Day 19

Now to take up somewhere near where I left off, Athens. We were half an hour late getting into Athens from Heathrow UK and when we arrived at the terminal, we could not find our booked transport to the hotel. We got talking to another couple of Australians who are also going to Gallipoli and they were booked into the same hotel so they had the same trouble. Finally after another half hour wait, a very flustered young lady called Cassandra turned up, they had been caught up in traffic and later when we're were also caught up in traffic, we understand just what they meant.

There was a street demonstration down the main thoroughfare so that area was all blocked off Some of the streets around Plaka where our hotel is, is not much wider than a goat track, and nearly as rough but all very vibrant with motor bikes, scooters and vehicles all trying to traverse without incident. Many are one way streets as well as there is no way 2 vehicles could pass each other.

We went for a walk after checking in and just up from the hotel there was a bazar type of place with a markets, shops and outdoor cafes. As the boys were hungry as usual, we stopped at one of the outdoor cafes for a meal, grilled octopus, souvlaki etc and as previously mentioned, cheaper than the UK. I had the grilled octopus, Anthony and Christopher shared a meal for 2 of assorted octopus, prawns and other types of seafood while Bronwyn and Nicholas shared a assorted cooked meat plate for 2 consisting of lamb chicken and beef we think. This was all very delicious and cost a total of €88 and that also included soft drink for the boys, a glass of wine for Bronwyn and a local beer for Anthony and I, $122. for the five of us. A lot different to what we were paying in London.

Once back at the hotel, I went up to the 7th floor, the roof top actually, where I was able to take some terrific photos of the Acropolis and several other temples all floodlit.

Next morning, I managed to sleep in as I had forgot to change the time zone on my phone-alarm and Bronwyn had paid for a vehicle and driver for all day tour around Athens, starting a 8am so I only managed to bolt down a bowl of cereal before our driver appeared. His name was Darsos, and he has been born in Australia as his parents lived in Sydney, he was 10 months old when his family left Australia and returned to Athens.

Darsos took us first to the the Acropolis where I only went as far as the ticket office with a great view of the temple and the rest of the family did the climb to the remains. They spent around 1.30 hours there and they said they could have a spent longer. From there Darsos took us down to the remIns of another temple then on to see the hourly changing of the guards. These are the soldiers that wear the long stockings, short skirts and boots with Pom poms on the toes and they do almost ballet type steps. These guards are selected from the regular army for their looks and height.

From the changing of the guards, that take place outside the prime ministers residence and Parliament House every hour, Darsos then drove us right around the beautiful coastline where we stopped for lunch at another sea food restaurant where we again had grilled octopus and battered fish and octopus cooked in wine. All our meals were very tasty and we were not allowed to leave until we had sweets, these were a type of Apple crumble formed into a type of jelly and apple rings and orange rings.

From the restaurant, Darsos drove us to the base of where the remains of the Zeus temple, God of the sea, is situated. Again, the family climbed the steep slope up to the temple while I sat and talked to Darsos.

It was a funny day as it was a "pick on Nanny " day so every time I raised my camera I got picked on, even Darsos got into the act.We arrived back to the Hotel and the final "insult" was Darsos parked right over a drain where I was to get out.

He really was a great guy with a good command of the language which added to the fun. We went a different direction for dinner and got to another open air restaurant where we all tried a different type of Greek dish each.

Now after a good nights sleep, we are waiting in the Hotel lobby for our transport down to the cruise ship, the Azamara Journey for the next stage of our epic journey.

Day 21-The Cruise.

Life on board this beautiful ship has been wonderful to date, the service is excellent, the food is varied with a different theme each night, Italian, French and Greek in one of the restaurants, other types on board are the poolside grill, another is a Steak Restaurant and there is also a fine dining A La Carte at $75 a head extra per nigh. Needless to say, we have eaten each night in the "all you can eat" buffet as the boys including Anthony have hollow legs. There are only 2 restaurants where there is an extra charge, $25 a head at the steak restaurant and the other as I have already mentioned, the Fine Dining 5 course meal.

So far, even with 3 mtr swells and winds to 30 knots, I personally have not felt any ship movement, she is so well stabilised that I had to look out from our balcony to see we are actually moving, and at around 18 knots at times. We sailed from Piraeus, the port near Athens and the next day docked at a Turkish port where we went ashore to visit the ancient ruins of Epherus near Kuduasi.

These were the ruins of a town dating back to the 3rd and 2nd century BC that had been destroyed by an estimated 8.5 earthquake. Work is still being done uncovering and restoring where possible, the temples, a huge library, avenues of shops and even a communal toilet and directions to a brothel engraved into a pavement slab. We sat in an amphitheatre that sat several thousand people with perfect acoustics for plays as well as being used for Roman Type games, man against man and man against beast. 450 gold coins with Hadrian's head on one side was recently recovered in perfect condition near this site.

We walked from one end to the other through the restored streets to where the buses were waiting to pick us up. We were then driven to a railway museum where among the old steam trains, we ate our packed lunches provided as we left the ship. As it was quite hot, we were quite pleased to have some shade for our picnic type of lunch.

After lunch, we were driven to a fashion show, showing one of the industries of the area, high fashion leather coats and other products made from tanned lamb skin leather. The leather coats were absolutely beautiful and so light and soft BUT very expensive. Most I saw were priced around the $1000 upwards, even leather wallets were in the 100s of dollars and ladies purses up to the thousands. Of course I bought half a dozen.- In my dreams.

This Company also made fox fur coats and one evening short coat had a price tag of $30.000. All these prices were in U.S. Dollars. After that tour, we or I hoped to go to a flea market but NO, the next tour was to a Silk and Wool carpet business where we were shown carpets starting at several thousand dollars to many many thousands of dollars. What did surprised me was that in both outlets, sales were made to several fellow cruisers so all was not lost for these outlets.

Once back on board, we set sail around dinner time for our next port, Myrina and the next morning, we anchored in the bay at Myrina Lemnos Island where our troops originally set sail for Gallipoli 100 years ago and it was also the site of the military hospital camp under canvas for those wounded during and after the landing and days following at Gallipoli. There was an organised tour out to these sites but it involved a lot of rough walking to I decided not to go and so did the family.

Myrina being a fishing village looked much more attractive with its quaint narrow streets, taverns and shops which were mainly shut in the afternoon until 6pm being Monday. Where some shops were open, there was no pressure to buy and everyone was so friendly, one old fellow "asked" by much hand waving and producing a map, where I was from and when I said Australia, he kissed me on both cheeks and hugged me. He could not speak English nor could I speak his language but he expressed his feeling the best way he could. The locals were all so emotional and many wanted shake hands or hug. Just on the outskirts of this village there was a huge castle way up on the rocks above the village that had been built by the Venetians during one of their occupations of this Island.

After walking through some of the streets then sitting at one of the Taverns, I returned to the ship and after dinner, attended one of the lectures about the landing and conditions the ANZACS faced.

We sailed around 8pm for Canakkale where we will be tired up alongside for 3 days while we tour the battlefields and attend the Dawn Service on the 25th. The next days tour was of the battle sites and the first day, we had to go through Passport control even though we had already been on Turkish soil. The queue seemed to go on forever and the breeze had turned freezing cold so it was a pleasure to get to the Passport office and out of the wind and light drizzle then it was on to the bus, the same bus, No 8 and driver and Tas our guide.

After leaving the ship, we drove a short way to the vehicle ferry to go across the Dardanelles to the Gallipoli peninsula  and the first major battle site was at Lone Pine, our 2nd destination after the Dawn Service Beach landing site.  The Lone Pine site is a very impressive memorial with all the names of the fallen by Battalion numbers, there were around 12 or more killed from Dads battalion, the 23rd. Battalion

From there, we went up to the Nek, the site of another famous battle field and then to the New Zealand site where their soldiers fought at Chunuk Bair. Preparations were well under way for the services on the 25th at these memorials.

At another site known as Hill 52, I met and shook hands with the son of the Commander of the Turkish Troops, now an old man, the commander was Mustafa Kamal Attaturk and his son was proudly waving the Turkish and Australian flags and meeting and greeting everyone. He is Royalty in this country and his father after the end of the the First World War was elected their President and only wanted Peace between our countries. I felt rather privileged meeting him and being able to shake his hand.

Seeing the terrain and the conditions that faced our men, I am now rather pleased that my Dad was NOT in the first lot to go ashore in the first weeks but the conditions he faced were just as gruesome as both sides had by that time were well entrenched and they were subjected to grenade, sniper and rudimentary bombing, hence their losses. Lone Pine was called that due to there being only 1 big pine tree on top of the hill and it still stands among what was carnage in 1915. The run back to the ferry was quite quick as by then, it was after 7 pm and it was 8pm before we got back to the ship for dinner.

Yesterday, we woke to freezing rain so it was a dash to bus 8 and then another drive to the ferry. This time, we were delayed while on the ferry for quite awhile and as it later was revealed, the President of Turkey was on another ferry while some of his Secret Service Men in big black cars were on the ferry we were on and NOTHING moves on the water while the President is in the area until he was transported to the other side.

This delayed us somewhat so it was a dash to get to the sites we were to visit. These sites were mainly the Turkish Memorials to their fallen and their grave sites. One Memorial was a huge structure, 48 mths high at at the site of some of their big gun emplacements. Another site was where their gun emplacements totally protected the narrow entrance to the Dardanelles. With these guns in place on this site and on the opposite shore, their had full command of the entrance and caught many of the Allied Ships in their crossfire and also by the laying of floating mines in rows across the entrance.

At the Beach Cemetery soldiers were buried where they fell but now it now has rows and rows of named and unnamed headstones. This was the landing site on the 25 of April 1915 for most of the Soldiers and it was on to a totally exposed beach and the remains of one of the boats that was towed ashore is still in the shallows. The Turkish people are now reconstructing the trenches that was up on the cliffs above this beach. When we were there, there were dozens of Australian and New Zealand surf lifesaving boats including on the beach in readiness for the service on the 25th as I guess they will be rowed out to lay wreaths in ANZAC Cove.

Once back to the ship and around 7pm, we had a briefing of what to expect for the overnight vigil and Dawn Service on the 25th, We leave the ship at 9 pm on the 24th and then driven to the first of 4 checkpoints and we are expected to arrive on site around 1am, dawn is due to break around 5.10am and the service to take around an hour and a half then being a Mobility Pass Holder, Anthony and I will be driven the 3.5 klms to the Lone Pine Memorial where there will be another 1 hour service. From 12 to 3 there will be scheduled bus pick ups to transport us back to the spot to get a tender back to the ship as she will have been drifting somewhere off ANZAC Cove while we are ashore.

Day 28-ANZAC Day

This morning, the 24th is a scheduled tour of a War Museum and later a children's carnival but being rather tired and also with a painful shoulder and knees, I have elected to stay on board and miss this tour in readiness for tomorrow events. The family went on the tour and again, they said there was a lot of walking so it was wise of me not to go.

We were to leave the ship at 9pm tonight for the following mornings Dawn Service, well that was brought forward to 7pm and this time the vehicle ferry left from beside where the ship was docked so we thought "good" this will put us over closer to the first check point early.

The buses were loaded onto the ferry and away we went across to the other side and that was as far as we got for a good hour plus. Again the President was close by so NOTHING moves, we saw one ferry leave with a load of big black vehicles which we were told contained his "minders" body guards and secret service police plus a huge contingent of motor cycle police and other police. So we sat and sat and sat until close to 10pm then the ferry was allowed to dock.

Our driver tried to make up some time but the congestion on the narrow roads did not permit this. We got to what the driver thought was the 1st checkpoint and an official got on and asked to see our wrist bands, wrist bands, what wrist bands? We had arrive at the 2nd check point so back up and drive another 5 to 10 klms to where Check Point No 1 was where we all checked and a wrist band attached to our right wrists then on to Check Point No 2 where our wrist bands and passes were again inspected. By this time, it is getting close to 11.30pm.

The next check point was where we had to leave our bus and some were told it would be 1 to 2 hours before transport to the Dawn Service area could be arranged as only small 12 seater buses could get to that site. We also had our backpacks checked and another wristband attached.
Being the holder of a Disability Pass meant Anthony and I were able to get a seat to wait for this bus and we were given seats on the next available bus up to the Dawn Service site, by now it is almost 1am

The site when we got there was packed out with people packed like sardines in the grassed area and some of the Mobility Seats taken by non pass bearers who refused to move. Anthony and I ended up in the New Zealand seating area and it was absolutely freezing, we were not able to sit together but one behind the other.

While waiting for Dawn, there was constant entertainment in the form of short film clips of Untold Stories of Gallipoli another was a Jack Thomson movie about a Telegram Man, how the sight of him coming through the gate meant another telegram to the family that their Husband, Son or Father had been killed.

The Dawn started to break and we were reminded that our discomfort was nothing to what our fighting men went through that first morning of the 25th of April 1915. The service was very moving and then there were the speeches by the Princes, Charles and Harry. Tony Abbott, our Prime Minister, and the head of the Opposition Party Bill Shorten and other dignitaries from the UK, New Zealand and other countries, the service to the form of Speeches Hymns and Prayers. Just offshore, there was a ghostly line of Navy ships including our HMAS Anzac and HMAS Success.

The Azamara Journey was also out there as well with other cruise ships but they were kept out almost to the Horizon. Bronwyn and the boys watched a TV broadcast of the services on the ship.

Then there was the task of getting around 10.000 people up to the next couple of sites. 2500 to the New Zealand site Chunuk Bair and the rest to the Australian site at Lone Pine. We were to go to Lone Pine over three and a half Klms away and we had to again wait for shuttle buses, those without mobility passes had to hike this trail, a narrow bush track that wound up through the bush and I was told, very rough in parts, the New Zealanders had a further four klms to hike to their own memorial service area.

The seating bays were emptied one by one and those of us with passes just had to wait for another little bus to take us up to the Lone Pine Memorial site. We arrived there around 9am and my pass was for Bay A1 which turned out to be one of the best bays as we were just to the right of the stage, had there been a stage area and we were in the row just behind the more disabled and wheelchair folk.

Just before the 11 am service, in walked Prince Harry and Prince Charles, followed by Tony Abbot, Bill Shorten, then French and Canadian and some Turkish dignitaries. Harry was the most popular and he stopped right in front of us to talk to an old chap down in the front row. As people called to him, he would respond with a smile and a wave. What a pleasant young man he appears to be.

The service got under way with mainly short speeches from each of the dignitaries, Tony Abbots was the longest speech and Hymns and Prayers. The Lone Pine Service was even more moving I felt than the Dawn Service and the most moving was the presentation of ONE only surviving Widow of an ANZAC, well into her 90s to attend and her greeting to a son of the last Turkish Soldier to die. A very poignant moment.

Once that service was over we were told it could be up to 6 pm before we could get on our buses back to our destinations. A bit of a howl went up about this from some but most just accepted this as Anthony and I did. We just tried to keep warm and space blankets and woolen blankets were handed out by the organizers in charge of these events. 

The queue for a hot drink took the man next to us almost One and a Half hours to get and some of the toilet queues were almost as long. Anthony caught up with an ex shipmate and they filled in a bit of time together and I tried to catch a few zzzzz but it was almost too cold to sleep.

Our bus was in this area was bus No 269 and with over 300 buses plus other vehicles, it was total congestion. Our bus was finally called close to 7 pm and then there were the congested roads to contend with, the ferry across to where the AZAMARA was expected to be so it was closer to midnight before we got to the dockside passport control only to find the ship was out in the harbour and the tenders had not been lowered. Bronwyn told us that the Capt had been ordered out of the harbour several times and they had only just then been given permission to enter the harbour and they lowered the tenders as the ship was still moving to try and get to us as quick as possible.

We finally got on board and were given a hot drink plus one of the dining areas had been opened and hot food prepared for us who went ashore, around 100 from this ship. Having almost nothing to eat from the day before, I had a quick hot meal then bed and the next mornings tour had been put back an hour or so because of our late sailing to Istanbul.

Reflecting back on attending this special 100 year Service to honour the lives lost to both sides of this carnage called WAR, plus the survivors whether wounded or not.  One wonders about the futility of War with the estimated total of losses from both sides. Between 50.000 and 60.000 Australians are believed to have served on Gallipoli and a total of 8709 were killed with another 19441 were wounded.

Of the 11.000 New Zealanders who served there, 2721 died and 4752 were wounded.  The Turkish soldiers numbered some 500.000 and their casualties were estimated to be between 250.000 to 300.000 with around 87.000 killed.  24 Canadian Graves are to be found in 3 cemeteries on the peninsula and there are 11699 unidentified buried in the various cemeteries as well.

The Turkish Commander of their forces, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was so sickened by the futility and total waste of life and injuries to both sides that after the war was over and he had been made the 1st President of Turkey, he wrote: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side, here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well." "Johnnies" the Turkish name for Allied Soldiers and  "Mehmets" Turkish soldiers.

In the 8 months of this campaign before the Allied Forces evacuated this peninsula, there was constant heavy artillery barrages from the Turks as well as hand to hand fighting with gun and bayonet with the trenches between the opposing forces only 6 to 10 feet away from each other.  They were so close together at times, a type of truce would be honoured by both sides, mainly to allow stretcher bearers to remove the wounded and the dead. One old Turkish gentleman, invited to attend one of the nights on board our cruise ship related that his Father told him he had never tasted chocolate until an Australian soldier threw a bar of chocolate into their trench only feet away between the 2 opposing forces.   There is also a huge memorial statue showing a Turkish Soldier carrying a wounded Australian soldiers in his arms to a first aid post. After the First World War, the Turkish and Australian soldiers became brothers in arms and a strong bond exists between our countries.

Getting away from the Ceremonial sites took a lot longer than first expected The traffic congestion was not really anyone's fault, as I mentioned there was over 300 BIG buses, 50 plus seaters plus the mini buses and I do not have a clue to the number of them.   Dignitaries and their minders plus their vehicles were the first to get away and the Turkish police or Jamdamara as they are called had trying time controlling everything. There was also the added security an events like this would command and on goes the list.

The Gallipoli Peninsula is basically a strip of land bound on one side by the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles on the other side, so narrow in parts that cruisers could fire right over the land area to ships and defences on the other side.

The Turks have just as many if not more Cemeteries and Memorials to their fallen so there is only a "one way" narrow road and side roads around this Peninsula so this lead to the traffic congestion and also there was nowhere to park 300 buses close to the sites as well.   The 25th of April ANZAC Day is honoured each year but usually there would only be around 4 to 5 thousand attending the services at Gallipoli but this one saw over 10.000 plus and the dignitaries attending, hence the congestion and getting the attendees away after the services, quite a mammoth task. Some people were ready to blame just about everything. Some were just plain ignorant and proved this by sitting on graves and walking over flower beds.

It was the same when we got back to the dock and the ship was out in the bay, the Captain tried many times to get his ship in close to be ready for us, knowing we would all be tired, cold and hungry but the Port Authorities would not let him in until they were ready.

It was not anyone's fault that for the past 27 years, no rain fell but there were light showers, well really only sprinkles on this ANZAC Day. In all it was hours and hours of just sitting around cold and hungry until we got back to the ship. The ones I felt sorry for were those in Wheelchairs or older than me and I was finding it difficult as well. Both my knees were just so painful, I guess from the cold and sitting for so long and my legs and feet have swollen to 3 times their normal self and still rather painful and I took my last of my batch of painkillers I brought with me this morning.

Now a quick run down of what happened after ANZAC Day, As soon as we were all on board, the Captain sailed, hours behind his intended sailing time so the next day's arrival in Istanbul was put back to 9 am and the scheduled tour of Istanbul also put back. Bronwyn and I got up for this tour along with Nicholas. Anthony and Christopher were going to stay on board so Bronwyn and I left with our usual guide Taz who would be our guide for the last time. The first stop was at the Topkapi Palace where Anthony and Christopher caught up with us when they decided at the last minute to come, and they were able to get the last bus leaving, anyway, among other thing on show there, is supposed to be the biggest diamond in the world but Anthony, Bronwyn and the boys said they could not get anywhere near enough to see, the place was so crowded. I had decided to sit under a tree in the shade and not bother with going into this place and it appears I did not miss anything as every one was disappointed due to the huge crowds, no one saw anything. 19 MILLION live in Istanbul and I reckon half were in the square and the Palace and the other 2 sites we went to.

From the Topkapi Palace we then walked through some beautiful tulip gardens to the Hagla Sophia. This was once a mosque but now it is just a beautiful building and I think it is to become a museum but now we could only admire the beautiful mosaics and paintings.

After a coffee, we then proceeded to the world famous Blue Mosque. Here, Bronwyn and I had to wear big blue scarves that covered our arms and hair and we had to remove our shoes, plastic bags were provided for the shoes so we could carry them with us. boys were not permitted to go in as they had shorts on but we later found out that they could have wrapped a blue scarf around their waist and that would have covered their legs.

The inside of this Mosque is where the name come from with the walls and ceiling adorned with patterns made out of blue tiles plus stained glass windows etc. The mosque was crowded with both tourists as well as worshipers and there were others praying on mats around the outside. By then it was getting late so for the last time Taz got us all back on the bus to head for the AZAMARA Journey Cruise ship that had been our home for the last 10 days.

We showered, changed into our finery for the "black tie" ball and I must say how handsome the boys plus Anthony looked. Bronwyn looked very pretty as well and I wore my new black lace dress and accessories. We had dinner out on the deck of the ship then we headed for the coffee lounge before going into the Ball. This was when a silk hanging that had been made just for this Centenary Cruise was to be auctioned. It is a one off, piece of artwork. The opening price was $5000 Australian dollars and it rose to $10.500 for the final bid. This silk hanging was made showing a Turkish Soldier with a wounded Australian soldier in his arms and made locally by one of the fine silk and woolen carpet makers and it was a 30 knot to the centimeter piece of fine artwork and it should only increase in value over the years.

After speeches the dancing started and as it must be nearly 25 years since I danced, Anthony and I gave it a bit of a swirl before I sat out the rest of the evening. We all turned in a little after 10 as we had to have our packed cases out for collection by 11 pm.

Day 30-Leaving the Azamara Journey

Next morning, it was a smooth passage getting off the ship and the mini bus was waiting for us all.

We seemed as if we were going to be well out of town en route to our Hotel but we were actually, just going around in a big circle and we are quite near the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace just off the Sea of Marmara. The street our hotel is in leads down to the sea with interesting street markets and cafes one street above us. The streets in many places are only 1 car wide and and cobbled and also very steep, the Hotel has been rebuilt but was once an Ottoman, built building dating back to early last century. There are many of these building in Istanbul and the old quarter where we are and along the Bosphorus.
Once settled into our Hotel, we took a half day lunch cruise that took us past many of the old Ottoman type buildings and Mosques, some dating back to the 16 and 17th century along with old forts that guarded the narrowest part of the Bosphorus.

Also along this inland sea, there are some of the most expensive homes and hotels in the world. One home was recently sold for over 700 million to some Oil Sheikh and an old palace that has been turned into a Hotel has rooms that start at $3000. A NIGHT without breakfast.

The average Turks wages is around $400 Australian dollars A MONTH. Someone like our guide or the driver, would be getting $300 to $400 a month plus tips. Basic food is quite reasonable but restaurant meals are on a par with Australian prices where we have been, being a tourist area. In the little fishing village today, I bought everyone ice creams, Turkish ice creams in waffle cones and they were doubles ones around a dollar a cone. The same here in Australia would cost 4 or 5 Dollars.

Istanbul has something like 2000 mosques plus there are several hundred churches and synagogues and as the captain on the boat said today, they are quite often side by side living in harmony, if only the rest of the world was as tolerant.

Day 32 

After a couple of exciting days where we spent several hours wandering through the Grand Bazar and window shopping, eating at a fish restaurant under the Galata bridge that crosses the Bosphorus and then meeting and having dinner with the President of the Turkish Amateur Radio Society, Aziz Sasa TA1A

The dinner with Aziz was another highlight when he presented me with one of their "emergency vests, a medal  they had struck for Amateurs attending the Gallipoli Service as well as a Certificate. To my knowledge there was only 4 from Australia, my son  Anthony VK8NCS and an Amateur from New South Wales and his wife plus myself. Others, I think 5 or 6 travelled on cruise ships or other means to get to Gallipoli. I am not sure just how many New Zealand Amateurs may have been there out of the 2500 ticket holder but I hope there were some.  It was time to repack our bulging suitcases and get ready for the long flight home.

Day 34-Back to Brisbane

Our flight back to Brisbane was uneventful with several hours stop over in Singapore until we landed we landed and then we learned there had been flood rains that had only hit that day and the highway up to where I live .

Day 35-Finally Getting Home

We were delayed one day as the Sunshine Coast was closed because of flooding on the roads and the rail system was also shut down with wash always so we were stuck until Bronwyn was able to, on the 4th phone call, find us accommodation at a motel. It was 7.30 the next night before we actually got home when the Highways were finally opened and our booked transport was able to get through to us. This brought to a close, a most moving and memorial 5 week trip.