The poppies blow between the crosses row on row

Trip Start Dec 19, 2007
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Trip End Apr 16, 2008


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Flag of Belgium  ,
Sunday, March 9, 2008

The only way we felt we could see everything we wanted to was to take a tour of the area. We signed up too late for the 40 person pick you up and drop you off at the hostel tour so we were forced to make the trek into Ypres and find one there ourself. Luckily for us the weather was horrible and we were the only two people on our tour. It was run by a retired British teacher who changed the tour to make it Canada focused. This experience was unlike any other in Europe as you go there to pay rememberance to the lives lost during WWI. We visited John McCrae´s bunker where he was inspired to write In Flanders Fields. The original bunker itself isn´t in very good condition as it hasn´t been reinforced. It would be very unfortunate for our country to lose something so important. Our tour took us to St. Juliaan memorial which pays tribute to the Canadian soldiers who experienced one of the first gas attacks and overcame German forces. There is a statue carved out of a single piece of granite remembering the 18000 Canadians who withstood the gas attack and the 2000 people who died.

We also visited the Tyne Cot War Grave Cemetery and is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world for any war(12000 graves). The grounds were impectably kept and the experience to walk though the grave yard was moving and full of emotion. We live a comparibly easy life today to what those who fought had to go through in the past.

During our tour we were able to walk through original trenches and witness the war scarred land. One museum we visited has maintained the land in its original state as well as war uniforms, guns, shells, pictures etc.

It rained the entire time we were there and couldn´t begin to imagine what it would be like to fight in those trenches.

Every night at 8pm since the 1920s police stop traffic and the last post is played under the Menin Gate. This momument was built to remember the 54 900 missing soldiers. All their names are inscribed on the walls of gate. When we were there there was a large crowd and it was a great experience.
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