This morning, after breakfast, we checked out of the Peace Village and headed to the Hooge Crater Museum. On display were some great collections & reconstructions of war scenes, we also had an experience of the trenches. After this was a visit to the Memorial Museum Passchendale 1917 – where there was so much to see. It’s quite an engaging experience with video presentations, plenty of displays, an excellent walk through of a dug out and trenches. There’s also some beautiful grounds to explore if you have time!
Next, we had some time at the Tyne Cot Cemetery which is the largest British military cemetery in the world. The names of the missing were originally to be at the Menin Gate, however, they ran out of space and so at the back of Tyne Cot, you can see memorial panels listing around 35,000 more names of those missing since August 1917. This is in addition to some 11,500 graves, the majority of which are unknown.
The experiences and learnings of the last 2 days had been quite intense and very thought provoking and so we ended the trip on a lighter note, our last visit was to Bellewaerde Park. Built on the old grounds of the original Chateau at Hooge is now a hotel, theme park and zoo. We had lunch and were treated to a short tour of some of the animals with a guide. Here we were learned how the park we see today came to be and saw a few “behind the scenes” areas to get a closer look at the animals while learning about how they are looked after – a tour they can offer to school groups!
And finally it was time to board the coach for Calais and make our way home after a fantastic few days!