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Friday 21 April 2017 - Bruges, Belgium

One of Europe's most charming medieval cities, Bruges, was visited today. Starting with a cruise on the enchanting canals, the tour group then wandered through the cobbled streets and over the old stone bridges, past the many cafes and lace and chocolate shops for which the town is famous.

En route back to Ypres they stopped at Essex Farm Cemetery where John McCrea wrote the famous war poem 'In Flanders Fields'.

Photos

Photos of the students' tour of Bruges have been added to the gallery.

Student views

Bruges

Today began with a bus drive to Bruges, which gave us time to catch up on some sleep. Arriving in beautiful Bruges we were able to enjoy a relaxing canal cruise, as we captured the views. We were then given a greatly appreciated few hours of free time, where we indulged in some famous Belgian chocolate and had a little shopping spree at designer clothing stores and souvenir stores.

Also during our free time, we enjoyed a yummy but expensive Italian lunch. Some of us even learnt that water at restaurants in Belgium costs extra money. As we left Bruges, with our backpacks full and our wallets empty, we drove to a German cemetery, Langemark. Before entering the partially moated cemetery, Pete first showed us the memorial that commemorates all of the soldiers who were involved in the First World War which included metal frames designed by multiple blacksmiths from across the world, who portrayed their perspectives on the nature of war.

Once entering the German cemetery, we were confronted with an insight to the sheer number of tragedies the German force suffered. The cemetery included a mass grave as well as headstones which had up to 20 soldiers laid to rest underneath. There were over 44 000 soldiers in the mass grave which was in the centre of the cemetery. In comparison to the Commonwealth cemeteries, it was sadder given the large numbers of multiple burials.

We also visited the place where John McCrae worked as a medic, and penned in the famous poem, In Flanders Field. While here, we read and listened to his famous poem. Next to where John McCrae was commemorated we went to the cemetery at Essex Farm.

To finish a wonderful day, we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant in the main square of Ypres before spending some free time and packing for another big day tomorrow.

By Marissa Ellis and Charlotte Solomon

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This page was last reviewed on 21 Apr 2017

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