A Travellerspoint blog

The Western Front Belgium


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Western front

Western front

Belgium

Belgium

western front

western front

Western front

Western front

Belgium

Belgium

Menin Gate

Menin Gate

Belgium

Belgium

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It was an early start to our day as we crept out of Paris to begin our next leg. The train to Arras was a beauty. It was sleek, comfortable and very, very fast. The trip took about 50 minutes then we met up with Chris from Bartletts Battlefield tours ,who was our travel guide for the next 3 days. What I did not expect was the emotion that this tour was going to unlock. This trip was to take us along the Western Front and follow primarily Hugh but also his cousins Andrew and Charles. We set off on a warm morning and travelled to Newfoundland Park on the Somme Battlefield, Gueudecourt and Villers -Bretonneux. During today we also went and paid our respects to Andrew and Charles at their final resting places at Lesbouefs and Dernancourt Cemetaries. Zig zagging across the Western Front and getting an insight into not only where it was but also the conditions these guys fought in, was both troubling and inspiring. Young men so full of enthusiasm and youth cut down in a conflict that took them across the world away from their families and loved ones. That night in the comfort of our hotel we relaxed and reflected on the sacrifice these guys had made and pondered over what they had made of the situation. The next day we headed for Fromelles and went to Pheasant Wood and the Australian memorial park. We went to Messines Ridge on the Front where Hugh spent his final Christmas Eve, out in "no mans land" stringing barbed wire. This was the Christmas of 1917. We also went to Gable Farm where his Battallion was billeted and the trenches around Messines where the Battallion was over Christmas and New Years Eve. From here we travelled to Neuve Englise where the Battallion was in February 1918 then on to Meteron where Hugh was killed in April 1918. Hugh is buried in Meteron Cemetery which is located metres from where it is calculated he was shot and killed We paid our respects to Hugh and marvelled at his courage to enlist, fight, be shot in Gallipolli and injured then reinlist. Passchendaele was the first trenches that Hugh went into in October 1917 which we visited and also Hill 60. Sunday saw us spending the night at Ypres where we went and visited the Menen Gate. Here we, along with hundreds of others winessed the Last Post being played by 5 buglers as well as a Belgium Choir singing. Very moving and a fitting end to our pilgrimage along the front. This trip took us throughout the Western Front across the Allied Front lines as well as the German Front. We saw bunkers, walked through trenches, walked the Front, paid hommage to the boys both named and unnamed, had a laugh and shed a tear. All in all it was a very moving journey and was worth every second. So many lives lost, so many maimed and injured for freedom. In some instances thousands of soldiers from both sides were killed within hours of an encounter in an area of less than 500 yards. The "Front" could be less than 50 metres from each other and could change direction and distance. The youngest soldier we found in a cemetery was 16 years of age and the oldest was 43 years. We went to Hill 60 and walked the area now a lake that the Allieds blew up under the German position. It took 70,000 pound of explosives and the "Boom" was heard back in England. To Hugh, Andrew, Charles and all who fought and ultimatley lost their lives I say Thank You and " Rest In Peace "

Posted by pjandc 23:28 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Au Revoir France


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After being dropped off in Lille and saying our goodbyes to fellow travellers Kerry and Katrina, who we had such a wonderful time with in France. Now they head off on their special journey throughout the U.K. We dropped our bags at the Balladin Hotel and headed for a walk. Position was excellent but the hotel was very basic. Lille is the second largest city in France and quite busy. It does not have the same polish of Paris and did not have the same feel about it. Maybe it's just me!! France was wonderful, Paris awesome, the battlefields of WW1 unforgettable. Au Revoir France until we meet again.

Posted by pjandc 23:27 Archived in France Comments (0)

Reflections of Paris


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  • Paris is a beautiful city *Parisians are friendly *The Eiffel Tower is a must to visit. *The city stays up late and sleeps in. *The Red Wine is very good *The pastries and breads are even better. *Dogs are sent out to crap in the streets. *Parisian bike riders do not wear lycra. *Parisian bike riders look very elegant when riding. *Every corner you turn provides more WOW. *Allow as much time as you can to stay. *Paris..Culture, Beauty, History.

Posted by pjandc 23:25 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris we have arrived

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Celeste

Celeste

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After a good flight we arrived at Charles De Gaulle Airport Paris to a beautiful morning. Driving into Paris we were greeted by the sight of the Eiffel Tower. Looming above the city line. Our apartment is in a beautiful part of Paris 5 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. After a restful sleep we headed out for a tour around Paris on Segways. After a practice run we were off and for the next 3 hours we saw the beautiful city of lights of gardens, museums and historic sights. Back to our apartment with red wine, baguette, and meat we settled down to late lunch. Rested we headed back out to tackle the metro. Off the train and we walked up the Avenue Des Champs Elysees past shops beautifully decorated to the Arc De Triomphe.. Wow!! A maze of roads culminating around this magnificent site make for a frenetic area. We climbed to the top and the sight that confronted us was awe inspiring. The view was amazing from the Avenue lined with trees to the surrounding suburbs spread out in tidy wedges. Wearily we walked home as the light of the sun retreated and the city turned on their lights to illuminate our way home. A small restaurant at the end of our street provided a retreat for the evening meal. The city stays alive well into the evening so with us having dinner at 10 pm we were not out of place. I have fallen for this "City of Lights " Roll on Tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
PARIS DAY 3
We had a sleep in this morning as it seems Paris parties at night and drags itself awake mid morning. After a light breakfast we launched ourselves out of our apartment to see Versailles. The train ride to Versailles took about 20 minutes then we joined the wave of bodies moving toward this very impressive icon. Versailles is ENORMOUS in both building size and gardens. Marie Antoinette has her residence attached to this area. Louis X1V built this estate and had huge foresight in doing so. Room upon room was filled with pictures, artifacts and chandelliers. The upkeep must be high. This residence overlooks the massive garden as far as the eye can see. Once outside into the gardens we were able to break away from the human tidal wave and amble around the grounds. After ambling and strolling for quite a while ( yes it is huge ) we conceded defeat and opted for the mini train back to the palace. LouisX1V would have needed half a calvary to get aroung this estate and half of the people of France to maintain it. All in all a very impressive place and well worth the visit. Good walking shoes and time are a must to do it justice. Back onto the train and off to Galleries Lafayette. This shopping area is a hive of activity with the domed roof a spectacular sight. Back onto the train to head for a rest and a baguette, refresh and head out for the evening. Headed out about 8pm to see the Eiffel tower lit up then wander the"City of Lights" and have some dinner. It is a beautiful evening and we were mesmerized by the beauty of the Eiffel Tower under lights as she glistened and glowed. We lazily strolled along taking in the evening and feeling very fortunate to be lucky enough to be in this awesome city. Parisians are out in force in the evening playing in the parks, strolling the city or socialising with friends in restaurants until late into the evening. Dinner close to home then home to turn in after another full day.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Cultural Paris
Good morning Paris. We awoke to another pleasant morning. A crisp morning with blue sky. Perfect for our climb up the Eiffel Tower. Arriving we were confronted with lines of people waiting to venture up the top. The line we were to go in as prepaid visitors was empty yay. At opening we went straight in past the people that had been waiting hours and we were whisked to the top. The top is 340 metres above sea level. The journey up in the lift was really good, the view at the top was mind blowing! Not being a great one for heights it threw me momentarily then the view overtook my hesitation. Any one coming to Paris must do this viewing but book before you come and miss the lines. After ooing and aaahing at the sight of Paris laid out before us in neat wedges we jumped on the metro and headed to Notre Dame Cathedral. Here is another " WOW" place to visit testified by the other half million people there! Being so close the Pantheon was our next target in our great race. What a marvellous building. The tombs underneath were fascinating and well worth the visit. Beside this icon was St Ettienne DuMont a most beautiful church that was built in the early 1600s and a centre point in the Woody Allen movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. This church was one I wanted to see and boy was it worth it. It is not widely known but I rate it up there with Notre Dame. The winding cobblestone streets wound down the hill where we found a small eating establishment that served great Pannini. Refreshed we ventured back to the Metro to a jam packed platform, where we crowded onto a train. After our cultural fill we headed home for a rest. Afternoon tea was a perfect baguette and cheese with a tipple of red Rue Clair for dinner then sack time. Another well travelled day.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Cultural Paris part 2
This morning was a sleep in as we are fitting in as Parisians as we eat late and get up late. Armed for another action packed day we headed out for the metro for out first stop. The Museum d' O'rsay was the place to be. Aaah the culture, wandering by paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Monet and a few others that have been hung up to fill the spaces. It took me a while to drag Celeste away from the Monet paintings reminding her we could not afford to buy one! The Museum itself is also very impressive. We felt safe as 3 machine gun toting army personnel were patrolling to keep it safe! Next stop was the museum Le' Orangerie which housed the huge paintings by Monet. Very impressive. Jardin Des Tuileries was next which had a fantastic lake where people lazed about and soaked up the sun. Next was our 2 hour walking tour of MontMartre. We felt like mountain goats but the scenery was wonderful and once again we wandered through areas that were frequented by Picasso, Renoit and other painters and artists of their time. This tour culminated in reaching the top of the mountain at Sacre Couer. The church was beautiful as was the view back across Paris. We had dinner at Mont Martre then headed home for a rest to be ready for our next part of the adventure. "Our journey to follow Hugh's movements in WW1)

Posted by pjandc 23:22 Archived in France Comments (0)

Dubai

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THE JOURNEY NOT THE ARRIVAL MATTERS.. T.S ELIOT
Dubai

Friday, August 31, 2012
Day 1 in Dubai
We arrived in Dubai to a sand storm that blanketed the sky but a warm 38. The flight was good and I would say that Emirates is great to fly with. The airport in Dubai is shiny, large and very very glitzy. We were picked up by a huge black limo and whisked away to the Pullman where we are staying for two nights. It was fascinating watching skyscrapers lurching out of the barren sandscape. Our hotel is very nice and sits above the Mall of Emirates shopping centre and indoor ski slopes ( yes it is not a typing error ). As the sunset we listened to the call for prayer echoeing across the city. For now it is time for 2 weary travellers to hit the king size bed.


Day 2
Breakfast was sensational and after indulging we headed off to the ski field. Walking through the the Mall of Emirates was an eye opener with shops of all top name brands beautifully laid out. The ski field was impressive with a chair lift and a ski run as well as a play ground for the kids. We ventured out into the heat (39) to see the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis on the Palm. A very efficient mono rail gave us a spectacular view of this reclaimed land. Celeste commented that Dubai and the is like Surfers Paradise on steroids. Desert safari by four wheel drive this evening was a spectacular affair. The desert was hot and it was great fun going over dunes, sliding down the side of dunes across and under waves of sand. Four wheel drives were everywhere but there was order. Dinner in a Bedouin camp was a fitting end to the afternoon, watching belly dancing and tucking into a bbq as the sun went down. A very fitting end for our stay in Dubai.

Posted by pjandc 23:15 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

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