Arras and Vimy Ridge

Trip Start Jul 04, 2011
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Trip End Aug 04, 2011


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What I did
Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery

Flag of France  , Nord-Pas-de-Calais,
Sunday, July 31, 2011

We arrived in Arras early on Sunday, checked into our hotel and started to explore the town.  Arras is a really pretty town that appears to be very old but is mostly re-constructed after it was destroyed during the First World War.

After exploring the town for a while we walked out to the Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, the British equivalent of the Vimy Memorial.  This is where Andrew's great great uncle (grandfather's uncle) is buried.  During our visit we learned that he actually drown in a canal on Nov 12th, 1918 (the day after WWI ended), very sad.  Unfortunately not as many people seemed to visit as visited Beny-sur-Mer, but that didn't mean that it still wasn't immaculate.

On Monday we took a taxi to the Vimy Memorial. It was a holiday Monday in France so it was quiet when we arrived and that was really nice. The monument itself is so beautiful - it is a famous piece of Canadian art / architecture in it's own right, built in the 1920's. They did a huge amount of restoration work on it in the past few years (we watched a video about that). We saw Jen's great-grandfather's name on the memorial and the staff there were able to give us some information about where both he and William Uloth would have fought.  Jen's great-grandfather fought a couple of kilometers from the memorial and was in the 3rd wave of the assault, and Andrew's great great uncle was in the first wave very near the visitor's centre itself. We also went on a tour of an underground tunnel that they had dug during the war to hide soldiers in and some of the trenches. We shared the taxi back with another girl who turned out to be from Digby, NS!

After we went to Vimy, we also went to visit the Wellington Tunnels, which are a series of tunnels dug under the town of Arras. In the 1800's they were a quarry, but during the first world war thousands of soldiars spent 8 days hiding in them before the battle of Arras. During WW2, they were used as a bomb shelter. You could see markings and drawings on the walls left by the soldiers, including ones in pencil that have managed to survive. It's pretty amazing.
Then we went shopping at a big supermarket (I bought some shoes!) and walked back to town for dinner. Unfortunately the place I saw that served giant potatoes with toppings was closed for vacation, but we found a nice place with outdoor seats in the main town square.
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