25 April is Anzac Day, the day when Australians and New Zealanders remember those who have given their lives in conflict. And no conflict means more or resonates more powerfully than Gallipoli, the ill-fated Allied campaign on the shores of Turkey which saw more than 10,000 Aussies and Kiwis killed, and twice that number injured. Ally Oke, Topdeck Travel’s resident storyteller, explores the enduring draw of Gallipoli.
It’s a pilgrimage swarms of Aussies and Kiwis make every year.
Swathed in national colours and bearing a heart full of pride, thousands gather at the shores of Gallipoli to pay their respects to those who braved the battlefields of the First World War.
It’s patriotic. It’s tradition. It’s Anzac Day.
But that’s not the only motivator.
Sure, attending the sacred site that we grew up learning about in the classroom is a stirring experience on its own. To see for ourselves where these tragic events unfolded serves as a vital reminder as to why it must never happen again.
But it’s the incomparable feeling of comradeship that is the biggest drawcard for young travellers. Under the heat of the Turkish sun, two nations come together to commemorate those we lost and celebrate the legacy of the Anzac spirit.
It’s an experience that will shape you, move you and stay with you forever – and if you needed any more reason to take part, we’ve listed a few below.
To acknowledge the past
They say in order to shape the future, we must first look to the past. A visit to Gallipoli allows us to recognise the flawed operation that was the First World War – and this eight-month battle – which resulted in the tragic circumstances that we know today. We learn many important lessons from tracing the footsteps of the Anzacs; lessons we should never forget.
To connect with your history
It’s important to remember that the names on the Roll of Honour were much-loved husbands, brothers and sons. Many of us feel a connection to Gallipoli because we have relatives who served on its very shores – which gives us all the more reason to don our ancestor’s medals and remember those nearest and dearest.
To form new friendships
Hailed for their camaraderie, the experience of fighting side by side during the First World War inevitably strengthened ties between New Zealanders and Australians. Celebrating this bond at Gallipoli offers the chance to leave (let’s face it, sporting) rivalries aside, channel the mateship of the soldiers and come together for an occasion you’ll never forget. Because there’s nothing like standing tall with your travel pals in arms.
To keep the Anzac spirit alive
Despite the sombre atmosphere that resonates at Gallipoli on Anzac Day, there’s no denying the strength of the Anzac spirit. It’s the courage, ingenuity, sense of humour, larrikinism and mateship of the Anzacs that have remained in our minds and hearts – and it’s these very characteristics that define our nations’ identities today.
To discover Turkey
A place once characterised by its atrocities, the Gallipoli peninsula is now preserved as a national historic park, with the notorious Anzac Cove bound by rugged headland. Venture away from the Holy Grail site, and you’ll find the rest of Turkey is just waiting to be explored. From the chaotic streets of Istanbul to the idyllic coastline of Fethiye and the postcard-worthy balloons of Cappadocia, this warm and friendly nation will capture your heart.
About Topdeck Travel
Topdeck Travel designs epic trips for 18 – 30 somethings. Started by friends in 1973 who shared a passion for adventure, Topdeck now shares that passion with travellers who want to see the world, find friends and share stories in an authentic way.
*Thanks to Topdeck Travel for letting us share their blog & photos. View the original here.