Saturday, September 24, 2016

To Flanders Fields 19 September

This past Monday we left Lille for Flanders Fields in Belgium. Our friends Richard and Pauline drove over from England and picked us up at the MacD's apartment. They arrived a few minutes before 2pm just as I was going downstairs to keep watch for their red Ford Focus.

After a round of hugs and helloes (we introduced them to Christina) followed immediately by a round of hugs and goodbyes, the four of us were packed into the car and soon heading north into Belgium. Our first stop was to drop our bags at the Hotel Callecanes, just across the border in Watou, Belgium.

After checking in and taking a short break we returned to the car and made our way to Ieper (in French Ypres) where we arrived just in time to catch the "Last Post" at the Menin Gate inside the centre ville. Originally the fortified eastern entrance to the city the gate was rebuilt in 1927 as a Memorial to the more than 54,000 Commonwealth dead who were killed during the various battles of Ypres and whose graves are unknown.  The road that passes beneath was the route Allied soldiers took to the front.

After the parade of the pipers from the city square to the arch and the laying of wreaths by several pairs of individuals buglers played the Last Post.(see the video a the end of the post) There were, I should guess, 150-200 people in attendance of this short but moving event, which is performed every evening at 8pm (2000).

After the ceremony we found a place on the town square (Leshalles) for a fashionably late dinner before making our way back to the hotel.

even the young children were caught up in this

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