Firstly – thanks everyone for your comments on our recent posts 🙂 It’s good to know somebody actually reads this drivel. Keep ’em coming, and if you get tired of the emails it’s easy to unsubscribe and just check in now and again. I won’t be offended, although you may receive a bloody horse’s head through the post via Amazon…
We decided to stay in Ypres an extra day as there is so much to see & do. Porridge breakfasts (made the Scottish way – with salt if you’re reading dear father-in-law) set us up nicely yesterday and today for lots of walking and cycling. The hour’s difference between the UK & Belgium meant that, phew – we hadn’t missed Holby on Tuesday as it’s on here at 9pm. What a relief!
Yesterday’s main event was a visit to In Flanders Fields Museum. Here we saw informative and moving displays and artefacts which gave us a much clearer understanding of the First World War and its long lasting effects on this town. There is a special exhibition on at the moment celebrating the contribution to the war effort by Canada. We got chatting to an elderly Canadian gentleman at the Menin Gate ceremony who told us that sadly, the tragic events in Brussels have caused many of his countrymen to cancel their planned trips to honour their dead, such a shame
If you pay an additional €2 to your entrance fee you can climb 231 steps to the top of the bell tower for incredible views over these fought-over lands. These photos show the view from above and the view from below!
We were just grateful for the timing of our climb as we did it in between the soundings of the 25 bells which peal out their carillon every hour. Although it looks like a normal belfry, 21st century technology has been installed and the clappers are moved pneumatically under computer guidance – no hunchback here to ring the bells Esmerelda!!
We had a night in, just catching the news on TV then we did a little research into where we’ll head for next.
Today we were up and about early as the sun (remember sun?) woke us around 7.30. After breakfast we spent a little time servicing Vince as his drain tank was nearly full and his fresh water tank empty. And the less said about the toilet cassette, the better. We decided to spend the biggest part of the day following the ramparts round the town – a beautiful stroll which takes in views of the moat and the flood plain. It incorporates ancient fortifications as well as wartime pill-boxes where machine gunners fought off the enemy. Around one corner we came upon a tiny, beautifully maintained military graveyard – the Ramparts Cemetery where 153 British, 10 Canadian, 11 Australian, 14 New Zealand and 5 unidentified soldiers are laid to rest. It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful and respectful setting.After paying our respects we headed back to the square for free wifi, expensive coffees and a rest for our weary feet. The weather has really picked up today with 20 degrees and sunshine so after a diversion to Aldi for provisions we are now sitting with a drink beside Vince in the sunshine. Cheers!