Thursday, July 24, 2008
In Flanders Fields
We left the boat at the bridge tie up and headed up the Ieper-Ijzer Canal to the town of Ypres (I'll use the French spelling; it's Ieper in Flemish), the site of some of the bloodiest battles of WWI. This was the only area of Belgium unoccupied by Germany and prevented them from attaining the important French ports. The canal was essentially the front line for four years and over 300,000 allied troops were killed in four major battles between 1914 and 1918. The town was reduced to rubble but has been convincingly rebuilt to look exactly as it did before. Unfortunately is was sprinkling most of the time we were there so I didn't get any great pictures of town but the thousands of grave sites scattered in cemeteries about the landscape only begin to give you an idea of the devastation.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow...