Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

Anzac Day in Athens Tour - 27 April 2018


A new day, woken again by those noisy chirpy Roosters and Chooks, but still a wonderful sound and it starts again at about 1700 each afternoon. While writing this for you they are all on full blast outside and below my terrace. Today we found the location where our nurses were working in the tented hospitals. Looks beautiful today but would have been quite atrocious for them as they arrive around the 5th August 1915 but their personal gear did not arrive until 29th August and in the meantime as they arrived, the first 200 wounded were brought in. The day they arrived had them sleeping among the rocks and thistles as the tents and beds were not in place for them. We walked 3.5klm throughout the area where they had been located and were able to estimate the locations of the hospitals and accommodation areas. Lovely area now but hell then.

Further on in our journey we located the area where the pier had been and as the water looked so inviting we took our shoes off and walked into the warn Aegean Sea. If we had taken our costumes we would have been swimming where those swam 103 years before. Our driver then found us and saved another 3klm walk to the tar road where he was to wait, but glad he didn't. After our rescue, we adjourned to the village of Portianou for a morning tea that turned into a very interesting lunch, smaller than yesterday but typical Greek. We had coffee, cheese, bread and ouzo, among the local people in the beautiful village square and shaded by a big Mousara Tree. There we met the owner of the Café, Con Kaperonis formally of Leichhardt Sydney. He went to Orange Grove Schhool, as did the children of Kathie and James, a remarkable meeting. Con left Australia in 1983 and he and his wife have settled here. His wife runs the café as he is a carpenter and is kept quite busy with many jobs.

Con gave me a cup that had a photo of a mix of Australian nurses and soldiers sitting outside a cafe during the War. That café is now a business and it was only recently that Con replaced the original windows. So, we moved chairs there and arranged ourselves into similar poses and positions that we saw on the photo. Great fun was had by all. Following our re-enactment we went to the Portianou CWGC and conducted a Service there, Con joined us and Petra read the Prayer. It was a moving moment for us and we left poppies and an Australian and New Zealand flag at the graves.

In the village is a lovely house owned by a French lady and that very house is where Winston Churchill stayed while visiting the area during the War. We walked to the house and while photographing it we chatted to the 2 little dogs, French of course! Off we went then to visit another major archaeological site, Kavirio. This site also was excavated by the Italian Archaeological Schhool at Athens from 1937 and reveals the sanctury where religious rites were supposed to be celebrated to Gods of fertility, wine and sea. The site supposes 3 building phases from the Archaic, the Hellenistic and the late Roman stages. From early Century BC to the late 3rd Century AD.

Petra had then arranged a visit to a well known female potter, who is one of the only permitted to recreate artifacts that were unearthed at the ancient settlement of Poliochne. Kathy and James bought a beautiful rotund drinking vessel an imitation of one Circa 2250 BC. We then headed home and prepared for an earlier dinner for tomorrow we leave Lemnos on the 0700 flight to Athens and some onward to home.



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