23rd October 2012 Menin Gate, Belgium

On our way back we called in at Ieper (Ypres) to visit the Menin Gate memorial. We stayed at a campsite ten minutes walk away called Jeugdstadion (www.jeugdstadion.be) that cost 12 euros a night including electric.  There were a few units there when we arrived and the reception was open until 1pm so we were able to ask for some advice on directions.

After Armistice Day it closes except for the stellplatz part where you have to switch to the automated booking in system.  If ever you go out of season, to get to the Menin Gate follow these instructions:

As you look at the reception building, there is a path to the right that looks as if you’re going behind the building.  Take that path (don’t veer off down the right hand side gravel path) and you’ll go past a sports track on your left hand side.  Carry on all the way until you come to the outer fence and turn right.  Keep walking along this road and within five minutes the Menin Gate will appear on the left hand side – you cannot miss it!

We have since added Belgium to places we’re going to visit as there is so much to do around the area.  The tours advertised looked really interesting and promise to be thought provoking.  The Flanders Field Museum is very reasonably priced at 8 euros per person, but aside from all the historical WWI information, there are loads of places to walk and enjoy their varied countryside.

For anyone going there, look in the museum foyer as they have interactive and paper guides to give you a wealth of information.

We walked around Ieper in the afternoon, then made our choice of restaurant to have a late lunch. Around 7.30pm we returned to the Gate to watch The Last Post being performed.  This has been done every evening at 8pm since the memorial was created just after WWI apart from the four years of WWII – so much for the ‘war to end all wars’.

Well over two hundred people were there to witness the ceremony and quite a few wreaths were laid in memory of fallen soldiers.  When we walked around the memorial earlier in the day it beggars belief how many names are inscribed on it, then you find it wasn’t big enough to house the additional 30,000 names required.  These are the names of those never given a personal burial, let alone those ‘lucky’ enough to have been recovered.

Our visit here was a brilliant one and has left us eager to find out more so we can have a little more insight into our history.  We will come back and thoroughly recommend the are to anyone with the same intrigue.

About Dean

Angela and I decided that there was more to life than working hard to keep up the payments on the mortgage, to pay the gas, electric, phone bills etc. etc. SO............ In 2008 we sold our house, I initially took a year off (Unpaid) and Angela handed in her notice! We bought a motorhome and set off for a year of travelling! This was the best thing we had done in our lives (Apart from getting married) and we have no regrets. During the year I managed to secure a redundancy package which felt very strange. Almost sad as I had worked for the same company for 19 years (BT). It was always our plan to have a whole year off before thinking about the 'W' word. We began applying to the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) for the position of Holiday site assistants in August 2009. After the interview, work experience and induction we were finally given a contract at the CCC site in Inverewe (Scotland). Our plan is to work through the summer in the UK then head to Europe to overwinter before coming back to work the following summer season. Hopefully these few words and our blog will inspire others to get off the hamsters wheel and see that there is more to live than having a house and material things. A cliche I know but this is not a rehearsal, life is too short!!! Since our first contract in Scotland we have worked a winter contract in Oxford (never again!) not Oxford but a winter contract. Hereford for two years, living in a yurt for one! And Cornwall. In between our working we have also travelled a bit. Hopefully this website will give you an insight into our alternative lifestyle. Get out there and live the dream!
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