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    • Day 46

      Days 44 and 45

      October 3, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

      Day 44
      Day 2 of Battlefields tour.

      Photos - 1 and 2- after attending a short rememberance ceremony at the Menin Gates we had dinner with our guide at a really nice hotel in Ypres, Belgium called the Depot. Volunteers conduct this service which includes playing the last post at 8pm 365 nights a year in appreciation of all those who served - an incredible comittment
      Photo 3 - Tyne Cot - largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world
      Photo 4 - letter advising parents their son is deceased
      Photo 5 - remains of caterpillar mine crater - one of a series of mines that were placed along the German front line by tunnelling

      Day 45
      The tour of The Catacombs in Paris is approximately 2 km long and deep underground. It contains the bones of over 6 million people. There's 140 steps to go down and 112 to get out. The height dips to 5' 11" in some places. It's a bit freaky down there quite macabre and a bit eerie. Thankfully reasonably well lit !!

      Photos 6 and 7- Catacomb's tunnels
      Photos 8 - 10 - bones

      Last night in Paris heading for Singapore via Dubai tomorrow night.
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    • Day 45–46

      Days 42 and 43

      October 2, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

      Day 42 was meant to be utopia for John who found a sports bar to watch the rugby league grand final live. He then went to the Prix de l'arc de Triomphe (Melbourne Cup of Europe). At least the races part was good !!
      Photos 1 - 3- sports bar and races
      Video 1 - race crowd do the Viking clap like the Canberra raiders

      Day 43
      Photo 4 - Adelaide Cemetary outside Villers Bretonneux. An unknown soldier has been removed from this cemetary and placed in Canberra

      Photos 5, - 7with our guide at the John Monash Centre - a museum and interpretative centre that commemorates Australian servicemen and women who served on the Western Front during the first world war
      Photo 8 - battlefields and war cemetaries visited today
      Photo 9 - Memorial to women at the Lochnagar Crater
      Video 2 - Lochnagar Crater (tunnel dug under major German command centre in order to blow it up)
      Photo 10 - memorial to all animals used in the war effort - horses, mules, dogs and pigeons
      Photo 11 - Pheasant Wood cemetary at Fromelles - newest war
      cemetary created following the discovery of 6 mass graves in 2008
      Photo 12 - VC Corner Australian Cemetary - the only cemetary that has just Australian soldiers (known and unknown)
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    • Day 6

      Ypres Meinin Gate

      July 2, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      1000s of Australian soldiers marched between the lions and through the Menin gates on their way to the Ypres salient in 1917.

      The memorial is located at the eastern exit of the town and marks the starting point for one of the main roads out of the town that led Allied soldiers to the front line.

      The last post has been played here every night since 1928 (except WW2) to honour those who have fallen.
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    • Day 61

      WWI Battlefields - Ypres

      July 2, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      We crossed into Belgium and the town of Ypres. It was completely flattened in the war and rebuilt by the end of the 1920's. Its destruction was used as a symbol of the devastation of war. It was described as a red stain on the ground, not from blood, but from pulverised red brick dust caused by bombing.

      It is well known as the home of the Menin Gate Memorial. Soldiers would pass through the gate in the towns ramparts on their way to the battlefields.

      You can't really see it at the moment as it is six weeks into a two year renovation. We will go to the nightly memorial service there tomorrow night.
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    • Day 2

      Ypres oz. Ieper oz. Jeper (po domače)

      July 16, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Luštno belgijsko mesto, katerega imena nikakor ne znava izgovorit. Bežen pogled na wikipedijo pove, da so ga osvajali naprej Rimljani, kasneje še vsi narodi naokrog.

      Znan je po barvanem tekstilu iz srednjega veka, tam nekje od 13. stoletja naprej, najbolj pa po vlogi v 1. sv. vojni, ko so se fajtali okrog mesta in ga v celoti porušili. Obnova je trajala več kot 30 let, da danes lahko spet občudujemo mestece z znano Cloth Hall in cerkvijo, arkado na vhodu so pa dodali še pred obnovo leta 1927 v spomin cca 250.000 padlim vojakom Commonwealtha.

      Prišla sva tudi do Lefeta, prespala bova pa ob jezercu v bližini.
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    • Day 16

      Last Post in Ypres, Belgium

      June 30, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Last night we went to Ypres which is where every evening at 8pm they close the Menin Arch to present the Last Post ceremony.

      We drove through the arch into the main town square where we were lucky to find a park and then grab a meal at one of the many restaurants on offer.

      We walked back towards the arch and found some Belgium chocolate shops. Couldn’t resist a quick purchase.

      The Menin Arch is undergoing a major renovation and clean, so our pictures are not that great. The ones below are “borrowed”.

      The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the war.

      A huge crowd gathers which is amazing given this occurs every night. The area around Ypres is where the majority of The Great War (later named WW1) fighting occurred.

      The town council meets the school children, veterans, dignitaries and military personnel that are going to participate in the Last Post service. There is a young man, whom we later learn was a student from somewhere in UK, was the bag piper for the night. He did an amazing job. Just as it starts, we are told not to applaud.

      Wreaths are laid and the service is quite moving. It is great to see so many young people paying their respect while everyone is silent.

      Afterwards the crowd quietly disperses.

      Our drive back to Dunkerque was under an hour and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the balcony.

      Today is now a catch-up day. Lots of FaceTime with friends and family, a walk on the beach, laundry time and tonight we are doing seafood. Mussels are a specialty in this part of the world!
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    • Day 59

      Menin Gate - Ypres

      June 2, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Well that was an anti-climax. We were hoping to video the daily rendition of the Last Post at the Menin Gate, Ypres, as a fitting end to our tour around Europe. However, as you can see from the photos, the Gate is currently in the middle of a major refurbishment, and it is not possible to view the ceremony at present.
      But, it was worth coming to Ypres anyway, not only to honour the people who gave their lives to allow the type of trip we have just undertaken, but also to enjoy this beautiful town. It was completely rebuilt after the First World War exactly as it was prior to the fighting that destroyed it.
      Of course, just like every good film, missing this ceremony leaves open the opportunity for a sequel to our journey in the future!
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    • Day 1


      April 27, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Het belangrijkste herdenkingsmonument van de Britten. Vier jaar lang trokken de troepen onder de poort door richting het front van WO I. 54896 namen zijn in de poort gebeiteld. Zijn enkel nog maar de Britse soldaten die vóór 15 augustus 1917 gesneuveld zijn en geen graf hebben. Tja...Read more

    • Day 45

      Vierdaagse Day 4 - Ypres

      August 26, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      We got a lie in today - our hotel is on the Grote Markt of Ypres which was also where the start line was. We made the start line in time to hear the starting pistol going off for the first time. The route began by going through the Menin Gate, up onto the city ramparts, through a tunnel and over a bridge. Being so early however meant we were in quite a crowd, so all these narrow points became little bottlenecks, although they moved quite quickly. Again the walk took us past se CWGC sites we'd not visited before. Tuileries was particularly unusual as it contains only 26 graves, 16 of which were unidentified, but memorials to another 71 soldiers whose graves here were destroyed. The walk today was again a bit more hilly than yesterday but only in comparison to the relatively flat landscape of Belgium - it still wasn't too strenuous! We did all 16km today without stopping, so once we'd collected our medals for completing all 64km, we went for a beer, and then a shower, before getting back to the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony at 3.30pm, and subsequent military parade. We finished the afternoon at the In Flanders Field Museum which is superb. It has loads of new exhibits from last time we visited and we needed more than the two hours we had to explore it properly.

      Beer Index (Ypres) - €7.40/0.5l
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    • Day 41


      August 22, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      As we arrived into Ypres, a WRC Rally event was clearly just finishing. It meant the old market square was sadly absolutely packed with temporary buildings and staging that was being dismantled, totally overshadowing the beautiful Cloth Hall. Just around the corner from our hotel is the Menin Gate, with the names of nearly 55,000 WWI soldiers with no known grave. Having spent some time there, and wandered around the town for a bit, we returned to the Ypra Inn to have a pint in the shadow of the Gate before grabbing dinner at Carrefour.Read more

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