Sunday 10 November 2019
09h00 until 22h00
Ypres and surroundings
Trip by 4* luxury coach
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The First World War has scarred Belgium like no other international conflict. The sheer magnitude and impact of The Great War is beyond imagination. In less than 4,5 years almost 10 million combatants were killed on the continent’s numerous battlefields, as well as an equal number of civilians. Entire regions were devastated by years of fierce and seemingly senseless battles, with countless gas and mortar attacks. Words can hardly describe what happened in certain parts of Western Europe, including the Verdun region and the Somme Valley in Northern France and West Flanders in Belgium. One has to see and feel these places at least once. One has to listen to the bone-chilling stories of a local expert guide and visit the graveyards and monuments that are scattered around these lands. If there is one Belgian place you must visit as an expat while living in Brussels, it would be Ypres. We deem this place so essential for our shared history, that we placed it #2 on our must-see list.
In 2018 our trip was fully booked, probably also because it was exactly 100 years ago World War I ended. But visiting these places should not be just based on being there during a special commemorative year. They are worth visiting every single day of the year. That is why The Last Post can be heard every single evening at 20h00 in the Menin Gate in Ypres. And that is also why Expat Club has visited Ypres already 8 times before. We hope you will join us this year.
- Transportation by 4* luxury coach
- Entrance fees of the In Flanders Fields Museum
- 3-hours guided bus tour of Northern Salient battlefields, several stops
- Free time in city centre of Ypres
- 3-course dinner on Grand Place in Ypress
- Attendance of The Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate
Child ticket <18 years (€60, including dinner)
Coach pick-up and drop-off points
- Place Schuman
- Metro Yser
- Metro Simonis
- Basilique (behind)
- Basilix Shopping Center
As with all Expat Club trips, our schedule is carefully designed to ensure you can enjoy these days optimally. Please note that the schedule may still change for various circumstances such as weather or traffic conditions. Your host, the bus driver, guide, museum and restaurant will do their best to give the most optimal experience. Thank you for your understanding.
08h45 – Meeting time Place Schuman
09h00 – Final departure time Place Schuman
09h20 – Final departure time Basilix (other stops before)
10h55 – Arrival Ypres
11h00 – Entry museum
13h50 – Meeting time bus stop in front of church
14h00 – Departure WWI Battlefields Tour
17h15 – Ending Tour & Free Time
18h15 – Optional dinner
20h00 – The Last Post Ceremony
20h15 – Earliest departure time (depending on ceremony)
22h00 – Return Brussels
We depart from Place Schuman at 09h00 by 4* luxury coach and we also make a short stop at Metro Yser, and could eventually also stop at Simonis, near the Basilique at the Koekelberg and the Basilix Shopping Center. We travel with a 4* luxury coach with an on-board toilet, AC, DVC and TV. The coach will stay with us the entire day, also during the guided bus tour in the afternoon. Our return is around 22h00.
Today we will go back over 100 years in history to the year 191, the start of the Great War, and relive the horrors that happened in and around the town of Ypres in West Flanders (or Ieper as the town is officially called).
In the morning we visit the In Flanders Field Museum that is housed in the Lakenhal in the heart of the old city. This museum is simply outstanding. It takes visitors through the history of the war in an incredible comprehensive and moving way. Note that this museum is virtually fully booked on each of the weekend days due to the massive media attention this centennial year, but Expat Club has reserved your entry already!
In the afternoon we welcome an official guide(s) into our coach for a 3-hour long battlefield tour. To really understand what happened in the “Westhoek” it is essential to visit a few of the most important landmarks (there are countless). We start with Essex Farm, where the Canadian doctor John McRae wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” and where we stand still at the grave of Valentine Strudwick. He died at the age of 15.
We continue to the Yorkshire Trench and Dug-Out, one of the few remaining trenches, the German Cemetery Langemark and Tyne Cot Commonwealth Cemetery. During this tour you’ll learn all about the battles taking place around Ypres, and in particular about the tragic battlefields around Passchendaele.
After the tour we will have a few hours to walk around in Ypres. There is much to be seen in this town. We start at the Menin Gate. From there you can either walk into the center or follow the ramparts for a stroll along various monuments and cemeteries, including Lille Gate Cemetery. Of course we provide you with a map so you know what route to walk.
At 20h00 we will attend the Last Post that has been held every single evening since 1928 (see videos here). This also explains why we return relatively late, but we simply cannot leave without paying our respects to the fallen and attend this solemn and often impressive ceremony due to the many military delegations from around the world attending it.
This is a full day tour that cannot and should not be any shorter (despite it being on your well-deserved free Sunday). To really capture the essence of the war’s influence on Ypres and the surrounding area, we simply need to let history sink in by visiting the museum and several of the most important landmarks, and by attending the Last Post. We can guarantee you that this day will leave an indelible experience.
In the early evening we enjoy a typical Flemish dinner in a nice restaurant, right next to In Flanders Fields Museum on the main square De Grote Markt. From here it is only a 5-min walk to the Menin Gate. There is typical Flemish Beef Stew on the menu, complemented with fries and salad. Including a large glass of wine, water and a dessert (ice cream). As an alternative there is a salmon or a vegetarian dish. This menu costs €24.