16/4: We walked from the market square where our apartment is, along a road which led us to the Menin Gate (a memorial to all the soldiers whose bodies weren't found). Just outside the Menin Gate there's steps to the Ramparts which is a garden walk up high on the top of the walls of the city overlooking the moat. The walk took us along a few sites of the first world war ( an old chimney and freezer) to the Ramparts Cemetry which didn't really have that many people compared to Tyne Cot Cemetry,but there was still lots. Each headstones has the badges to the regiments that the soldiers who died were in. Some visitors had laid flags to nominate the country they had come from (Canada, Australia). It was cold, sunny, raining, cloudy, freezing all in one day! We had takeaway from a restaurant and we got a large bowl of chips and 5 hotdogs (I ate most of the chips). A fork comes with the chips and mayonnaise to dip them into.
17/4: We drove to Nieuwport where the Belgians let the river Ijzer flood to slow down the Germans who were invading in 1914. We walked around the Goose's Foot (5 locks linking all the rivers that flow into the river Ijzer) and up to the memrial of King Albert 1 who led the Belgian army in WW1.
18/4: it was my birthday. I got a chocolate cat (which I still haven't eaten), a camera (8 GB- more than my dads!), a pair of hiking boots and a raspberry fruit tart for my birthday cake. It was exciting being in another country for my birthday. For fun we went to the pool which is out of the city and it was 30C in the water which was very refreshing instead of the cold day. The pool had slides, which was very fun going down, but not as fun as the Albany slide which is higher.
19/4: We drove to Antwerp which is the diamond capital city of the world! Using google maps it is 130kms from Ieper. We visited Antwerp's Diamond Museum and it was a bit boring for me, Ethan and John. The zoo city gates were pretty funny but we didn't go there - I wanted to. We also went to a picnic where mum calls the Mary Poppins park, because it had a river, a bridge and lots of blossoming trees.
20/4: We set off to Dunkerque in France to pick up Nigel (a very good ear tour guide and a genius of the first world war, and our cousin). We got lost looking for museum and mum had to go to a florist shop to get help and a taxi! We passed the shop where we first went looking for the museum. The museum was about the second and first world wars, but mainly about Operation Dynamo- a retreat for the British to Great Britain. They transported British and a few French soldiers to GB by boats whilst the German Luftwaffe (air force) was bombing Dunkerque's ports and beach.
Since then we've been going to battlefields,cemeteries and memorials with Nigel guiding us. Yesterday we drove to Waterloo where Wellington defeated Napeleon in 1815. There was a man made hill with a lion memorial on top of it and a tourist centre where I bought daggers for me and my brothers. There was a Panorama that showed us what it might have been like during the battle, but at the end of the battle it was totally silent; but really there would have been groaning, moaning, shouting from the soldiers because lots of them were wounded and dying. We had MacDonalds which was yummy: they had carrots with the kids meals instead of apple. In the play area there was a timetrial which you had to get through obstacles and afterwards I was red faced, sweating and very hot.
We've visited Hill 60 which was man made to make train track which runs close to it. Hill 60 was defended by the British, Canadians then Australian sappers (they make tunnels under the ground, pack it with dynamite then blow it, making a crater and blowing up the enemies lines/ trenches!
We visited Noel Chevass's grave- the only soldier (medical Captain) to receive 2 Victoria Crosses (medal better than all the rest of the medals for bravery and rescuing comrades). He got his for going into heavy shellfire and rescuing comrades that were wounded. He died from shell splinter which went straight into his stomach and he died from the poisons from his stomach.