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In Flanders Fields

BY ABBY

rain 13 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Ypres: Flanders Museum

Ypres: Flanders Museum

Today we travelled out of France and into Belgium, but we weren’t too heartbroken because we would be back in France again at the end of our trip, and although the place we were staying in was lovely, it lacked one crucial thing: Wi-Fi. As you all know the blogs have been coming in at a very slow pace, and this isn’t because we haven’t been keeping on top of things, it’s because the internet access we did have was very slow and we often weren’t able to connect. Plus there was a storm, which didn’t help things much. But now that we are back online you can all look forward to some more fantastic blogs from yours truly.

The morning pack was smooth and we got out the door before 9:30, a good time to start on our drive of over four hours. The drive was uneventful, so we filled the time by looking at the countless fields of cows and listening to podcasts on various subjects. Today’s topics were Octopi (using the forms Octopuses and Octopods are acceptable as well), tone-deafness and whether or not it is hereditary, and tipping. Thank you Chuck and Josh for filling us up with sparkling knowledge from your ever spewing fountain.

Click here, here and here to find out a little more about Chuck and Josh and what they do.

After the long drive, a lunch stop and what seemed like thousands of tolls, we were finally at our destination. It took us no trouble at all to find our new house, and the lady who rents it is one of the nicest and most helpful people you could ever meet (plus she speaks English so that scores big points too). We got to the house at 3 and it wouldn’t be ready for us for another hour so we drove off to check out the “In Flanders Field Museum”.

The museum was all about the First World War, and all four of us thought it was very well done. Unlike the Juno Beach Centre and its coverage of World War II, it gave more of an idea of how brutal and terrible the war really was. Every part of the museum was done in the four languages that would be most commonly spoken: English, Dutch (or maybe it was Flemish), German and French. We learned that around Belgium most people know at least two languages. Our host speaks four fluently (English, Flemish, Dutch and French), and knows a little German as well.

My favourite part of the museum was the video screens they had. They had gotten actors to dress up and present accounts of their time either at war or as a nurse or doctor treating the soldiers. There were many of these scattered around the length of the exhibit, but the best one was about 15 minutes long in the centre of the museum. It was like a small theater with seats and a large screen so that it would be more efficient for everyone to view. This long film was all about the nurses and doctors. There were two nurses in this film, one young and another one more experienced. The doctor was the oldest of the three, and told less accounts of taking care of patients, and more about what he had heard about what was going on in the field.

St Julien Monument

St Julien Monument

On the way home we took a quick stop at a Canadian War Memorial dedicated to all the Canadians that had died in the gas bombing while fighting for the British side. It was very simple but I liked it quite a lot. One thing that the museum had mentioned us (Canadians) for is our abundance of rememberance acts, such as our poppy tradition, our many memorials and the ten dollar bill which is dedicated to the rememberance of the soldiers who went to war.

When we got home our host showed us around and even gave us some homemade chocolate biscuits. The house is perfect, and Hannah is determined to find something wrong because she said that every place has to have a flaw. I’m hoping that the only flaw we’ve found so far will be the last, and that’s that there are no bowls. My dad says the problem with this place is that we booked it for only two nights and not longer.

Posted by KZFamily 12:44 Archived in Belgium Tagged chocolate travel museum belgium world_war_one in_flanders_fields_museum

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Comments

Thank you Abby for this well written blog. You perhaps know that WW 11 has left a lasting impression on Opa's life. It is so good to hear from my granddaughters that they somehow share their feelings. Opa.

by G Koning

Another sobering day. The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart is a novel about the building of the Vimy memorial.

by Jane1

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