Just THE Two Cities, then Halifax!

I’d uploaded the incorrect file previously thus missing out on descriptions of a couple things. The South of France posted is repaired to it’s full glory now at:
http://weblog.jamesworld.ca/2008/04/29/south-france-again-bye-to-vi/

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We previously posted the inscribed text description from the Orchard Dump Cemetery, near Vimy in France. It was very poignant to tie in such a traditionally distant concept (World War One OR World War Two) with a family member. My Dad’s oldest Uncle on his own Fathers side was an 18 year old Private in the Canadian Infantry, (Manitoba Regiment) and was killed in battle just two weeks before his nineteenth birthday.

It was a lovely day in France. We first drove to the Vimy Canadian War Memorial where they give tours of the original tunnels and trenches used at that location in WWI. The tour was excellent and the monument was as amazing as any other beautifully carved edifice we’d seen on the trip. It took a little time to track down the J’s on the wall, but we soon found my Great Uncle William James listed. While the visit to Dieppe showed the large gun bunkers, everything we saw or read here emphasized the brutal soldier to soldier combat that was prevalent on the WW1 battlefield, (or trenches as it was). Canadian Cemetery Number Two was in between the monument and the Canada Heritage Interpretive Center (Don’t call them Parks Canada!!, Geesh…) and we stopped there to look at the graves and read the story. After that we headed to the Orchard Dump Cemetery, about 15km away. It was along a stretch of two lane road with steady traffic. This one was fairly large as well, and it took some footwork finding Private William’s grave. My Uncle Steve had done a great deal of research and footwork about his uncle. He sent us his name and summary, directions to the cemetery and right down to the grave map coordinates. What a huge help that was! We finally figured out the sections and then went down the row to find Great Uncle’s grave. We sat in the grass for a bit and read the register and reflected on “things”. After a while Claudette and I went to transcribe the plaque description before we took some pictures and video and departed back to our hotel.

Tomorrow morning we are going to try (for the THIRD time!) to go and see Monet’s house and extraordinary gardens in Giverny in the morning before heading to Paris. The first time we passed through on our way North to Dieppe was near the end of the day, and it was only open for another hour, but had a 45 minute-ish long lineup just to get in! The second time we had planned to go back to it a half hour South from the hotel the morning we were going to visit Dieppe. That morning we slept in and changed our mind, and decided to see it the next morning (Monday) before heading about 150 minutes away to the Vimy region. As we pulled up, the main parking lot was almost dead empty. Rather than being excited, Claudette and I knew immediately that this was a bad sign. Sure enough it was closed on Mondays. Thus we agreed to try again in a few days on our way back to Paris from Vimy. This was a heck of a detour, but we inherently knew it would be worthwhile. We will drop the car off in Paris and then spend three days taking the subway around to the sights before taking the Chunnel to London. Luckily Claudette booked our Paris hotel across the street from the Eurostar train station where we catch the Chunnel train. After three days in London we are booked to fly out to Halifax. While we’ve all really enjoyed the trip so far, we are all REALLY looking forward to hitting home soil!

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