Emotional- this is the only word i can use right now to sum up our day today.
We set off just after 9.30am this morning and headed straight to Ypres to visit the In Flanders Fields museum. All the girls behaved perfectly and we were really impressed by how engaged they all were throughout. The museum was estimated to take a maximum of 90 minutes but in fact we were still waiting for some of the girls to finish looking around over 2 hours later!
After the museum we took a quick detour to a chocolate shop across the road who offered an excellent discount for all Venture Abroad groups – guess what presents the parents will be getting!
After a short stop at the hypermarket to buy tomorrows breakfast we boarded the bus and headed to Sanctuary Wood. The girls wasted no time in heading for the trenches where many were quite shocked to realise the reality of what it would have been like in there for the soldiers. We even got to walk through one of the dug out tunnels which was pitch black and very long! Emotions were certainly running high for several members of the group by this point.
Our next stop was the Tyne Cot Cemetary. This had to be the most emotional and thought provoking stop of the day. The sheer enormity of the place is hard to express and seeing so many unmarked graves as well as the names on the wall of remembrance had many of the group shedding tears – even a few scout leaders were seen wiping a tear away!
Following on from this we headed back to Ypres to visit Brasserie Central for a hearty dinner of tomato soup, chicken & chips/ lasagne and a choc ice for pudding!
Our final stop of the day was to the beautiful and breathtaking Menin Gate for the last post ceremony. Despite the fact that this is a regular occurence, there was still an impressive crowd gathered to watch and show their respect.
We were extremely proud watching our girls and leader, Leanne, Greta & Beth laying the wreath during the ceremony.
All the girls did us proud today and really showed what a credit they are to GirlGuiding.
We arrived back to camp exhausted but with a much better understanding of the war and the sacrifices of all those involved.
We will remember them