Belgium! Belgium was a surprise as it was unexpected during my trip in Europe. After Vimy, we traveled to the little cheery town of Ypres, a once devastated town located in the Flemish Region of West Flanders. As the centre of the battles between Germany and the Allied Forces during World War 1, Ypres, also known as Ieper, has blossomed into the most beautiful town I’ve ever seen. Upon arriving, I was fascinated with how huge the In Flanders Field Museum was and how it took up half of the square we were in. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the museum as it was not part of the itinerary.
We decided to split into groups and find a place for lunch. Before browsing around, acute little Belgium man came out of Leonidas Chocolatier and called the whole entire group in with a microphone. He gave us a promotion since we were Canadians, so it felt great being Canadian! We were told that if we bought three of anything in the entire store, we would get three free. Just so you know, I am a major chocolate lover especially Belgian chocolate, so when I heard the deal I guess you could say I went “ham”. Actually, my friend did. I just stuck to the three for three but I still ended up getting a lot. After purchasing our chocolates, we made our way to find lunch.
We stumbled upon a cute little restaurant called Frituur Kattekwaad. The inside had a very modern touch to it, so it kind of made me feel like I was home. I ordered the classic chicken burger with fries, however, I was content when I received my food. Let me start by telling you that the fries were scrumptiously amazing! If you’ve never tried fries with mayonnaise and ketchup, I highly suggest you do because the combination just goes well together. With that being said, Europe has brought me into the world of fries and mayonnaise and it may have seemed weird at first, but it is delicious!
After lunch, we were able to roam around the streets, take pictures, and shop for a bit. My friend and I came across a little boutique and decided to look around. I wasn’t expecting to purchase anything but I found a very cute purse that worked perfectly during the spring and summer, so I decided to buy it. If you’ve ever gone to Europe, it is very difficult to shop, just because there are similar things you could find back at home. With that, your shopping resorts to souvenirs and the basic “I love this city” t-shirts, so I didn’t focus on shopping as much.
When the group reunited, we board the bus once again and paid a visit to the Tyne Cot Cemetery; one of the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the area. Whenever I visit a cemetery, specifically the Commonwealths, my mood just goes down. It breaks my heart knowing that all of these men fought for us; making sure that we received our freedom. Not just that, many of them were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, so it hit hard because they haven’t had a chance to live their entire lives. This why I am so thankful to be living in a country where there is peace and freedom all thanks to these courageous men.
To cap off the day, we traveled to the little town of Lille, France, where we had some time to stroll in the large square and do more shopping. Lille was a very cute and vibrant town and definitely a place I would visit again. We came across another chocolatier and decided to purchase more chocolate, of course. After that, we explored and took pictures before heading to dinner. For dinner, we ate at a”pizzeria” although it wasn’t the traditional pizza everyone knows. We were served a lot of different pita pizzas, which is something new I’ve never heard of. Instead of the traditional dough pizza, they made pizza with pita instead. It was pretty good needless to say, but more just kept coming out as if it was an all-you-can-eat dinner and no one could finish.
After dinner, we made our way back to our hotel and began packing up for the next trip to Dover. Here is my journey to Dover and Canterbury