Sunday, 10 March 2013


Tuesday 5th March 2013

Forgot to mention in the last blog that the weather has been absolutely marvellous since we arrived – the air has been a bit cold in the mornings but fine and very sunny during the day – quite warm in fact, so much so that some of the time we had to remove our jumpers as well.

Today was the chocolate factory visit (no chance of someone missing that) and then the remainder was a tour around Ieper (Ypres) – this also could not be missed.

The chocolate factory visit reminded us of the need to be very discerning about our selection of chocolate and that the quality is matched by the price – I guess chocolate making is one of those things that we all think would be a nice occupation/pastime but in reality is very involved and very technically minded.

We caught a bus for the second part of the days activities around Ieper – it took about an hour to get there, so a chance to see a bit more of the flat countryside – saw a few canals along the way – very straight and quite a deal wider than what we are used to – there were a few flickers of a smile from Diane regarding cruising these canals; and a few minutes later came the inevitable “No we aren’t”.

Our first stop was Hill 62, one of the few hills in the area from where the occupiers had an obvious advantage over those attempting to move further down the hill.
The Hill 62 memorial - this was an area of fighting principally
involving the Canadian army

... and as such is dedicated to their memory

the trenches - life could not have been more unbearable than what
awaited above

Some of the trenches (or maybe recreations) were also there – following some recent heavy rain, the mud that was still there gave a dismal feeling to them and we certainly wouldn’t like to have been in amongst any of this; the visit here coincided with a busload of schoolkids (English) – they were very well behaved and well organised, but the suggestion made to one of the teachers about leaving the kids behind was greeted with a smile, a nod and a “maybe”.

Further on we arrived at the Tyne Cot Cemetary.

There is no documentary needed by anyone when it comes to war graves and cemetaries; having seen those in the Normandy area from WWII, these, though smaller individually, but much greater in number, from WWI give testament to the total futility of war and generations on we still wonder why it occurred and why it still happens.

There are so many graves marked as “Unknown soldier”.

The memorial walls list the names of those soldiers for whom there is no grave at all – their remains have yet to be found (some may never be found) - over 50,000 names are engraved into the stonework

After this we were off to the city of Ieper (pronounced “Eeper”) – this is the local name for the city, although the English name of Ypres has pervaded the books and articles about this city with this sad association.
The Menin Gate in Ieper
read closely the inscription
Just part of the list of names of soldiers not yet found

We were told the story that during WWI it was completely destroyed – not one building left standing; the residents would not allow the war to remove their city in such a way, so they found photos of and plans for the buildings and rebuilt the city in exactly the same way as it had been – when you look at it, you can only marvel at their persistence and determination to bring it back to the way that it had been.

At lunch - with a raspberry beer - I think that
the thought was, as it is fruit related then it
must be healthy

Look kids - Mum's eating mussels

The poster for the film - located in the hotel. We managed to
see the movie when we came back

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