ANZAC Day in Greece by Kirsty Leggatt

by Susannah Grant posted on 28 April 2015

Hi everyone, this week I wanted to write briefly about ANZAC Day. It is specifically an Australian and New Zealand commemoration but many of you may have heard about it this year and have wondered what it represents. I have included a brief overview below, along with a couple of photos and a brief travelogue of my time in Greece. Many apologies for my late post today but I’ve been in transit.

25th April this year marked the ANZAC Centenary — 100 years since the ANZACs landed on Gallipoli.

The ANZAC tradition — the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship that are still relevant today—was established on 25 April 1915 when Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula, using Lemnos Island as a support base and hospital station.

It was the start of a campaign that lasted eight months and resulted in some 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8,700 who were killed or died of war wounds or disease. Among the dead were also 2,779 New Zealanders, about a fifth of those who served on Gallipoli.

ANZAC Day memorial
ANZAC Day Commemoration. Commonwealth War Cemetery, Phaleron

We were in Greece for ANZAC Day this year, which was very poignant — standing 200 miles away from the shores of Gallipoli where so many men lost their lives. It was a very moving service and was attended by many representatives from all over the world. I felt privileged to be so close to ANZAC Cove and Lemnos Island. It really was a day that I will remember always, particularly as my Grandfather fought in WWII and was captured in Greece.

I did some sightseeing whilst there — I love Athens. The history is amazing and it constantly astounds me that the Greeks were so industrious and architecturally advanced. It really is awe inspiring to wander the old roads where the Greeks walked thousands of years ago.

I particularly love wandering around the Plaka, an old historical area of Athens. It’s very touristy but the restaurants offer great Greek food and the shops are fun to browse in. Some places also have fantastic views of the Acropolis. Monday evening we ate at Dionysus, right below the Acropolis. The food was delicious and the view was spectacular.

Each time we’ve been to eat at the Plaka, an elderly man with an old Polaroid camera has offered to take our photo for 5 Euro. He meanders around the tables of tourists and asks very politely to take your snap shot. The first time we got our Polaroid taken was five years ago! We repeated the process recently with an updated photo but no increase in the cost — no inflation there!

I have always found the Greek people to be extremely friendly and very helpful and it’s always a joy to visit. If you haven’t yet ventured to Greece, I really recommend that you pop over for a visit.

Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis at night
Acropolis at night