Brussels - Via Vimmy Ridge

Trip Start Apr 01, 1990
Trip End Aug 21, 2002

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Wednesday, August 18, 1999

The start of a completely different adventure, bussing about Europe with our backpacks and staying in totally budget accommodation, it will be the opposite of our past week in Paris.

We were up at 6am and arranged for the hotel to get us a taxi, however when it arrived we had a total language problem with the driver and no better with the hotel doorman. Even pointing to the address did not help as the bus was leaving from an outer Paris area and he did not recognize the address. We eventually had him drive in the right direction, then ask directions when we drew closer, fortunately this worked and at just over 100 FF was reasonable.

Finally we were on the bus and on our way to Amsterdam. The bus driver seemed a nice fellow (Scottish) and our tour guide also was very friendly. We were to go to Calais, then through Belgium to Amsterdam, but to our surprise the bus driver announced that given we were well on schedule he would detour into Vimmy Ridge. Getting to see the Vimmy Ridge memorial was quite a bonus as it stakes a big claim as one of the more important WW1 battles. The memorial is owned by Canada as they were principally the Allies involved and over 60,000 died. The memorial lists all those that lost their lives and also has a series of reconstructed tunnels and fox holes. Shell craters are also still in evidence in the memorial area. It is amazing to see how close the opposing sides trenches and tunnels were, it certainly was a different style of war to now.

We then moved on to Calais where we changed buses, then to Brugge in Belgium to drop off and pick up passengers, this was also a lunch stop. The Bus stopped as close as it could to the City centre and we all walked in for lunch. We were a bit late ordering and our allocated time elapsed and we were last to leave to head back to the bus, forcing us to eat on the run, and being embarresed for holding the show up.

Footnote: The Historic Centre of Brugge is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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