Pilgrimage to Crete via Seattle, Turkey, Gallipoli and Greece:-
April to June 2016

2016 marked the 75th commemoration of the Battles of Greece and Crete. Greece has largely been forgotten, hence the title of the excellent book by Peter Ewer on that battle - "The Forgotten ANZACS". But the Battle of Crete lives on and is now commemorated by the descendents of the original soldiers. It has taken on a life of its own, aided by the enthusiasm that the local Crete communities have for the New Zealand and Australians who came from the other side of the world to assist them.

Drawing on their 2011 experience, travel organiser Greg Osborne from Tempo Holidays laid on another Crete adventure, but this time offered to start the pilgrimage in Istanbul so that we could take in Gallipoli and Greece as well. This was a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see this part of the world and to visit some of these iconic battlefields with the experts.

So we decided that if we were going as far as Istanbul we should spend some more time in Turkey. The region of Cappadocia had always fascinated me with its ancient civilisations dug into the soft volcanic rocks of the region. And if Cappadocia why not Ephesus and other ancient sites? So off we went, via Vancouver and Seattle to meet a distant cousin, then on to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Izmir, Leodocia, Gallipoli and into Greece, Olympus Pass, Delphi, Athens and finally Crete.

And if all that travelling had not been enough, we flew back to London, hired a car and spent a few days in Wales. We even managed to spend a few hours on the set of the Antiques Roadshow so that I could check the valuation on a silver christening mug !!!

Paul and Colma, May 2016

Our Itinerary

Day Date Event
Day 1 Friday 22 April 2016 Depart Auckland on NZ24, arriving in Vancouver at 2.10pm local time. Uplifted rental car and headed south to Seattle. Found Cousin Cathy and settled in.
Day 2 Saturday 23 April 2016 Day in Seattle. Visited Pike Place markets and the Space Needle. Evening BBQ to meet all of Cathy's sisters and family.
Day 3 Sunday 24 April 2016 A quiet day to recover. Walked around the neighbourhood in the rain. In the afternoon went wine, cider and bourbon tasting before dinner at a seaside restaurant.
Day 4 Mon 25 April 2016 ANZAC Day in New Zealand. Headed south on the I-5 to visit Mt St Helens. Night in Portland Oregon.
Day 5 Tues 26 April 2016 Headed east along the Columbia River to reach Orofino. Dinner with cousin Margaret and Maurice.
Day 6 Wed 27 April 2016 Visited Dworshak Dam in morning, lunch with Margaret and Maurice and then east to Missoula over the Bitterroot Mountains and the Lolo Pass.
Day 7 Thurs 28 April 2016 Morth from Missoula, passing Spokane, Coeur d'Arlene and then across the Grand Coulée Dam. Picnic lunch above the dam then on to the Canada border, and on to Osoyoos (!)
Day 8 Fri 29 April 2016 From Osoyoos we headed roughly west towards Vancouver. Dropped the rental car back at the airport and took the train into central Vancouver.
Day 9 Sat 30 April 2016 We walked along the waterfront of Vancouver to Stanley Park. Took the horse-drawn carriage around the park, then back to the hotel. Met up with cousin Ron and Janine (from Canberra) for dinner.
Day 10 Sun 1 May 2016 Walked the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the morning, then the train to the airport for flight BA84 to London. This flight was the inaugural flight of the new Airbus A380 aircraft on the Heathrow to Vancouver route, so we were part of the party celebrations.
Day 11 Mon 2 May 2016 Arrived in Heathrow in the early afternoon after our night flight across the USA and the Atlantic. Stayed in the Radisson Park Inn at Heathrow ready for our flight to Istanbul in the morning.
Day 12 Tues 3 May 2016 Up early for the bus back to Heathrow Terminal 5 and BA676 to Istanbul. Shuttle bus to Radisson Blu Hotel for overnight stay.
Day 13 Wed 4 May 2016 Shuttle bus back to the airport for Turkish Ailines flight TK2026 to Kayseri and the start of our Cappadocia tour. We were met at the airport by driver and tour guide and headed west. Visited the rosk chimneys, lunch at Avanos, then to Goreme open ar museum. Stayed the night at the famous Gamirasu Cave Hotel.
Day 14 Thurs 5 May 2016 From our cave we went to the Kaymakli Underground City. Visited Saruhan Cavaranseri on the Silk Road where camel caravans would stop for the night. Then to Kayseri Airport for our flight back to Istabul and then on to Ismir and then sou along the coast to Kusadasi.
Day 15 Fri 6 May 2016 Day tour to Ephesus.
Day 16 Sat 7 May 2016 Drove east to Pamukkale, visiting the ancient city of Laodicea on the way. Paddled in the thermal waters.
Day 17 Sun 8 May 2016 A very early start for the long transfer to Denizli Airport and our flight back to Istanbul. Met by two groups who both claimed they had a booking for our transfer to the hotel. Transferred to Beyaz Saray Hotel in the old city. Met up with Greg Osborne and then went walking around Istanbul. Visited the Underground cisterns..
Day 18 Mon 9 May 2016 We were now part of Greg's Tempo tour itinerary. Visited the Blue Mosque then Topkapi Palace. Lunch in a local cafe then visited Hagia Sophia and finally the Grand Bazaar.
Day 19 Tues-Thurs 10-12 May 2016 Early morning departure but this did not beat the traffic chaos. Headed west across Turkey for Gallipoli. Visited Anzac Cove, Lone Pine before talking the ferry across to Cannakale. As we visited several of the sites twice I have grouped the two days by location.
Day 22 Fri 13 May 2016 On the ferry again then headed west. Crossed the border into Greece and changed bus, driver and guide. Continued on to Thessaloniki for the night.
Day 23 Sat 14 May 2016 Drive northwest to visit the locations where the Australian and New Zealand troops first met the German Army in 1940. We started at Vevi then over Olympus Pass and on to Pieria for the night.
Day 24 Sun 15 May 2016 Headed south along the coast to Platamon Castle and another New Zealand battle site, then Pinos Gorge, Larisa and Kalambaka. Visited the mountain-top monastaries.
Day 25 Mon 16 May 2016 Drove south from Kalambaka to Thermopylae, then over Mt Parnassus to visti the Oracle of Delphi. From there south to Athens
Day 26 Tues 17 May 2016 Walk the short distance to visit the Acropolis before it became too hot and too crowded. In the afternoon took an open-topped bus tour of central Athens.
Day 27 Wed 18 May 2016 Visited Syntagma Square to watch the changing of the Guard. Bus south to visit Phaleron Commonwealth War cemetery, then dinner in a local restaurant, before boarding the overnight ferry to Crete.
Day 28 Thurs 19 May 2016 Arrived in Crete at dawn. Departed Souda Bay for Minoa Palace Hotel then to the Australian Battle of Crete ceremonies at Stavromenos and Rethymnon. Late afternoon to the unveiling of the commemoration at 42nd Street.
Day 29 Fri 20 May 2016 Visited town of Galatos,then Prison Valley and the site of the Crete museum. Lunch on the waterfront at the old town of Chania, before returning to Galatos for the NZew Zealand Commemoration Service there..
Day 30 Sat 21 May 2016 Drove west to visit Maleme and the site of the 22 Battalion battles at Tavronits River. Visited the German Cemetery on Hill 120 above Maleme. In the late afternoon back to Souda Bay Cemetery for the main Commonwealth Commemoration Service..
Day 31 Sun 22 May 2016 A long day in the bus travelling south over the White Mountains to the small coastal village of Sfakia.
Day 32 Mon 23 May 2016 Took the local bus into town and walked around the old Ventian port.
Day 33 Tues 24 May 2016 A very long day. The bus took us into the White Mountains to the head of the Samaria Gorge. We walked the 18 kilometres down the gorge to the south coast where we took the ferry back to Sfakia and the bus back to the hotel.
Day 34 Wed 25 May 2016 Transferred from hotel to Chania Airpotr for our EasyJet flight to Gatwick. Picked up the rental car and headed north on the M23 to join the M25 and an overnight hotel at Fleet.
Day 35 Thurs 26 May 2016 Off to Wales. Headed west on the M4 to Cardiff then around the coast to The Mumbles. From there it was further west to Tenby.
Day 36 Fri 27 May 2016 From Tenby to Pembroke, then Fishguard, Cardigan and Aberystwyth. Passed Harlech Castle and Barmouth to reach Porthmadog where we styed for the night.
Day 37 Sat 28 May 2016 The main reason for staying at Porthmadog was to take the Ffestiniog Railway journey to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back. After the train journey we drove on to Caernafon and walked around the castle.
Day 38 Sun 29 May 2016 Drove out to Anglesey and to the South Stack Bird Reserve, then back through Holyhead adn on to Llandudno. Paid the toll and drive around the Great Orme Head before continuing on to Liverpool and our hotel at the historic Liverpool Docks.
Day 39 Mon 30 May 2016 A day in Liverpool to take a ferry across the Mersey.
Day 40 Tues 31 May 2016 Another day in Liverpool for the bus tour and the Beatles Museum.
Day 41 Wed 1 June 2016 Departed Liverpool and drove east. Visited Arley Hall and the Antiques Roadshow, mended puncture in tyre and then continued on to Nottingham. Visited the Rock Cemetery adn found more Froggatt graves..
Day 42 Thurs 2 June 2016 Our last day in Britain, drove from Nottingham to Heathrow, returned the rental car and found Terminal 2 for our Singapore Airlies flights to Singapore adn on to New Zealand.

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Last updated: 22/01/2017