Michael and Pam's Travels

Ypres, Belguim. 2015

Travelled: 145 kilometres from Amiens, France to Ypres, Belgium.
Visited: Ypres and the Menin Gate.
Stayed: Ypres, free parking on the canal, no services (2 nights). N50.84703, E2.89348

 

After our walk through the markets at Amiens we make our way back to the Hymer and continue north. ย Keeping off the freeway we take the D road leaving the Somme and entering French Flanders. ย The drive is very French countryside, green fields and very fat cattle, a small village every few miles. ย Sadly through between every village we pass another war cemetery, on every crossroad signs pointing to others.

 

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We stop at Armentieres for lunch. ย Another lovely little village, but no mademoiselle I am afraid. ย Shortly after we cross the frontier into Belgium our 8th country during this years adventures and arrive at Ypres. ย We visited Ypres and attended a ceremony at the Menin Gate in 2013 with our friends Rod and Julie, so why return. ย Denice Steep an old friend of Pams’ had seen an earlier post on Facebook of us visiting our Great Uncle’s grave in Ballieu and wrote to us telling the story of her Great Grandmother’s brother, Wellington Cooper who was killed at Passchendaele in 1917. ย So we said we would be happy to return via Ypres and visit Tyne Cot cemetery and take a photo. ย Ypres is only 15 minutes from Passchendaele and a lovely place so why not. ย More about this next blog.

 

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Late afternoon in Ypres, across the square. The Cloths Hall and Cathedral in the background.

Late afternoon in Ypres, across the square. The Cloths Hall and Cathedral in the background.

 

The Menan Gate in Ypres. Inscribed with the names of 55,000 allied serviceman with no known graves.

The Menan Gate in Ypres. Inscribed with the names of 54,394 allied serviceman killed during the Great War, with no known graves. ย These men were lost during the battle of the Ypres Salient.

 

We have the co-ordinates for an un-official aire on the canal and arrive to find another couple of motorhomes parked there, so we will have company. ย We stayed in a campsite just around the corner during our last visit to Ypres but that was before we discovered wild camping. ย There are lots of people about coming and going to the sporting fields a little further down the road as we walk up to the Gate. ย After another long look around the gate we wander down to the tourist information at Cloth Hall. ย We stop at the little bar near the Gate on our return for a Bocker and a glass of wine, relax and take in the Gate.

 

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The last post ceremony at the Menin Gate has been conducted nightly at 8pm sharp since 1928. The last post is played by buglers from the local fire station. ย During our visit in 2013 there were perhaps a couple of hundred people in 2015 there are at least a couple of thousand.

 

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Quick selfie after the service and before the Belgium waffles. ย It was the Scottish Black Watch Regiments anniversary and there was a large pipe band marching up and down through the gate. ย The sound of the bagpipes echoing through the gate amazing.

 

Mm...

Mm…(good value for โ‚ฌ3.50)

 

The Cloths Hall and square later in the evening.

The Cloths Hall and Ypres square later in the evening.

 

Not the best night sleep we’ve have had on our adventures. ย At four in the morning some young men decided to chat loudly for half on our hour next to the Hymer. ย Eventually I get up and ask them to move on amazingly they apologised and got in their car and left.

 

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We are feeling a bit lazy as we walk across the canal to find a local fun run in progress.

 

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The Belguims do fabulous cakes, chocolates and sweets. ย This shop was well away from the more touristy area and full of locals when we joined the queue.

 

These markers were apparently placed on the road leading to the Ypres. Apparently meaning you are entering the protection of Ypres but you must obey the laws of Ypres. Deep.

These markers were apparently placed on the roads leading to the Ypres. Apparently meaning you are entering the protection of Ypres but you must obey the laws of Ypres. Deep.

 

 

Ypres Cathedral. Considering the German artillery reduced it to rubble during the Great War.

Ypres Cathedral. Considering the German artillery reduced it to rubble during the Great War its restoration is to a wonderful standard.

 

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Another view, couldn’t get far enough back to fit it all in frame. ย The only problem with using an iPhone for your photos, but much better than lugging a camera about.

 

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Of all the Cathedrals we have seen in the last couple of weeks Ypres was our favourite. Imposing but not excessive, warm and inviting. ย Lovely stain glass work, the colour more fibrant.

 

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We thought the other thing that made it seem more inviting was the wonderful selection of music playing in the background.

 

Michael and Pam

 

Bonus photo for Greg, he has always wanted his own maxim gun.

Bonus photo for Greg, he has always wanted his own Vickers.

 

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