Easter Sunday and there's chocolate bunnies and eggs on the lunch table. More than even a chocoholic fresh out of rehab could cope with. Also some painted eggs. Boiled eggs! Strange people these Belgians!
We'd been led to believe that being in catholic Flanders, nothing would be open. However it seems the ever practical shopkeepers found a compromise. Open from noon, after Mass. God and tourists satisfied!
Quite a small pretty town. Mix of old and new, inevitable after being the front line in two world wars. Very pleasant for a stroll and some window shopping.
Well known as a picture postcard destination, it didn't disappoint. Delightful old buildings, narrow streets and waterways come together to make a lovely place to spend some time.
The land that time forgot?
A beautiful part of the country that is practically unknown. So quiet and peaceful.
In 1953, the massive storm surge that flattened the English East Coast did even more damage here. Thousands of lives lost. When the dykes were breached, most of the land is below sea level, so, with almost no warning, thousands of acres were 4 metres under the North Sea.
"Caissons", which I'd not heard of, but were the building blocks of WW2 Mulberry Harbours, were used during the year long project to reclaim the land.
About 15 years ago, some of these were converted into a museum/memorial by local volunteers - and a very good job they did of it.
Probably more a tourist attraction than anything "real" this is a very pretty site with a large concentration of working traditional windmills.
Good for photography and a pretty place to go for a stroll in fresh air.
Such a peaceful, beautiful landscape where the horrors of a failed strategy ended so many young lives.
This was a very different excursion experience, where we were taken to the main sites of this action. Fields 8 miles from the bridge where the paratroops were dropped, some crazy Generals believing they could march to the bridge as opposition would be light, poorly equipped, and demoralised. What they met was completely the opposite.
We visited the Hotel that they commandeered as a headquarters that has been converted into a museum, around which much of the fighting away from the bridge took place.
The War Cemetery was the first I've ever visited, and it's a sobering experience. Some stones without names or just a rank or regiment. Other stones where the family was able to leave their own farewell.
No apparent order. Ranks, regiments and religions all mixed together. Beautifully maintained.
What was especially interesting is that the local primary school help the Commonwealth Grave Commission. Their top class each year are tasked with flower planting, weeding and general maintenance. An occupied country still feels a debt to those who died for its liberation.
So glad to have experienced this.