In Ypres and Flanders Fields

This blog concerns our final stop on the last motorhome break, in and around Ypres and Flanders Fields.  We have always said that we would like to visit some of the battlefield and cemetery areas of both World Wars and this was our first real opportunity to do so.  Quite a few people had recommended Ypres to us as well.  When we started the trip we had no idea if we would actually make it into Belgium.  However, while we were in the Alps (the blog is here) we decided we should be able to get there.  The wonders of the internet and a reasonable wifi connection on a campsite meant we were able to book three nights at the small camp site at Ypres.

The campsite at Ypres is fairly basic however it is within a few minutes wall of the old walls of the town so the location is ideal.  That also means it is fairly busy.  The town of Ypres itself is remarkable.  After being devastated during the First World War it was rebuild as it had been.  This gives the town a wonderfully timeless feel to it.  I’ve often seen TV films of the Last Post being played at the Menen Gate in Ypres however being there in person adds dimensions to the experience.  We ended up going every night we were there and each occasion was different and meaningful.  Equally simply looking around the Gate when it was quiet was a thought provoking experience.

The whole area had quite an effect on us.  You hardly had to travel a few kilometres and you would pass cemeteries, memorials or battlefield relics.  Looking at the landscape now it was sobering to think what it must have looked like 100 years ago.  I’m not some who tends to go to museums all that often however I would seriously recommend the “In Flanders Fields” museum in Ypres which is virtually next to the tourist information office (an equally good place for information on the area as a whole).

For me one of the simplest and most effective memorials is the one shown above.  The is the Canadian Memorial called “The Brooding Soldier”.  The sheer simplicity of it is excellent.  The photo on the right is the detail of the upper part of the memorial as it is quite high.  That is it from the last trip and I’ll just leave the picture below as our thought and memorial.

“In Flanders Fields”

In Flanders Fields, plaque