As Ieper was one of the most fought over areas, there is a large concentration of memorials and cemeteries dotted throughout the countryside.
The numbers of men lost are too large to comprehend. As well as the 55,000 with no known graves at Menin Gate, there are a further 39,000 listed at Tyne Cot. I watched the school children wandering around the gravestones and although it was quite nice hearing their chirpy laughter, I wonder if the sea of white has any real meaning to them. How can you portray such loss and devastation when the flowers are blooming, the grass is green, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Quite rightly, these youngsters were happy and carefree.
After spending the whole day diving into history, it was nice to meet up with Guy for a lovely walk around the Ieper ramparts and chat with the fishermen and enjoy a glorious evening.
Guy is a local who has been a penfriend of my mate in Oz for over 10 years. They have never met but each have been promising the other to visit the respective countries... yeah one day.
Guy was a fount of all knowledge about the history and the current social situation in Belgium. We had a great long chat over dinner comparing customs and politics.