Chocolate Heaven At Choco-Story

Our last afternoon in Bruges had none of the glorious Belgian sunshine we had been enjoying the rest of the week, black clouds and torrential rain was the order of the day. We consoled ourselves with chocolate – loads of it. Chocolate to eat as we strolled with umbrellas aloft, chocolate souvenirs to bring home…

Cycling to Damme

Our last full day in Bruges and we decided to do as the locals do – get on our bikes. A cycle to Damme was the plan, grey skies and plenty of clouds did not deter us, in hindsight that was actually perfect cycling weather. We found a bicycle hire place in Bruges near the Conference…

The Atomium – Inside And Out

The Atomium, one of Belgium’s most famous landmarks was something I really felt we should see while in Brussels. Standing at 335 feet tall and built in 1958 for the World Fair in Brussels, it is a bit like a glimpse of the future from 50 years ago. We walked the short distance from Mini-Europe…

Irish Peace Park

Our World War 1 expedition finished at the Irish Peace Park. Another place I hadn’t planned on visiting but with our Irish links and the proximity to Ypres decided we must. A bit tricky to find, right in the middle of the Belgian countryside but when the replica Irish tower loomed on the horizon we were…

Tyne Cot – The Silent City

At every turn around Ypres there is a sign for a World War 1 cemetery. We decided to visit Tyne Cot, just a short drive from Zonnebeke and Ypres and the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. Parking at the side of the road, we started our visit at the very impressive and well laid…

Trenches and Dugouts at Passchendaele

The Passchendaele 1917 Museum was not one I had researched or planned to visit during this trip. Not sure what there was to see and do, but having spotted leaflets just about everywhere we went in Flanders I thought we might as well go since we were in the area. The little village of Zonnebeke is…

Sanctuary Wood

Our second day visiting the World War 1 sites saw us drive back towards Ypres but this time follow signs for Sanctuary Wood. This is a fascinating place. More than one hundred years after the first shots were fired in this terrible conflict, you can still see the trenches, shells and muddy craters in one…

The Menin Gate

At 8pm every night since 1928 – with the exception of the German occupation in World War 2 – buglers from the fire brigade of Ypres have stopped the traffic and performed a simple act of remembrance at the Menin Gate. It is their tribute to those who gave their lives in World War 1…

Around Ypres

Ypres is pretty and civilised, a charming little place whose streets are peppered with smart little bars, patisseries and boutiques. A century ago it was all so different. I read somewhere this was “Britain’s cockpit of war,” apt words. Too close to the Channel ports to relinquish and almost impossible to prize from the Germans…