Diary entry by Atticus Solomon
A day away from the extremities of the past few days at the different war fields was what everyone in the group needed. Getting up at 7:30am, we went down for breakfast, although feeling let down due to the lack of Easter decorations and food. However, Peter soon filled this void supplying us chocolate eggs, supposedly, ’for his kids’. With this sugar boost, we rushed out the doors of our beautiful hotel towards our day's adventures in the town of Brugge (Bruges).
The sun shone a different shade upon Brugge, affecting the atmosphere of the medieval town. No minute to lose we went on a canal cruise. It was a tricky walk to the boats, but after myself screaming, 'Group 12’ we made it as a team. Little did we know that on this boat ride we would be seeing more than the gorgeous views thanks to Peter's fireman skills. Putting the beloved Fireman Sam to shame, as we were quietly observing the buildings and the reflection of the water a chicken appeared in the water. Peter quickly reached into the water, scooped the chicken up and threw it back into its pen on the shore. Apart from this, the only other reasons why our jaws dropped were for the spectacular architecture and scenery of the small town.
It was only now dawning on us how many people were visiting the town. Over 400 buses arrived today alone in this tiny village. We were surrounded by tourists and locals alike. Darlene and Pete allowed us to explore the limits of the shops and restaurants for a generous 3 hours. Running off, we were on the hunt of the famous ‘Belgium Waffles’. Spending what felt like hours and dozens of wrong turns, we coincidentally discovered a waffle shop. Six Euros? Felt like a bargain. When I said ‘famous’ earlier, I feel it to be appropriate to change it to ‘infamous’ after the result the sugar had on our stomachs. Even Trooper Jones had some after the guardian dripped ice cream on him. Barely waddling, we went to get a proper lunch of chips and burgers.
The markets went on for miles... in my opinion (don't forget the waffle incident). It ranged from bumper cars to lace shops. All were visited and trialled, it is not every day that you get to spend a day in Brugge. Souvenirs were bought and credit cards were left penniless. Nearing to 2pm, we went towards the tall clock tower. Hopping on the bus 15 minutes later, we drove back to Ypres, for our next visit, the In Flanders Fields Museum. Whilst on the bus, our band was progressed (from which it originated yesterday before Cobbers Night) by naming our new album and songs. We have the lead singers, being myself (Atticus Solomon) and Chontelle Harris, the manager being Ella Magner, backup singers are Claudia Maher and Madeline Francis, keyboard and saxophone player is Claudia McPherson, our dancer is Annabel Jellett, our bouncer and Brodie is Douglas Gemmell and our biggest fans are Darlene and Peter. Ella, Chontelle and I finalised the name to be: ‘Premier'sAnzacPrizeGroup12Elevator1ClubLipbalmClubDodgyBusGroupKermitAndMissPiggy2OfTheEightQueenslandersKellyClarksonTribute’.
At the In Flanders Fields Museum we discovered facts on the brutal battles that occurred. We were brought back to Earth after a fun day, to understand our men and women's hardships. In silence (just like the fallen soldiers) we moved around the museum. The heartache that I and others felt when stories were shared, including a doctor who woke up in the morning for his shift with a note in his hand stating, ‘Hospital blown up, 3 dead’. The result from a Red Cross light being hung up on the hospital. Real life stories gave us all information, but also gave us time to quietly mourn the lives and bodies lost and sacrificed, some of which cannot be found.
After attending another Menin Gate ceremony we saw different rituals from the one which was held the other night. The inclusion of a choir and a band was the first obvious difference. Casually, however, we soon heard the sound of the Bagpipes. Every night is different. Different people, different music, different mourners, different cultures. It feels strange to think of our differences and not the similarities between different nations after such a brutal war. With exhaustion we will all go to bed tonight sleeping peacefully.
Peter Townsend, Doug Gemmell, Claudia McPherson, Annabel Jellett enjoy a cruise around Bruges.
Atticus Solomon and Claudia Maher on the cruise boat.
For all the students visiting Bruges from the water was an experience they won’t forget.
Bruges is also famous for its chocolate treats of course.
Historical Bruge is such a picturesque place.
The hard to find Belgian waffels.