Oct 10, 2015
|Friday, October 10th
The traffic on the city roads was horrendous for a Saturday
but we finally made it to the highway and we were on our way to Vimy Ridge, where there was a WWI memorial. Although the air was thick with pending rain the countryside was beautiful with tree lined, green pastures filled with cows of all colours, and brown and white sheep grazing.
It was a two and a half hour jaunt from Paris, so I sat in the dining room and tried to catch up on The journal.
When Bill yelled back that we were about 15 minutes out, I jumped into the passenger’s seat and grabbed the camera.
The Canadians decided to leave the battleground undisturbed and leave it as it was after the fighting as the memorial. As a result the trenches and miles of tunnels have remained undisturbed for over 100 years. (except for where they replaced the sand bags for concrete look-a-likes for safety reasons). It was amazing to drive though this park-like setting and see the craters created by the explosions now covered with grass.
The two cemeteries we visited were surrounded by forests of trees. They were both walled with a waist high concrete wall and entered through a gate. Like the other memorials we had visited there was a portal with a door just inside the wall which held a visitor’s book and another book which contained a brief bio on each of the soldiers in the cemetery.
Again my thoughts were so many and so young as we walked the rows.
At the museum we had an interesting chat with a young Canadian man who had a 4 month contract with the Canadian Government. He seemed to enjoy talking to Bill about our stay in Europe or he just enjoyed talking to a Canadian. There were more Canadian souvenirs there than I have seen in any store in Canada.
When we first drove into the memorial we had noticed a huge white looking structure surrounded by a couple of acres of freshly mowed grass. We parked and in awe walked up to this memorial. The fellow (can’t remember his name now) who was given the opportunity to create this memorial travelled the world for 5 years looking for the right piece of stone to do the memorial justice. He found it in Croatia, apparently over Roman ruins.
It is a magnificent memorial, standing alone but surrounded by farmer’s field.
We were going to visit Dunkirk but discovered it was closed the end of September as was the campground we had intended to stay at. (Our book said they were open all year round.)
No problem, we navigated down the narrow quite streets of Dunkirk and found a very hospitable owner who was happy to have us for the night.