Belgium 7 - a sad end but one we just couldn't miss


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Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Ypres
October 2nd 2014
Published: October 2nd 2014
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The last days of our holiday had arrived and we had just a few days left before we returned home to Britain. We had bitten the bullet and paid the £14 excess to come home early by one day. Luxembourg had been a bit of a disaster as there was going to be an Octoberfest on the field behind the campsite and the noise would have been pretty awful. Our second campsite was not to be found. The co-ordinates on the ACSI site were incorrect and we found ourselves driving round a housing estate, down a no through road and across a supermarket car park. Our third choice was Camping Sud a small and virtually empty Dutch run campsite. When we arrived we were offered five pitches 46 to 50 and we picked one that had a clear view to the sky so that we could watch the MotoGP at Aragon. There were a few motorhomes and caravans on site but the place was clearly running itself down to Autumn.

We paid our 12 euros ACSI fee. It was a pleasant site, no supermarket or shop, clean and serviceable showers and toilet block, washing machines and driers and a small restaurant and take away open from 7 to 9. The restaurant reminded me of a cross between Roys Rolls cafe in Coronation Street and Arkwrights shop in Open All Hours. It was full of fascinating objects ranging from old fashioned 1950's radios to farm implements and World War 2 cartridges. We had take away frites and whilst they were cooking we talked to the dutch owner who had owned the camping site for the last 20 years.

Our last stop of the tour was going to be at the memorial to Hedd Wyn the welsh bard who lost his life at the Battle of Paschendale in 1917 and the new welsh monument to the soldiers of the First World War at Langemark in Belgium.

Sally Sat Nav number one refused to start up and couldnt find a satellite . Sally Sat Nav number 2 started up and we got on the road to our final destination.

It seemed fitting to do this trip in this particular year. We couldnt find a specific location for either site on Sally so just chose the A19 road. Driving in Langemark we thought it would be easy to find the monument but the problem was we had directions but had little idea from which direction they were taking you from. We found the church. The directions said go round the church to the traffic lights. We did this but no traffic lights. We had come through them in the other direction. We turned round and started again. This time we turned right and came up to the cafe with the memorial to Hedd Wyn. A painting, a welsh flag, and some of his poetry.

Do you know about Hedd Wyn? Probably not. We didnt know a lot about him before the holiday. Hedd Wyn his real name Ellis Humphrey Evans was born on the 13th January 1887 and was a welsh language poet who was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War. He was awarded the Bards chair posthumously at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. He had been awarded several chairs for his poetry, was inspired to take the bardic name of Hedd Wyn which means blessed peace in Welsh. His style was influenced by romantic poetry and dominated by themes of both nature and religious and he wrote several war poems.
Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng,A Duw ar drai ar orwel pell;O'i ôl mae dyn, yn deyrn a gwreng,Yn codi ei awdurdod hell.Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith DduwCyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;Mae swn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,A'i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.Mae'r hen delynau genid gynt,Ynghrog ar gangau'r helyg draw,A gwaedd y bechgyn lond y gwynt,A'u gwaed yn gymysg efo'r glawWhy must I live in this grim age,When, to a far horizon, GodHas ebbed away, and man, with rage,Now wields the sceptre and the rod?Man raised his sword, once God had gone,To slay his brother, and the roarOf battlefields now casts uponOur homes the shadow of the war.The harps to which we sang are hung,On willow boughs, and their refrainDrowned by the anguish of the youngWhose blood is mingled with the rain.

Our next stop was the Welsh monument right next door. A cromlech of stone topped with a red welsh dragon the ddraig goch. It was a stunning piece of architecture long overdue and we stood awhile reading the inscriptions and reading the dedications on all the wreaths laid around it. Many welsh lost their lives and at last there is a fitting monument to remind us of their sacrifice for us.

Our final night should have been spent at Guines but it had closed for the season so we had to go further up the coast to the Municipal Camping . We passed a local policeman with his speed gun and hoped we were not speeding. The site was fine for a night stop. Large plots but most not level . It was a reasonable site and probably one we would use again. ACSI 12 euros with no tourist tax. The next morning we got to the tunnel and were offered an earlier crossing which we gratefully accepted . Security was a bit more intense this time as we had to check under Suzy in case we had picked up illegal immigrants. Apparently they go under motorhomes and tie themselves on until they reach England when they run off . We had more checks this time than normal. Things certainly felt different and the lady working on the passport control told us that it was getting more and more difficult keeping illegals out of England. I have often envied her job but listening to her it is not quite what I expected.

So holiday over for another year . A trip along the M2, M25 which was as usual awful and the M1 until we reached home.

What next ? Well I have never been to Amsterdam and there is a fantastic bridge and tunnel between Denmark and Sweden . Methinks a little investigation is required . Sounds like next year sorted .

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2nd October 2014

Holiday ending
It is always sad when it comes near the end but sometimes you know when it is time to head back to the homestead and regroup.
3rd October 2014

ends of holidays
and times to start planning the next one. Reminds me of gardening in the winter you read the plant books as you cant get in the garden and plan your next plantings. I hope you get to Italy and I look forward to reading about your trip

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