• 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Gallipoli

  • Menin Gate Last Post, Ypres

  • Rhododendron Ridge, Gallipoli

  • Tyne Cot, Belgium

  • Villers-Bretonneux, France

Rod Margetts Visits Gallipoli in the Off Season

We advertised the October Gallipoli tour this year as “Gallipoli without the crowds”. In company with a very nice group of people I spent the first two weeks of the month finding out how different an October tour experience can be.

Istanbul, with the usual cruise ships in, was busy but not too hectic. Although the regular tourist spots were well patronised, it was easy to get around the many interesting sites on the Boronia itinerary. The real test, though, would come with the move down to the Gallipoli peninsula.

My most recent exposure was on the April tour, including Anzac Day. We had stayed in Eceabat, on the Dardanelles coast, and the town was crowded with many tour groups passing through daily. This time Eceabat was quiet, with many more locals than tourists in the streets and cafes. The ferries across to Canakkale on the Asian shore were less crowded and Canakkale itself was very pleasant. The autumn weather was perfect, fine and mid-20s throughout the tour, making the days outdoors very comfortable.

The real pleasure was virtually having the battlefields to ourselves. In the seven days on the peninsula we saw only two other tour groups and there was no conflict with access to the many sites. Lone Pine, in its natural state without tiered seating and large TV screens, is a beautiful place, while the Anzac beach front and cemeteries were wonderfully peaceful.

I understand the importance that April at Anzac Cove holds for many people. However, for anyone wanting some quiet time to contemplate and wander the ground, October is a very attractive option.

Article written by Rod Margetts - who is a battlefield tour guide for Boronia Travel Centre.
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