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France and Belgium following the Poppy trail! (35/35)

Lest we forget!

sunny 22 °C

I have always been itnerested in doing a battlefield tour and the most famous is definately the poppy trail which mainly revolves around the somme area from world war I or 'the Great War'. We headed to the town of Amiens to get our bearings and get a bite to eat. From here we were able to find out that the Somme Museum 1916 is in Albert a few KM up the road so we headed there to see what we could find out.
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When we got to the Museum there was a French lady on the desk. I tried asking her were the larger cemetaries were and memorials and if there was a map. She snapped something very quickly at me in French I only grasped a handful of words from it but I knew that I needed to speak to a Mr Something or other in the shop at the end of the Museum tour! She then told us that there was a video room on the left and that it rotates the language that the film is shown in.
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We headed down into the old tunnels which were used as escape routes by the towns people during the war and looked at some of the memorabila before the english version of the film was on. The film had lots of information about the different nations memorials in the area and we then had a better Idea of where we wanted to go. The ones that looked the best were:

•British
•Newfoundland
•Australian
•Big crater
•Ulster tower
•South African

As we completed our tour of the museum we made our way to the shop at the end and there was a nice gentleman who spoke excellent english and was able to help us along the poppy trail. He told us that the free guide books were back at the entrance and to head back there and pick one up which we did.
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First stop nearest to Albert was the large crater left by 24tonnes of explosive! It was 100m in diameter and 30m deep truely massive! A lot of people died that day as it said in the video and we were starting to get an apprechiation of why.

On ward from here was that Australian memorials and we met some Australians there who were fasinated with our car and the charity road trip. They even took a picture. The memorial was a large stone obelisk with some details of the fallen.

Next step was the British memorial. This one was truely the most impressive of them all. A massive structure with the names of all the fallen and their regiments engraved in the stone. There was also a grave for each of the lost. It was a really sad and somber place. There were alot of wreths left and I was looking at the notes. All of them to great great, or great uncles, from nieces and nephews. I guess the reason being they were all so young when they died none of them had children of their own so they would only have nieces and nephews. One of the sadest ones was a simple note left on a grave which had a name. It just said "In loving memory, Lest we forget your sacrifice for our freedom. Love the family you never met" I found that one very sad and there was a picture of the hero next to the note.
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Enroute to the next stop we passed Ulster tower but it was closed and the gate was locked so we didn't enter just stopped for a picture and a few moments to remember those that lost their lives.

Next stop was the Newfoundland which is the canadian memorial. Here you can still see the trench lines and it really is an impressive sight that after all this time soil erosion has not taken them away. A mighty stag stands at the front and looks out over the trench field. There is also a list of names of the fallen.
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We had to turn back to go to the South African memorial. It was to remember those fallen from both world wars and as such had a larger cemetery outside it. This one was again closed but we walked up as it was just a chain pulled across so we think you were allowed to enter (not sure).

So that was the end of the road trip and our last day out. We finished off with a meal at a Steak house in the centre of Brugge it was very nice.

Posted by LizaBrooks 00:05 Archived in France Tagged backpacking

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