Sunday, 23 September -- Paris to Ypres and Vimy Ridge

We drove north through alternating rain and clearing and eventually came to
Beaumont Hamel, the Newfoundland memorial park. It has not been touched since World War I, though 100 years has softened the outlines of the trenches and craters. It was raining, so we walked the site, but then hurried indoors. In the chapel of the interpretation centre

we heard some of the poems from the poets of that war, read by members of our group. We picked up lunch from a place familiar to our guide, Samantha, that is also a mini-museum of artifacts discovered on the property. Many things, and bodies, continue to surface all over this area. At the Thiepval Memorial it was raining too hard to do more than visit the interpretation centre. Near the road we saw the giant crater from a massive underground explosion, but again rain kept us on the bus.
At the Vimy Interpretive Centre we walked through communications tunnels to get an idea of how they felt, and were told that the Canadians who captured Vimy Ridge spent 36 hours down there before their attack. Almost impossible to imagine.

Our last stop of the day was the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge -- the most important thing for me to see on this trip. It was still raining a bit and very windy, but we had the place pretty much to ourselves, and wonder of wonders! -- as we
walked up the approach a perfect rainbow appeared over the monument!

Link for more pics of the Vimy Ridge Memorial

Carol had brought her great-uncle's medals. He was killed here, aged 17, and his body never found, so his name is one of the thousands (HT Porter, with the metals under his name) on the monument. We found it, and she got good photos. The trip from there to Ypres proved much longer than expected because of road work, but we got there eventually, checked into the very nice Albion Hotel and immediately went to dinner in a noisy, crowded restaurant with terrific food and very friendly locals. Then back to the hotel for a quick meeting to outline tomorrow's plans and off to bed.

Photos of the Day

Video of Carol and Menin Gate Ceremony

Next Day: Vimy Ridge - The Brooding Solder 

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