Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
572Trip End Ongoing
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Normally, I drop these pain killer sleeping tablets to make me sleep. I'm not a great lover of taking meds, but if I sleep, Lucy does as well, which is all good. However, last night I hit the beers, and I don't mix beers and drugs, but I slept like a log, well at least until 06:30, that's when the mother of all hangovers kicked in. I downed some drugs, then got my act together. There are a couple of known hangover cures, so John, who owns the Shellhole, cooked me a nice greasey English breakfast, to kick the headache into touch !!!
Everytime we come to Ypre, we always buy chocolates. In fact, one year we brought Lucy's mum here, and she stole all the samples !!! We always use the same Tea Shop, as we consider them the best. John asked us where we bought from, and after telling him, he said that the Tea Shop is the oldest and the best, and if you mentioned John and the Shellhole, you will get a discount. Once the shop opened, true to John's word, the discount came, so if you read this mum, the chocolates are in the post !!! We also bought up on cherry beer for both the girls, and various others. Once done, we headed off into the Flanders
A lot has to be said about German efficiency. This cemetery is one of my all time favourites. It is so German and so functional !!! In fact, since we were here last year, they have built a little centre with video screens showing the devestation of the surrounding area. There are over 44000 people buried there.
Another Canadian memorial for the victims of a gas attack. Yes it's large, but as I told you yesterday why the Canadians build these things. It is impressive as well. Everytime I come here, I stop and look. I will be the first to say that I am not a great lover of Canadians (other than you Sandy!!!), but I am always impressed by their memorials.
The largest Commonwealth cemetery in the Flanders area. As we are coming up to the 90th year, a visitors centre has been built as well. Once, there were three bunkers, guarding the German's strong points. They were taken out, and after the war, incoporated into the site. Row upon row of headstones, all with roses attached. The smell was amazing, so un Belgium like !!! There is also a large Kiwi memorial here and a blank wall, awaiting more names as bodies are still being uncovered. A nice touch are the two German headstones in the centre. They arrived as enemies, left as friends.
When in Belgium, two comments are true. It rains alot and there is always a smell of cow shit (except at Tyne Cot, because of the roses!!!). Today, the weather was glorious. We got lost on numerous roads, but eventually we arrived at the Old Cheese Dairy. We sat outside, Lucia drinking cherry beers as per usual. She is addicted to that shit, but then again, she has Flemish blood. Croques were ordered and eaten, then we just sat in the sun for a couple of hours, soaking it up. I could have stayed there all day, it was so good
We came here as there was an Australian memorial. It's set up on a hill, and all around are pock marks in the ground from the battles that were fought here. The remains of bunkers are littered amongst the trees. I had never been here before, but it was very relaxing traipsing around the site.
Pool Of Rememberance
We came here in '98, and it was dark, both in the sky and the feeling. The tunnellers had dug in over 50 metres, then the sappers laid around 18 mines. 17 went off, one remains still to this day. In the crater, a pool had been created, and fish now swim. It felt so different this time. There was life all around, unlike the deathly feel from last time.
As we neared the border to France, Ed became excited. As he travels on a Frog passport, we all, except Lucia, burst into the French national anthem. Lucia was sad, she was leaving behind her ancestory, but we can always come back and watch her drink more cherry beer !!!
One last quick shop at a bottlo for wine. It's quite easy spending a shitload on wine and champers, but then again, this is France where wine is so cheap, and you get loads for your money. Eventually, we found the train and lined up with the other punters, then it was our turn, and not long after, we were back on British land. How sad !!!
Just in case you are wondering, I do not like wars. I come over here for the history. I have been to Normandy, and I found it a little to in your face, where as the Somme and Flanders, are so relaxing. For a daytrip from the UK, it's great, and I can see Lucy and me doing it again. Would you like to join us again Zento ???