Turkey, the Crescent Sisters and Portugal – and everything else in between!

I realise I am still in the process of filling you all in on the road trip around the UK that I did with my parents and C but in the meantime of me getting around to that lots of things have been happening and I thought rather than let it all fly by the wayside like I did last year, I would fill you in and get back to the road trip news at a later stage.

Things have been super busy so far this summer, which of course is how I like it! The week after Mum and Dad left London I went to Turkey for ANZAC day with my mate Timmy. It was AWESOME. It truly was such an amazing experience. It was a very busy trip because I couldn’t get that much time off (having only just recently being away on holidays with the olds and not long before that starting a new job). So we flew into Istanbul, looked around the city for a bit, drank some beers and ate some kebabs and then went out for a big dinner with a bunch of people on the same tour as us. Early the next morning we all piled into a bus and headed for the Gallipoli national park. It took quite some time to get down there and when we did finally arrive the entrance was closed because the Kiwi Prime Minister had come along.

So we had to stop for a bit in this small town close by and the only thing there really was to do was sit in the sun and drink beers and chat to all the new people we’d met (shame).

After a while we were able to enter the park and we basically got in, found one of the last remaining patches of grass, set up ‘camp’ which was literally just our backpacks, and went about some more chatting. Over night (while we drifted in and out of sleep) they played some documentaries about the war and what our soldiers had gone through and a few speeches and so on.

Surprisingly it wasn’t TOO cold – only getting down as low as about 12 degrees – but cold enough to warrant a few layers. Early in the morning (before dawn) the ceremony started officially (with a traditional Maori band to wake us all up) and progressed through the whole service. It was incredible being there where it all happened and I have to admit I shed quite a few tears. After the ceremony we embarked on a bit of a trek up the mountain to the war memorials where they split the memorial services up between Australian, New Zealand and Turkish (but of course if you were fit enough and keen enough you could go to all of them). After the Aussie one we made our way further up the mountain to catch the last of the Kiwi one and catch up with our tour group before heading back down to Istanbul on the bus.

The sunset at Gallipoli

The next day we spent looking around Istanbul – a few mosques, the palace and of course the Bazaar before I had to catch my evening flight home. A fly-by trip but definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I would recommend to any Australian or New Zealander!

By the time I got back I was super, super busy with work. Like an idiot I decided to start back working at the pub in my ‘spare’ time and also my day job got quite busy so I was working late a lot. C and I barely saw each other for a month or so. In amongst this time the World Cup started which was extremely exciting but also made the pub busy. To top it off a few people were on holidays and a few other people left so I ended up working full time hours at the pub for two weeks ON TOP OF my full time day job. It wasn’t the end of the world though because I was saving money for when my Crescent sisters arrived in London and all the holidays I had planned.

During this time I also had to fit in a work trip to Copenhagen. It sounds terribly glam but it wasn’t really – basically flew in, spent a day in meetings, and flew back out again but at least I got a glimpse of what looks like a very beautiful city and of course another stamp on that passport!

A week later the girls arrived. I was so incredibly, indescribably excited to see them! No sooner had they arrived before they had to leave again to do some travel around Europe but the following weekend we hung out in London all together and had some really good catch up chats. We went to London Pride festival in Soho and I introduced them to some of my ‘crew’ here.

The following weekend they were off to Scotland, and C and I were setting off to the Algarve region of Portugal. I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally feel the sand between my feet, go for a swim in the salt water and experience the feeling of the salt drying on my skin in the sun. It was absolute bliss. Short-lived, but much appreciated and well worth it. We spent only 3 days there. We stayed in Faro which is a small town of not much consequence on the harbour and spent each day catching the ferry out to some islands around the coast. We ate a lot of seafood, drank a lot of beer and of course watched the World Cup final on the big screen in the evening. The temp was a glorious 40 degrees (ahhhh that glorious heat!!) and I came back refreshed, with a tan and with a MASSIVE smile on my face.

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventures with the girls, and of course my much overdue day by day account of our road trip.

Ilha Deserta (an uninhabited island off the Algarve coast)

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