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Menin Gate and The Last Post but perhaps not ours

Ieper, Belgium

After another exciting and full day yesterday, we had a day of relative peace today. Shopping at midday and then early evening off to Ieper to see the last post, which is sounded every night at the Menin Gate at 8pm. We aimed for a car park near the Groot markt making sure that this was a recognised place to park. Yet again, we found that the meters were explained in Flemish only and not speaking the language, deciphering the terms was impossible. This is rather surprising as Belgium has 3 official languages, you would have thought that the sign might be in each. Bearing in mind that Ieper is heavily frequented by Brits, you may have expected some concession to this too. All the locals seem to speak English and they are unfailingly helpful and generous and if addressed in English will translate for you. In the event, we discovered that the parking meters finished collecting at 6:30 in the evening, after which it was free until the following morning! Since it was 7 by then we had a free session. And the car was still there when we got back!

We walked the short distance to the Menin gate where numbers were already beginning to gather. Shortly after, a contingent of (British) cadets arrived and mustered on the pavement outside the gate. Just before 8, the police arrived and closed off the road on either side and allowed the crowd to go into the road on the town side. The cadets marched to the outside across the road and four buglers, presumably former Belgian Army soldiers marched to the centre of the outer part of the gate facing the town and played the last post. Some wreathes were laid and then the buglers sounded reveille. It was quite a moving experience and as Sue commented was a suitable finale to the battlefields part of our trip.

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on August 16, 2011 from Ieper, Belgium
from the travel blog: Paying our respects
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permalink written by  themarine on August 16, 2011

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