Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Weekend with Aussies

Another visit from Kym and Benj - and once again all over far too quickly. I have to admit, that I do feel so lucky that I have some of my most wonderful, genuine friends, only a couple of hours away (while I dearly miss those who are not so nearby).

We took Gust for a day trip to Ieper (Ypres) to visit one of the most horrific battlegrounds of WWI (a subject I am embarrassed to say, I still know relatively little about, except that the ANZACs went to Gallipoli. Sadly, just as much devasation occurred in other parts of the world). Of the millions who perished in WWI, 500,000 were killed in battles in and around Ieper - so after visiting the Flanders fields museum, we took a small drive around the village, to see that mass graves surrounded the countryside (most of which belonged to unknown soldiers). The white graves were those of soldiers from the Commonwealth (mostly from the UK, with some from Canada) while the others simply marked a mass grave of 44,000 German Soldiers - 20,000 in one mass grave).

I am not one who likes to glorify the war, nor dwell on it. I am not a firm Bruce Ruxton fan, but I was overwhelmed at the amount of death which took place in a seemingly small area.

Sunday, we rode our bikes into Antwerp (after a minor delay with an exploding tyre on my ever painful bike) to watch an awesome street performer followed by Japanese for dinner.

Am looking forward to finally heading over to London (to see more than just Heathrow airport next time!)


Ingrid and Tom said...

Forgot to mention one of the most important points... the graves we saw, are usually covered in poppies in the summer. Apparently, they are just now beginning to bloom, however, we didn't see any on our visit. From the rapid growth of the poppies on these graves the idea to use a poppy as a representative for the fallen soldiers came about.

Lyn said...

Yes, 45000 Australians lie in French or Belgian soil as opposed to 8700 at Gallipoli. Your Great Uncle Darcy fought at Villers-Bretonneux, was killed and is buried at Bretonneux in northern France. Andrew's grandfather was awarded a military cross for bravery at Broodsende Ridge; not quite sure where that is.

Kelly said...

I recall visiting Flanders Fields and Ipres and the Museum. It was very moving.
k x