Well it’s been nearly one whole year since the most interesting and eye opening overseas trip I’ve been on thus far.
It was my father’s idea to travel to Europe with me, my brother and grandfather to trace the footsteps of family members who grew up in Europe and the UK, no surprises that a few of them were caught up in the war, so a large part of this trip was to go to Villers-Bretonneux in France for the ANZAC Centenary on April 25 at the Australian War Memorial.
You learn a lot about your close family members when you’re on the road for two weeks in the confines of a hire car. It was like being a child again with my younger brother, Otis either chatting away or sleeping. Pop was observant as always, taking photos with his iPad from the back seat and there was every chance it could have turned into a National Lampoons movie with dad at the helm but alas no road blocks or flying luggage was to be seen.
After many hours at various altitudes, latitudes and longitudes we arrived in Paris and were driven into the city center to stay for a couple of nights which included eating snails and an open top bus tour.
Before we knew it we were in a hire car and driving to Hannover in Germany where I was able to finally use my ‘schoolboy’ German in an elevator! “Guten morgan” I said to numerous patrons of the hotel as we all hopped into the lift. Which floor? I’ve got it! “Zwei?” as I pressed the button for the second floor- an affirming nod from a well-dressed business lady headed for breakfast.
The following day driving to Amsterdam our lunch stop at Hoya, a quaint little town an hour and a bit from Hannover, got interesting when my brother started fidgeting about. Asking for the hire car keys he rummaged around unpacking bags and what not looking for one dark blue bound document. His passport was missing. Long story short it was at the hotel in Hannover so that added another three hours of travel to our day. Lucky we weren’t in a hurry.
We visited many interesting towns and cities including Amsterdam, Bruges, Dunkirk, Lille and Compiegne amongst others.
I documented the trip not only by taking lots of photos, but video from the car window mostly and I threw it together in this video. The recording of the last post was recorded at Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. They do this every night at sunset and have done since the war finished. Enjoy.