November 11, 2014

IN FLANDERS FIELDS...

A DAY IN IEPER

Today is Armistice day in Belgium, a national holiday to commemorate the fallen soldiers of World War I. My grandparents were born when the war ended so I've never known anyone who actively lived through it, but the effects of it can still be seen throughout many Belgian towns. When I was back home this summer we visited some of the battlefields and cemeteries and I can't think of a better day to show these pictures to you. 

My instagram // view from inside the Cloth hallen (lakenhallen) in Ypres

First of all, Ieper or Ypres in French is a beautiful city to visit in West-Flanders. One of the more famous buildings is the Cloth Hall, a medieval commercial building that was one of the largest buildings at that time. Completed in 1304, the Cloth Hall was completely in ruins after the war. Luckily, it has since been reconstructed and you can still admire its architecture in the main square. Nowadays, it is home to the In Flanders Fields Museum

Grote Markt 34, 8900 Ieper

A waffle shop in the main square


FRONT LINE HOOGHE


After our visit to the museum we stopped at this battlefield. From the Menin road that runs along Kasteelhof 't Hooghe (a hotel now) this place looks like an idyllic forest. The lake however, was created by a large explosion beneath the German trenches and it is still surrounded by trenches and bunkers. You can visit the grounds everyday between 9 and 7 and you'll only be asked for a small donation in return. 

Kasteelhof 't Hooghe, Meenseweg 481, 8902 Zillebeke



THE MENIN GATE


The Menin Gate is a war memorial for the British and Commonwealth soldiers who are still missing. It basically lists all the soldiers whose bodies have not yet been found and whose families have not been able to bury them. It was the first time I stayed long enough to listen to the Last Post at 8 pm and it was a very special experience. The Last Post has been played at this memorial every day since 1928 (with the exception of World War II). To say it draws a lot of tourists and locals alike is an understatement.

Menenstraat, 8900 Ieper, Belgium



TYNE COT


Before we would head home again, we decided to stop at the Tyne Cot cemetery. I had been there once before, in high school and it had made such a lasting impression on me that I wanted Nick to see it as well. Tyne Cot is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world and if you cannot grasp just how many lives were claimed you will definitely have an idea after seeing these graves. It is surrounded by farming fields in the Flemish country side and when we were there - it was definitely past 8.30 - on that summer evening it looked incredibly peaceful. 


In Flanders fields the poppies grow, 
Between the crosses, row on row,


That mark our place; and in the sky


The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
John McCrae 




Linking up with Bonnie, Cynthia, Yalanda & Courtney for Travel Tuesday

9 comments :

  1. Beautiful post! I've been thinking a lot about Flanders Fields lately as I've just given an Armistice Day lesson to some of my teens and had them read & recite the poem :) I've never been to any war battlegrounds before but I can only imagine how it must be and that everybody should visit one at some point in their lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cynthia! It's a beautiful (but haunting) poem, we read it in class too :) Although I've been to these places several times now, they never cease to make an impression on me... I hope you can see them for yourself one day!

      Delete
  2. This is beautiful, and comes at the right time for me - it was remembrance day yesterday in Canada.
    I have never visited the famous sights of the war but would really like to, as sobering as it will be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely a humbling experience and I'm really glad we were able to see this in high school... we went to a fortress around Antwerp too that was used a prison camp by the Nazis in WWII. I was sick to my stomach afterwards but we do need to see it and hear the stories.

      Delete
  3. Such a fitting post for Armistice Day! These sites look beautiful and especially moving. I've never visited anything like this before, but I agree with Cynthia - everyone should at one point!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Courtney! It's crazy to think how they can just be in someone's backyard so to speak...

      Delete
  4. What beautiful and haunting photos. It's always so sobering to see these sights in person and to hear the stories. My husband's grandmother was a child in France during WWII and I'm so desperate to catch every word of her memories before they're gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be really special to be able to hear those stories firsthand! My grandparents never really talked about the war and now they're gone... So I have to make my parents retell all the stories they heard when they were younger.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful pictures. I was there (many years ago) and it looks just the same. It really brings it back - thank you x

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a message!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...