Friday 9th November 2018 – Ypres Belgium
Had a big sleep in this morning and didn’t surface until after 9.30 am. With the days getting shorter and shorter there is very little light before 8am now and together with our wonderful silver screens that keep out light and cold (and heat) we sleep longer here than in our sunny bright light and airy apartment at home.
Didn’t venture into town this morning and decided to head to Ypres ASAP to try to secure a spot in the main Moho park until Sunday.
Not much luck here or at the other two in the area – all booked out and queues waiting at the gates to move in once a Moho vacated. Many of the parking areas in town normally open to day trippers were closed from Saturday until Monday – ugh!!!
We had driven through the town on the way to the campsites and the town was truly alive and buzzing. Thousands of people and cars everywhere so can imagine what it will be like by Sunday.
Drove out of town a couple of kms and parked on the roadside. Waited until 4pm and then walked into town to enjoy the evenings festivities. What a magic town with wonderful architecture, particularly the Flanders Museum and the square around it.
Walked to the Menin Gate where a field of poppies has been laid by the many visitors who have come here for these celebrations. Like a massive red carpet in a sea of green. All the walls on both sides of the road of the massive gate were etched with names of the lost ones in this terrible wall.
We were here to be part of the Last Post bugle ceremony which is at 8pm every day and has been since 1928 hail rain or shine.
Every restaurant and bar was full with an unbelievable atmosphere of camaraderie of all nations. We sat in a bar that was full of Brits, Aussies, Canadians and many others where shoulder to shoulder they enjoyed a beer or two or three or more while waiting for 8pm. We spoke to a Brit who has been coming here every year for over 30 years and had so much knowledge – very interesting.
By 7.30 pm the streets were packed a hundred deep in front of both sides of the Menin Gate and that was before everyone left the bars for the Last Post.
So much noise as everyone chatted and waited – then complete silence as 4 buglers marched toward the gate, stood in the middle of the road facing the Gate and began the Last Post. So moving as the tears rolled down the face of so many around us. This was followed by Scottish bagpipers who played Amazing Grace. We couldn’t see much from our position in the crowd but captured the buglers and pipers.
The bars and restaurants again filled up so headed the 2kms back to Ziggy. Were not happy about staying on the busy roadside overnight as it was a main road with trucks and tractors passing by within inches so were very relieved to find Ziggy in tact.
Parked in a nearby carpark next to a large shopping complex and were joined by several other Mohos before morning.
Had a very peaceful and quiet night which I am sure we would not have had on the main road. Contemplated staying here until Sunday but as the carpark started to fill with other Mohos, we knew they would be moved on by the police soon, so opted to move on and away from the increasing multitudes coming into the town.