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Cassandra's trip to Gallipoli - Day 1 - 2 Cassandra's trip to Gallipoli - Day 3

Cassandra's trip to Gallipoli - Day 1 - 2

Along with a small group of Victorian students, Cassandra Murrell (Year 10) was selected to travel to Gallipoli for the Anzac Centenary. Keep up to date by reading her travel blog...


Tuesday 21 April

After a long plane journey to Istanbul, via Dubai, we finally made it out of the airport onto our tour bus and into the heart of Istanbul. We passed the ancient walls and many mosques to make it to our hotel into the centre of town. After dumping our bags in the hotel we were off to the Grand Baazar to taste some local delicacies such as Turkish Delight and purchase some souvenirs. We were surrounded by an incredible variety of spices, clothing, lanterns and jewellery. We ended the day with a freezing cruise along the Bosphorus River, which helped gain an understanding of the different areas of Istanbul. After the limited sleep that I managed on the plane, I happily fell asleep.

Wednesday 22 April

Today I was lucky enough to visit the main historical sites in the 'old city' section of Istanbul. Located on the European side of Istanbul, our hotel was just a short walk from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome and underground cistern network. Although the weather was rainy and cold (and included some pelting hail) I had a great day exploring the ancient mosques and buildings all around Istanbul.

This morning we started our tour with a trip to the breath-taking Blue Mosque, which was visible from our hotel window. The Blue Mosque was exquisite including ornately decorated tiles and stained glass windows.

After the mosque we ventured down to the underground cisterns and managed to get out of the soaking rain. By now I was very wet and the shelter was very welcoming, however I didn't quite expect the vastness of the cistern networks with hundred of pillars holding up a shallow aqueduct. It was pretty dark however, our tour guide, Bitzi, managed to steer us to the best photo sites along the path.

We finished our tour with a quick look in The Hagia Sophia, previously a mosque and a church. It was enormous and lit with low hanging chandeliers.

The remainder of our day was spent marvelling at the amazing tulips on display in every garden bed for the Spring Festival and travelling to Kesan, where we are spending the night.

Tomorrow we are touring the important historical sites on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Cassandra Murrell

To see Cassandra's photos, visit her Gallipoli facebook page

Cassandra's trip to Gallipoli - Day 3

Along with a small group of Victorian students, Cassandra Murrell (Year 10) was selected to travel to Gallipoli for the Anzac Centenary. Keep up to date by reading her travel blog...


Thursday 23 April

I have just returned to Kesan from my first experience on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This morning we set out in our bus for the southern tip of this historical landscape and past a series of towns, monuments and memorials all sitting in the lush green landscape of the Turkish countryside. The amazing weather allowed us to see for miles and showed us great views of the Dardanelles at every turn in the road.

This morning we capitalised on the quiet street outside the hotel with an early morning game of AFL jack-in-the-pack with most of our group and a pack of local boys who we invited to join us. We soon located our bus and started our two hour trip to the Turkish Monument.

On the way we found out that it was National Children's Day and we witnessed an incredible parade and celebrations in all the small towns and villages that we passed.

We visited the Turkish monument and British Monument at Cape Helles in the morning and were confronted by the steep topography of the landing sites. At the Turkish Memorial there were row upon row of symbolic graves with the names of all the Turkish casualties buried all over the peninsula.

In the afternoon we visited Redoubt Cemetery which holds only a fraction of those who died in the Gallipoli Campaign. It was this experience, of all the amazing views and scenes that I have witnessed today, which had the most profound impact upon me as we were able to stroll by the resting places of a large number of men who lost their lives. For many in our group this was a time to reflect on the war, with two girls finding the names of their relatives and a large number of us shedding a few tears at the sacrifice the soldiers made in fighting for our country.

The emotions and atmosphere was indescribable and like nothing I have ever felt before. I was deeply moved by a grave of a soldier who died at age 16 on the 28th of April 1915 (only three days after landing) and another of a 17 year old whose family wrote on his grave "our God son. Our son. Our family. Who fought for one goal, the goal of no more war".

In the Redoubt Cemetery there are the names and graves of 20 Australian soldiers, 7 of whom were from Victoria. However it is estimated that another 200 Australian Soldiers lie in the same cemetery in unmarked graves. Today we laid a wreath on behalf of Victoria at the memorial.

I think that being at the actual spot, at the places where the landings took place has been incredible. I think that it has enforced upon me the importance of all the things we learn in our history classroom back in Armadale as we have been given a snapshot of what it was like.

I would like to finish this reflection in truly thanking everyone who has served or is currently serving for our country and the sacrifice they made. Being here at a place of such beauty and sacrifice has given me a huge thanks and respect for the many thousands who fought and/or died in service.

Tomorrow I am visiting a local high school to meet my pen pal Berfin and later we will be camping out in preparation for the Anzac Centenary Dawn Service.

Cassandra Murrell

To see Cassandra's photos, visit her Gallipoli facebook page

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