Arrived in Ypres (Ieper, Wipers) mid afternoon after a short stroll up the motorway. Gotta love the roads over here - even the worst road is better than our best roads. Traffic behaves itself, trucks aren't scary and everyone knows how to stay right unless overtaking - although they could use their blinkers more often.
Charlotte's B&B is a gorgeous terrace house smack bang in the middle of town - could not be closer to the main square and all the action. Only drawback is that my bedroom is up 4 flights of stairs and my knee is protesting and gone on strike. I've asked Charlotte to find me a physio as I fear I'm not going to last the next week.
We are here for a week and will be venturing far and wide to delve once again into WWI stuff. Like the Somme, this area was devastated and thousands lost their lives. Ypres itself was razed to the ground and two of the Smythe Great Uncles won Military Crosses here. After the war the town planners rebuilt Ypres from the original gothic plans and when I first came here 6 years ago, I didn't believe that everything I saw was less than 100 years old.
This weekend is the Cat Festival so the whole town is gearing up for it. All the shop windows are being decorated with cats and even the chocolatiers are making chocolate cats. Apparently the festival is actually about burning witches - and then they threw all the witch's cats from the Belfry - which they still do today... but they throw stuffed ones and the children try to catch them.
So - all you cat lovers - get your cat souvenir orders in now. You have one chance only for this dog lover to sway to the feline side.