We are still on the Aire overlooking the lake just outside Ypres(N50.83628, E2.90506) Kampeerautoterrein Zillebekevijver
This morning we were up and out early as were were keen to visit Ypres, it was just a 2 mile walk in the drizzle and first stop was the umbrella shop! we had a little walk around the ramparts of the city walls and noted the location of the Menin Gate for later on. On the market square The Lakenhalle or Cloth Hall houses both The Visitor Centre and the In Flanders Fields Museum, the IFFM being named after the poem by John McRae link here , the hall was almost completely demolished in 1914 but is now reconstructed finishing in 1967 and I have to say I couldn’t tell it was a reconstruction.
A visit to the In Flanders Field Museum is most definitely recommended by us, it’s dedicated to the study of the First World War, the museum is very interactive and many multimedia applications , each visitor is given a poppy bracelet which allows the interactive experience. It’s hard to remember that approx 10 million military personnel were killed or missing in action and almost 7 million civilians died also, there are many variations on these numbers and it’s unlikely that we will ever know the true number.
Tonight we went to hear the Last Post link here at the Menin Gate Memorial, this is a memorial to the WW1 soldiers of the former British Empire and it’s allies who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient, the memorial bears the names of nearly 55,000 soldiers and officers whose graves are unknown. The Last Post is played by the buglers at the Menin Gate every evening at 8 O’clock in honour of their memory and tonight we witnessed the 30,993rd occasion since 1928, a very somber and emotional experience it was too.
I’m off for a cup of tea now as we need to plan tomorrows journey, we don’t want to drive for more than 1.5 to 2 hours, we still don’t have a planned route however we do know that Munich, Venice and Croatia are currently on the list.