Long Ride To Peace


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Some months ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from Robert Koeber to join him and a collection of friends from Germany, the UK and elsewhere at a nice hotel near Ypres in Belgium for the weekend of the centenary of the world war one armistice. I have no idea how Robert decided who to invite but I'm delighted he chose me.

On Friday 9th I set off at a leisurely pace for Eurotunnel but still managed an earlier train than the one I'd booked. A leisurely ride up through France and into Belgium had me arriving at the Blue Woods hotel near Deerlijk around 6pm, just in time to freshen up, change my clothes and meet the others in, believe it or not, the bar. After some beverages we retired to the restaurant and dined very well!

On Saturday we gathered on the hotel steps while Robert explained the day's itinerary: a group ride using the buddy system, within the speed limits, to several significant sites around the Western Front. The sites to be visited were, in order, Hill 60, Tyne Cot cemetery, Langemarck cemetery, lunch at Abbey cafe, Yorkshire dugout & trench, the Menin gate and finally the Flanders Fields museum. I have deliberately not included links or photos to/of the memorial sites. Visiting them should be compulsory and I urge you to do your own research and experience them directly.

Riding back to the hotel Saturday night had me fall off my bike, making the evening more exciting than it already was (see separate report)

On Sunday 11th, we rode out to the Pool of Peace pop3.jpg pop2.jpg pop1.jpg

Robert read I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier and John Lennon's Imagine.

We then said our farewells and went our separate ways.

None of us were ignorant about the first world war but this trip was an education for each of us. Let's all do what we can to ensure we don't repeat history.
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