The view of the Blue Mosque is spectacular from the roof top restaurant at the Seven Hills Hotel.
The view of the Blue Mosque is spectacular from the roof top restaurant at the Seven Hills Hotel.

Road to Gallipoli Day 8: The hawker and the wounded

Australian Regional Media photojournalist Stuart Cumming has spent the week filing stories from Turkey, as a part of coverage of Anzac Day centenary commemorations.

Stuart will file an online blog from each of his days in Gallipoli, and will also reflect back on the diaries 100 years ago of Australian solder Vivian Henry Noble.

 

Day 8, April 27: I was the target of particularly talented salesman today.

He stood out in a city of enthusiastic merchants.

And for once, I didn't fall for the trader's ploy.

The young man started a conversation with me while I was looking for the entrance to the Sophia Mosque in Istanbul.

"It's closed," he said.

"Come back tomorrow."

The Yerebatan cistern is an incredible structure below the streets of Istanbul.
The Yerebatan cistern is an incredible structure below the streets of Istanbul. Stuart Cumming

I was a walking away when he called out again, this time starting a conversation about Anzac Day and the Gallipoli commemorations.

He explained to me the significance of a nearby blooming bed of tulips, sewn so that when they reached full colour, they would represent a rug pattern.

FOLLOW STUART'S JOURNEY TO GALLIPOLI

I put the next bit down to fatigue, but he managed to convince me to walk with him to his family's shops. They sold jewellery and other items, but the majority of their business revolved around rugs.

The whole time he said he wasn't selling anything, and to be fair, that was true.

Tulips are in full bloom around Istanbul.
Tulips are in full bloom around Istanbul. Stuart Cumming

However, his cousin did not take long to arrive and start pushing the hard sell. Then another relative subbed in, explaining how easy it was to get the rugs back to Australia.

An American couple, aged in their 50s, walked through.

"They have just bought nine rugs," the salesman told me.

The husband had a distant look in his eyes, as though he was trying to spot the bus that just ran him over, reversed back and then clobbered him again.

I remained resolute however, taking a card form the salesman and telling him I would be back one day. I doubt he is holding his breath.

2GB radio journalist Natalie Peters delights at the Turkish confectionary at the Haci Ismail Hakki Zade store.
2GB radio journalist Natalie Peters delights at the Turkish confectionary at the Haci Ismail Hakki Zade store. Stuart Cumming

Istanbul was a wonderful city.

Its airport hasn't been as much fun. It's time to go home.

 

FROM NOBLE'S DIARY

Tuesday April 27, 1915: Nothing exciting. We can still hear the fight ashore- wonder when we'll be able to get back.

The boat left about 2 o'clock for Alexandria.

Tiny Wright one of my chums was wounded the same time as me I overtook him going to the beach he was wounded in the foot.

Just as we were going on board the "Lut-zow" another boatload of wounded came along and in it was another chum Sam Marshall who was wounded in the same place as me.

Everyone agrees that all the Aust. and N.Z's fought like sons of guns.

 


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