The Great War, Vimy Ridge and Ypres - in Small Groups: We leave Brussels and drive via Lille to Vimy Ridge, where we can visit this very important site of the European Battlefields of WW1. You can participate in the free guided visits of the Grange-tunnel system (allowing the Canadian forces to attack the Germans in their back), and the trenches. This clearly indicates how close the lines from both sides were. Of course we visit the Monument on the culminating point of the cliff of Vimy.
At the end of the morning we drive again to the north to reach Plugsteert, where we pay our respect to the Memorial to the Missing and the Commemoration plaque for Winston Churchill. He fought here during the first 5 months of 1916. In Messines we see the Irish Peace Park and stop at the monument remembering us the Christmas truce of 1914. We proceed to the Pool of Peace, the biggest crater of the mining war in Flanders. We have time for lunch in Ypres, and continue our visit around the city. We arrive at Hill 62 and Sanctuary Wood by driving on the road boarded with Canadian trees that is situated where, during the war, the front line was. From here we have a splendid view over the city of Ypres.
Now we proceed via Hellfire Corner, the spot known by all soldiers as this was the way to the front, to reach Tyne Cot cemetery and its museum (the biggest Commonwealth Military Cemetery in the world). Here 13.000 man lay at rest, and there is also the wall of 35.000 names of man who are still “missing”. The terrible battles, known also as the 3rd battle of Ypres or of Passchendaele, have made so many victims from both sides. In St. Julien, the monument to the Canadian Forces venerates the victims of the first gas attack in 1915 and we finish our tour passing Cheddar Villa (a bunker that changed several times hands) to arrive at Essex Farm, where John Mc Crae wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.
Back at Ypres you have free time for dinner and at 8pm precisely we attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial – the monument with the names of 55.000 with no known grave. After the end of the ceremony we drive back directly to Brussels.
Meeting/pick-up point: Hotel.
Duration: 13.5 hours.
Start/opening time: At 7:45am
End/closing time: Approx. 9.45pm.
Languages: Spanish, French, German, Dutch.