Turkey is not off the beaten track anymore. It’s just not. More and more people are going there, which is great for its economy. And westerners gain a lot from the rich history and culture of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. For Aussies and Kiwis, there is another particular draw: Gallipoli.
Making the ANZAC pilgrimage to Gallipoli will probably always be popular. I talk to a lot of people about Turkey because I’m lucky enough to have visited there three times now. On my first visit, I went to Gallipoli. I can’t recommend it enough.
April 25th being not too long ago, I got to thinking. Would I go there on ANZAC Day?
The short answer is no.
The longer answer is, someday, perhaps.
The reason is, I’ve already had my perfect Gallipoli experience. Sans ANZAC Day. Sans a bucketload of other Aussies and Kiwis descending on a small area for a few days of madness. With nothing but a few other tourists, a perfectly gloomy, cloudy, atmospheric day, and a lot of time for quiet and reflection.
But that’s just how I liked it.
Maybe you’ll only ever go to Turkey once. Maybe you want to experience it on this emotional and important day for Australia and New Zealand. If that’s the case, then the mass gatherings on ANZAC Day might be for you.
I read a rather critical article around Anzac Day accusing those who go of simply trying to tick off something on a list when theyve been everyhwere else. I think it’s unfair to judge anyone’s motives for wanting to visit any kind of site relating to war. I do think a lot of young Aussies go there not necessarily understanding what it’s all about, which means they hopefully learn a lot. I know I did.
I encourage everyone to visit Turkey, because it’s one of my favourite countries. I also encourage a visit to Gallipoli, because it certainly deepened my understanding about the First World War and the Gallipoli campaign, as well as how our respective nations have treated its memory since.
I encourage you to think long and hard about what kind of experience you want there. I am a bit of a loner, so going there in the off season suited me perfectly. That said, I think I would like to experience the community of the ANZAC service there one day. There’s no right or wrong way to do things, just personal preference.
Has anyone been or is anyone thinking of making a trip to Gallipoli at any point?
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