24.04.2009 - 25.04.2009 20 °C
April 24th & 25th
This morning was a 5am wake up call for the long drive to Gallipoli and a quick stop off at Troy on the way. After such an early wake up, there was lots of snoozing on the bus. Our Kiwi friend who had made a habit of taking photo's of people sleeping on the bus didn't bother this morning...thank god! We had left on time and thought we were making good ground to get to Gallipoli early enough to get grass at the Dawn Service area but apparently we weren't! We powered through Troy in just 20 minutes, our guide said he has done it in 12minutes in previous years! From that you can probably guess that there isn't much to the ancient city of Troy, especially after what we saw at Ephesus. On the way to Troy we had seen a number of tour buses so we all started to freak out that they were all going to beat us to Gallipoli!!
We decided we only needed half an hour to get lunch and do some food shopping for the sleep out at Anzac Cove. It was a mad rush! Everyone decided to split the tasks, with one person from a group getting lunch and the other to get the food. I took the food getting job which proved to be quite stressful! This supermarket was invaded with Aussies and Kiwi's, running up and down the aisles trying to figure out what things were, the locals looked a bit confused. All I managed to get was bread, cheese, crisps, biscuits and chocolate...we were going to eat very healthy for the next 24 hours! And what did Grant get us for lunch...Burger King!
We were all back on the bus within half an hour except for one person who was 4 minutes late. Off we went to get the 2pm ferry. There was another tour bus in front of us, so we egged our bus driver on to race him, we managed to overtake it but then a car slowed infront of us and they got back ahead! Then Grant jokingly yelled throw ice at the bus... Just then it clicked we had all forgotton to ask for no ice in our cokes from BK, we had all drank the water!! Then one of the kiwi's said that's great, now we are all going to get no sleep, be freezing and have the shits!
We got to the ferry on time but the worst happened, that bus we were racing was the last bus allowed on the ferry! Our tour guide was fuming, he was out of the bus yelling at the ferry people because that bus didn't buy a ticket it just drove on but we had a ticket. But it was all in vain, we missed the ferry and our chance at getting grass at Gallipoli which meant we could have got some sleep.
There was excitement in the air as we reached Gallipoli and the security check points. We got off the bus as fast as we could then seen the massive line at the security checkpoint! It was nice to hear so many Australian accents from the volunteers working there.
So we didn't get a grass patch but our group managed to get seats in the stand right at the front, so we had a good view for the dawn service. As the hours passed, the layers of clothing went on. We all tried to hold off on our final layer for as long as possible but by about 8.30pm the sleeping bags came on. It was so uncomfortable in the plastic chairs and as we were in the stand we were hit with the wind. I tried to get some sleep by lying on the boarded floor between the seats but I still didn't get any. The night just dragged on it what felt like forever, the more tired I became the colder I got! At about 3am Grant and I went for a walk to kill sometime and had some tea, but I was too tired to stand so we only killed half an hour! Luckily there were little documentaries playing on the big screens all night.
Just before the dawn service I managed to fall into a deep sleep only to be shocked awake but super loud music, they were about to show a film scrolling through those who had died in the war. Then the dawn service began. During the first prayer I bowed my head and closed my eyes, I actually fell asleep and woke when they said amen, I went to say amen but my body was so tired it wouldn't listen to my brain! The dawn service was very moving once I woke up a bit. When the Last Post was played it was very moving, it always gets me!
After the Dawn Service it was time to walk the 3km uphill to Lone Pine for the Australian Service. The Kiwi's then had another 3k's to walk on top of ours to get to the NZ service at Chunuk Bair. We had plenty of time to get there so we walked pretty slow after Grant got a kebab for breakfast (...something he later came to regret...). The rest of us smart people stuck to our bread and crisps for breakfast. Every 5 mintues or so our group had to have a layer stop, as it got hotter, each layer came off! The Lone Pine service was the highlight for me! We had very little shade from the burning sun while we waited for the bus, but the poor kiwi's had no shade at all, and they were red raw!
Besides the tiredness and the cold, attending the dawn service at Anzac Cove and the Australian service at Lone Pine was a great experience and something we will never forget!