It is Monday we must be in Belguim

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
Trip End Feb 14, 2010

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Flag of Belgium  , West Flanders,
Monday, February 8, 2010

After an early start and on to the ferry we arrived in France to start our journey to Yrpes.

First stop was for coffee in Beuges but when we arrived the markets wer eon. They were awesome, fresh fruit and veg, clothes, me3at , jewelry you name it they had it. We wandered around town listening to the bell tower ringing out ( often out of tune versions of songs) and had a wonderful time. We decieded to by some clementines ( like manderines) and wanted 6 but quickly realised  the guy thought we meant 6 kilos so had to stop him, obviously my school girl french needs more practice. Found a cafe to have coffee, asked for a cafe au lait ( which used to mean the equivelant to a flat white) and  was presented with a very strong esspresso and a small uht milk, not exaclty what I wanted :-)

We then continued our journey with a break in another small village, the food was all very nice and plentiful with only Ron managing to finish his lunch.

From here the plan was to find the B&B and drop our gear off before having a look aorund. When we arrived Charlotte our host had a fresh apple cake and coffee ready for us'. I now have the recipe ( although I am sure I will not do it justice.She has a keen interest in WWI so gave us an i9tinerary of where to go to ensure we do all the things we should do,.

So off we headed to Paschendale to the New ( meaning after the war had ended) Britsih Cemetary, although there were many nationalities there. It is beautifully kept but a very solemn place.2091 gr4aves of young men who died far from home with 170 Australians who ar eunidentified :-(  While we were there I heppened to look up and there was a young man who obviously needed a pee, he then saw me and decided it was better to go further down so he took off at great pace for the rear.

From here we headed to Tyne Kot this is the 'largest commonwealth cemetary in the world and it has an amazing visitors centre as you walk up you have a voice reading out names and ages of men who died and are buried there. 70% are unknown graves many from Australia. The centre has soem really interesting information about those who died in the area from all nations. They also have oletters sent home to loved ones ande other bits and peices.This cenetary has to be seen to be beleived white grave stones just ;lined up everywhere some containing the names of 4 men as they could not be seperated to bury them' It was a great palce for reflection at the sacrifice made by these young men some not much older than my girls'.

On to Ypres for more food ..... then we headed to the Menin Gate for 8pm. This is a very imnpressive memorial where they have listed all those who died in the area. At 8pm the streets are closed off and the local fire brigade go out and bugle the last post. This has been done every night swince the end of WW1, they were stopped during WWII although sometimes they managed to sneak out and do it, This is done in remembrance of those who saved their town during the war. It is a very moving ceremony and I found it very emotional standing there looking at the lists and lists of young men who died during that period. Although confronting it has been a very interesting day.

Tomorrow we are heading to a couple of museums and to see some more of the battle fields before heading back to England on Wednesday for our flight that night. Whnile I am looking forward to coming home to see my babies I wouold like to continue our travels but that will have to wait......

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