It’s always exciting to venture into another country, and of course one of the beauties of Europe is that you can do that so easily. Not only are countries small but for those in the EU there is no border control making it so easy to drive between them.
With a friend having moved to Brussels recently it was the perfect incentive to venture into Belgium.
We were blown away by the view from our hotel room at the Belvedere in Heuvelland, just over the French border. You can just see Lille on the horizon. Stunning!
I could have happily sat on that balcony for the next week – but we had an itinerary to follow, and on the agenda was a visit to one of the many military cemeteries in West Flanders: Nine Elms British Military Cemetery just outside Poperinge.
Tony dabbles in a bit of genealogy and ever since he had found out his great-uncle George had fought and died in Ypres in World War 1 he had wanted to visit his war grave there. (Details were found on the CWGC website.)
Sadly, this is just one of many cemeteries in the area. Row after row of headstones standing at attention in perfect formation, just like the soldiers who now lie silently buried beneath.
So many young lives given for our freedom. But you couldn’t find a more peaceful resting place than here in the Belgium countryside.
After signing the visitors book we headed into the town of Ypres (known in Flemish as Ieper) where we were greeted by the sound of bells ringing out from the belfry atop the huge Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall) complex.
We arrived in Market Square (or Grote Markt) just in time to see the end of a Lotus sports car exhibition.
The brightly coloured vehicles were set against the backdrop of gorgeous architecture on all sides – reconstructed after the war, and many with the typical stepped facades.
It was a certainly an impressive sight to see and perfect timing to hear the roar of the engines as the cars moved out, before we too had to move on.