cow poop. The landscape does change to something that looks very Victoria, possibly like Mornington Peninsula which is what someone who had something to do with the Anzac Cove monuments said.

I had tried to find some camp grounds via the interwebs around Gallipoli where I could save some money for a few nights while I explore the place. My searching had revealed Hotel Kum which said it offers a large camp ground, a restaurant and a shop, this sounded like exactly what I wanted. Others had just found a spare patch of land to camp so that was an option too, but with my limited space for food I'd rather be somewhere with a shop at least. Once I arrived at Hotel Kum I saw the large block of land reserved for "camping" (yes, the quotes become important). I went down the driveway where it looked like a bunch of the staff were sitting around. One of them got up and came over and I asked "Camping?" and he said "Camping, no tent". Confused I asked what he meant by "no tent", even offering to set up my own tent like I had intended. But no, this "camping site" did not allow tents. It seems the word "camping" gained a very specific localized definition where only people in a 200 meter radius of this point would understand. I later found out they offered rooms but they didn't try and sell one to me then. They mentioned there was camping 500 meters down the road back towards the info center.  

I tried this other camping place next, greeted by a large security fence and a guards office. While I was trying to figure out if I was in the right place I saw a few people enter and exit via the gate, which is important later. So I get off the bike and try and find someone in the office and ask about camping, to which they reply there is no camping because it is the off season. Right. Got it. Summer in Turkey is the off season for camping especially with this traffic in and out, I expect this place to be filled during the winter months. So I told him that someone else had directed me here and then he said there was another camp ground 500 meters up the road, curiously the same distance that the previous person had given me.

Again I travelled up to the next site. This one turned out to be a large picnic ground with a security gate  over the road in but with parking available on the other side of the main road through the park. I found someone who spoke very limited English and learnt that camping there cost 25 lira a night... That's a lot. I contemplated it for a while but with the free(not) wifi and the moderately nice scenery and the distance from the nearest town I decided to wear the expense and stay the night. After setting up my tent I found out they also charge 1lira every time you want to use the toilets, luckily you can negotiate the turnstile without paying. Also because of the language barrier I had to speak to a person on the phone who would translate for me, but this person spoke worse English than the people running the place. Some Turkish people there for a picnic could speak English and translated a few times for me but I think this was done under duress. And I totally recognise that I should have learnt some basic Turkish before I sound like I'm complaining that no one can speak to me...

My camp site for the night.

The beach infront of the camp site...
In the evening another motorbike turned up and enquired about camping. This was Simon, another Australian who has been travelling Europe on a UK registered Africa Twin. He's going as far as he can without the need for a Carnet, and in this part of the world that means the Iranian border. He had enquired about the price for camping but it was too much for his budget and was going to find a spot off the road to sleep for the night.

In the morning I packed up camp and headed off to look around this area. And a little north of the camping/picnic ground where I had stayed I saw Simon's bike again, he wasn't next to it so I assume his was off swimming or walking or something. I headed to the northern most grave sites to look around.

I went to the northernmost grave site which was still within the protected area. In this site was a small wooden gate and about 50 graves. Most of the grave markers started with "Believed to be buried here" which is a trend that continued for most of the other sites I visited. There were a few markers that did not have that phrase but the majority had it. Most of these sites had a mix of Australia and and New Zealand soldiers, depending on what the site was for, but I did see some British graves in there too. Now that I think back to it I don't remember seeing any Indian graves, who were also here as part of the allied forces (but lacking very many mentions in the signs).

Near the Beach grave site, just south of Anzac Cove.

Just north of Anzac Cove, this is the memorial site, actually located on North Beach.

Actual Anzac Cove. Today they were recovering a car that had gone over the edge, you can see the skid marks on the left of the photo where it went off.

Between the memorial site and Anzac Cove is the Ari Burnu grave site. In this one there are less graves starting with "Believed to be buried here"

From the southern end of Anzac Cove. Rolled car in view and looking very different to 1915.

The wreath laid at Lone Pine.

The sign, the lone pine at lone pine, and the monument at the rear.  I tried to think of Australian last names of people I know that might be here I could only think of one, which I found. Everyone else I know has a very generic name...

And that's where the Australian Tour ends. Further along the one way road are mostly Turkish monuments which I didn't stop at too often because I couldn't read many of them. Some had English translations, but they always referred to the Anzac/British forces as "The Enemy" which seemed a tad odd. And like everywhere else in Turkey most hills have Turkish flags on them, this also seemed a tad odd.

Turkish trenches along the top of the hills just near Lone Pine. Lots of Turkish tour groups up here.

Uhhh... I guess I should stand here for long.
After exploring that area I went over to the Dardanelles to see what they were all fighting for. 

The bunkers at Kilitbahir, the narrowest part of the Dardanelles, with Çanakkale on the other side.

More bunkers.

Looking across to Çanakkale.
 At this point I was meant to go down to the southern part of the peninsula to see where a majority of the British forces had landed. But after an uncomfortable nights sleep and potential sickness I headed back to Eceabat where I ended up at Hotel Boss 2 (very good by the way) for only double what I had paid to camp the previous night. So that ended my Gallipoli tour. 

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