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  1. #81
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    A day out in Maastricht.

    First was to sort out the GPS for the ‘Park & Ride’ location as it is not clear at all in the information provided on the P&R webpage, and we believe is badly signposted from the main road when you get there….

    Having got that sorted, we set off and found that ‘Yes’ it is badly signposted to get you to the correct location while the roadworks on the way in are not at all helpful, but we made it!....

    20 minutes later and we are in the Markt being dropped off opposite this church….

    As we cross the road we see one of the bicycle places where you can leave your bike locked up, as the P&R Bus pulls away on the other side of the road….

    In the Markt today there was an Antiques Fair.…

    While outside the Town Hall….

    Is this ‘Homeride’ event for which a lot of cyclists are turning up….

    As we then set off down the streets to find the Tourist Information Office….

    OK, there it is in the Cellar of the building directly in front….

    Having checked out the locations of a few places we were advised to try a special ‘Pie’ called a ‘Limburgse Vlaai’ so we asked the TOI where we could find a really nice one and after getting directions we set off….

    Past this rather large church which was closed….

    As we then arrive at the ‘Limburgse Vlaai’ Bakery & Café….

    On the left hand side of the Bakery is the Flour Mill, while at the rear of the building is the Water Wheel, that when powered by the water, drives ….

    These ‘gears’ inside the Flour Mill, which in turn rotate….

    The ‘Millstones’ which are on the upper floor behind the wooden railing….

    With the Millers Office next door….

    When you then go into the Café you can if you wish put on the Apron & Hat, then go into the Bakery and help the Baker with the pie making, but only on the less difficult tasks!....

    After a slice of pie in different varieties and a coffee, it was time to head off to see some of the other places in the city….

    Part of the old Town Wall…

    The small river that flows around part of the wall….

    One of the Town Gates entrance….

    ‘Helpoort’ built in 1229….

    ‘Helpoort’ from the inside….

    Two front doors one of which was significantly wider than the other….

    ‘Care for any cigarettes Guv’nor?’….

    When you first look at this building you think it is a church?....

    With a rather strange door made completely of steel that had gone rusty?....

    While inside it is now a Bookshop but still has a nicely decorated ceiling….

    Our next place was on the opposite side of the river, so off we go across this ‘split bridge’ as the right side can be opened for larger vessels….

    As we see this chap keeping an eye on the river traffic….

    While this was the view looking the other way up the river from a tower on the riverbank….

    Not sure what this building was used for, but the ground floor was now a restaurant/café….

    A ‘special monument’….

    With the plaque alongside which was dedicated to ‘The Brave Soldiers of the U.S. 30th Infantry (Old Hickory) as this was the point at which they crossed the river Maas and liberated the city’….

    As we then came to the Government Buildings where the Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7th February 1992 by the founders of the EU, little did they know what they were starting and what would happen in 24 years’ time….

    Not sure if these ‘Stars’ on the traffic island a bit further along the road represent each of the EU Full Member States but it looks like they will have to remove one now….

    Nice to see the ‘School Bus’ taking the Tourists around on ‘Educational Trips’!....

    As we took a break and stepped out of the rain which had just started some members of the Vespa Scooter Club went past while interestingly not one of them was wearing a safety helmet!....

    Rain now coming down heavier, so it was time to head back to the P&R Bus….

    As we then passed a bit further along these two Red Cross Medics who seemed to be going up and down looking for a patient!

    After we got back to the P&R Car Park, we set off back to the campsite only to find that 3 roads we were to travel on were closed for roadworks!

    The 10 mile 15minute trip turned into over 25 miles and over 1.5 hours by the time we got sorted out on the deviations!

    Bad weather forecast again for tomorrow so will have to wait and see what happens!

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    The run from Colmont to Ypres.

    Back on the road by 08:30 this morning for the trip to Ypres as we pass this statue of an Eagle with a Fish in it’s claws….

    While we managed to negotiate the rather narrow lanes from the campsite to the motorway, within 3 miles of getting onto it we came to a standstill and remained so for around 20 minutes....

    The traffic jam, caused by the sheer volume of traffic while being a 2 lane ‘motorway’ as there was no accident, continued for around 5 miles on a very slow crawl ….

    Then it was across the river and into Belgium and a much better road system.…

    With the signpost we had just past pointing towards Oostende and the Ferry between Europe & the UK.
    Having seen a number of UK cars on our way over at the start of this trip that had been purchased in the car auctions and were being exported on car trailers for resale in Eastern Europe I did wonder if this one was being returned as being ‘faulty’….

    A rather ‘fuzzy’ picture of the outskirts of Brussels as we approach the ring road around the place….

    One of the large company buildings that filled the picture….

    As we get on the Brussels ‘Ring Road’ as the rain comes back again!....

    Someone is on their way back to the UK after being to a car racing meeting somewhere….

    Traffic starting to build up again as we continued along….

    This poor fellow decked out in his football shirt did not look very happy as we passed by….

    Nice windmill but even though it was windy the sails remained still….

    As we get closer to our destination….

    Having then got onto the campsite, Camping Jeugstadion (GPS 50.846903 N 2.898154 E) while we were surprised to see that it was not full having got set up it wasn’t long before we were off into Ypres to take part in the Last Post Ceremony and along with a number of other people to lay a Poppy Wreath during the ceremony on behalf of Chepstow Branch of the Royal British Legion, while we personally could also say a little ‘Thank You’ to the Armed Forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice in ensuring we continued to have our Freedom.

    The band from the 19th Royal Artillery ‘Tidworth Barracks’ in the UK

    While the Last Post Buglers arrive whom I hope you can see just over the heads of the public between the Menin Gate columns….

    As we wait in line before the ceremony itself starts….

    We find out that the two young girls in front of us are from a school in Brisbane Australia who are here with 38 other girls from the same school who are on the other side of the roadway and are all wearing pink jackets….

    Then it’s our turn to do the walk over with the wreath….

    We lay the wreath, my hat is removed, we bow and utter those two little words that mean so much ‘Thank you’ stand back up straight, turn right and make our way back to the other side and the rear of the line....

    As the ceremony comes to a close the band then marches off and that is it….

    While it is a short ceremony it means a lot to the people who come, especially those that travel from all different countries to be part of it.

    Tomorrow if the weather is kind we will go for a walk into and around Ypres and see if anything has changed….

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    The morning after in Ypres….

    Going back into Ypres this morning we wanted to see if anything had changed from our visit last year, so off we go along the pathway from the campsite that crosses a couple of fields and two ponds as we then hear the Bullfrogs ‘Croaking’ as we then manage to spot the first….

    Then the second as we also see a couple of its ‘fingers’ wrapped around a piece of grass in the water that was helping to keep its head out of the water!....

    While this was the third one who was doing all the ‘Croaking’ but I could not sync the camera with his lungs as they inflated each time!….

    Then taking a roundabout route to the town centre as we went to look at a restaurant that came recommended but has actually gone out of business as had a number of shops which was a surprise to see, we spot this ‘Dispatch Rider & Passenger’ in the window of a premises!.…

    Then looking closer we see a few more models inside….

    Some nice styles of houses as we make our way along….

    As we also see a lot of property on the market for sale….

    Then came a bit of a surprise, but could be handy if your ‘False Choppers’ (False Teeth) broke for some reason. A 1 Hour ‘Repair Sevice’! ....

    As we then come into the large open square in the town the fountain is in full swing while the Waffle& Ice Cream outlet on the corner behind the fountain is looking like it is short of customers, as normally there is a queue that comes out of the door….

    As we then look across the square there are not many people around while the buildings appear to have been cleaned up on their stone work from last year….

    As we then go back to the Menin Gate we see a noticeboard that has some pictures showing how it was built….

    While the description alongside I did a cut and paste and made it into 2 readable pictures….

    While the words of Field Marshal Plumer are very comforting for a number of visitors who come to find the names of relatives on the panels….

    Then we took another look at all the contributions from the ceremony from last night….

    While up the steps on both sides of the Menin Gate are the contributions from previous evenings….

    While now the heavens had opened up again and the rain is once again pouring down, while the Internet on the campsite has again ‘failed’ so no update can be done tonight, even though this afternoon the campsite manager advised us that he was calling in the person responsible to fix it, which it did for around 1 hour and then once again ‘died’ which is becoming more and more frequent!

    Still we are back on the road tomorrow and into France for our last couple of nights….

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    The trip from Ypres to Autingues….

    We departed Ypres this morning for the short trip over to Autingues and our next and last campsite on this side of the English Channel called Camping St Louis (GPS: 50.83807 N 1.97637 E ) which is also an ACSI listed campsite, and we stayed at on our way out.

    It wasn’t long before we were going along the country roads, through the little villages that all looked as though they were still asleep while staying off the ‘Tollroads’….

    Then not much further and we go over the border and into….

    Looked like this place had had a new thatched roof fitted recently….

    As we then came into the town of Bailleul and to a set of traffic lights TomTom ‘Jane’ told me to ‘Turn left in 80 yards’ except it was into a NO Entry One Way Road so not wishing to end up with a ‘problem’ we carried on straight across and after a quick re-plan we got back on the correct road .…

    Must make a note to come back to Bailleul and have a closer look as it seemed to be an interesting place as we travelled through! ….

    As we came to a traffic island that intersected the ‘Autoroute’ we passed a group of several ‘Douane’ (Border Control) Officers who were visibly checking each vehicle as it went passed heading towards Calais & Dunkirk, so in deference my good lady settled for a picture of their ‘transport’ instead of them....

    Made a left turn and then found ourselves travelling alongside the High Speed Railway line which is the one we think goes through to Brussels….

    Into another little village with a rather large church….

    Getting back out in the countryside we see this oddly shaped building, but could not find out what it was for!….

    While a bit more conventional was this windmill a little further along the road….

    Not long after and we get to the village of Camping St Louis….

    The small ‘Town Hall’….

    While as we get to the shrine we turn right….

    Then in 500 yards we come to the campsite….

    And into the entrance….

    Today will be starting the process of sorting ourselves out and getting a few bits and pieces with possibly a day on site tomorrow depending on the weather which again is not looking good as we go through yet another shower this evening.

    The day after we head for ‘Eurotunnel’ and the short trip under the English Channel and back to the UK, where we then travel to a place called Middle Wallop and the Army Air Museum to join a group on a weekend ‘get together’ with hopefully a visit to the Museum while we are there, so we ain’t quite finished yet!….

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    The trip from Autingues to Middle Wallop….

    We got away from our last campsite in France at 07:30 this morning for the run to ‘Le Manche’ (The Tunnel) thankfully in dry weather having been up since 06:00 to pack everything away….

    Turning left passed this small windmill on which the sails were actually turning with the high winds that were around, and being rather glad that we were going under the Channel than across the top in a ‘wobbly’ ship!….

    Less than 30 minutes later and we are entering the road into the Eurotunnel Terminal and check in lane….

    Initially advised of a short delay due to an ‘incident’ in the tunnel but no more information we made our way to the parking area only to then find our ‘Letter’ which was ‘Z’ was being asked to move to the embarkation area, so we did, then after around a 15 minute wait we were onboard and it felt because we went so far through the train that we were driving along the Tunnel and would ‘pop out’ on the English side! ….

    10 minutes later and the train starts off moving.…

    As we then pass a Freight (Truck) train going the other way you can see that they are completely open and just sat on flat bed wagons for the journey….

    As I just manage to see the Tunnel ‘Entrance’ or ‘Exit’ depending which set of rails you are on!....

    45 minutes later and we are coming out of the ‘Exit Door’ at the front of the train with a nice ‘Goodbye’ wave from the Conductor!....

    As we see the sign for Kent….

    Then while still inside the Eurotunnel area we pass all these Trucks that are parked at the side of the road, all of them with their curtains closed as it looks like they have spent the night there. Then a bit further along we spotted a Policeman getting the drivers out of their beds by banging on the truck doors, so it must have been time to ‘Head em up & move em out’! ….

    As we then get out of the terminal and onto the Motorway, there is a very long queue of Trucks waiting to get into the terminal for the trip from the UK to France, while the Check In area for other vehicles was packed out, but then we heard of 2 to 3 hour delays for people going the other way!….

    WOW! A very old Vauxhall Cresta in good condition considering that at the time the car maker was not very good for long lasting bodywork….

    As we then get onto the M25 and see the Union Jack, clearly someone is still happy with the referendum result, while the traffic in all 4 lanes is solid but at least moving if slowly….

    The for us it was off onto the M3 Motorway, and then the A303 before we head for Andover and the signs for The Museum of Army Flying….

    Then a little further we are there at the airfield….

    And the ‘Rally Field’ with some of the outfits….

    The plan is to visit The Army Air Museum tomorrow, so even if it’s pouring down again we will remain quite dry!….

    Hang in there and see what happens!....

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    The first visit to The Army Air Museum….

    After making a trip into the nearest town to get some much needed things like money as we returned with not a lot of this English ‘stuff’ we then returned to the site and decided to go off into the Museum to have a look around, so you can come with us and get some idea of the place with the pictures below!….

    Some of the uniforms over time….

    The birth of Army Flying!….

    The areas of where the Royal Flying Corps served.…

    For Valour, the 13 Victoria Crosses awarded in their permanent memorial with pictures of the men who won them….

    Readiness accommodation for the pilots….

    Oops! (Maybe?)….

    This looked good but sadly didn’t work out!….

    OK….Who remembers ‘M.A.S.H.’?.... “Choppers comin in!!!!”

    With a couple of pictures of the inside of the first half of the Museum it was time to head out as they were nearly closing for the day….

    As we came outside we spotted the latest helicopter which is the Apache Attack Helicopter in the sky over the airfield, just sat there like a big bird of prey looking for the morsel for dinner!....

    Going back in tomorrow to look at the rest of the exhibits as we ain’t done yet!....

  7. #87
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Calgary, Alberta


    The air museum looks like a very interesting place.

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Quote Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
    The air museum looks like a very interesting place.
    It was, wait till you see the next batch of pictures it might just jog the memory banks!!!

  9. #89
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    The second visit to The Army Air Museum….

    After we came out yesterday there was one very heavy downpour of rain which resulted in a total rainbow, but as we only looked out of the window after it had finished and passed over, all we got was the back end of the rainbow!....

    The following morning we went back to the Museum as we saw this rather impressive view of the hangers & control tower ….

    As the Museum was not yet open we went into the children’s play area….

    Then it was into the Museum and the 1940’s House with firstly.…

    Which can be seen tucked into the corner of the small garden….

    The ‘living room’….


    Kitchen with a Land Girl in her ‘overalls’….

    So how many of these packets from the larder can you recognise or remember?

    From which with a couple of other ingredients you might of made one of these items….

    ‘Were going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line, have you any dirty washing Mother dear?’

    While…. Who can remember setting off down the garden with a candle to visit the ‘Little Room’ at the bottom of the yard or garden, and halfway down the wind blew out the candle!

    You couldn’t go back cos you were desperate to make a visit, so you carried on, found the latch, opened the door, went inside did what you wanted and grabbed a few sheets of newspaper off the piece of string from where it hung up to clean up with.

    Then when you got back in the house you found your hand was a different colour as the ink had come off the paper! BUT did it go somewhere else as well? Well my Mum God luv her, never told me!...

    Meanwhile moving back to the Desert we find….

    Next was this little helicopter….

    ‘Leave me alone I wanna be a Helicopter Pilot!!!’….

    The Falklands environment….

    The refurbishment of the record breaking Lynx Helcopter….

    A forward observation post….

    The Sauerkraut from the kitchen affected the camera while taking this next picture, sorry!....

    Radio operator….

    Argentine dugout position from the Falklands War....

    WOW! Clearly liked Western Films….

    An early Military Drone that was used in Afghanistan….

    While we nearly missed this other smaller version as it was hanging from the ceiling….

    As that concluded our visit to Museum of Army Flying we set off for a place that is not far away but not very well know called….

    Then on the way back to the Museum we see these two classic Austin cars coming towards us….

    As we continue down this English Country Road…..

    Final leg tomorrow as we head back into Wales and home….

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to visit Stalag Luft III.

    Our last 12 hours at The Museum of Army Flying and then the home trip the morning after!...

    As a number of our friends packed up and made their way home due to ‘Monday morning commitments’ we had a nice quiet afternoon and I was able to get a picture to start off with of the full name of the airfield....

    While shortly after the Apache AH took off again and flew off to the North….

    A couple of hours later the sirens on the airfield started up and the large gates to the airfield opened up a few minutes before these two ‘Classic’ Helicopters appeared as they had been out taking part in a fly past as part of the Somme Remembrance events….

    Later on towards the evening we then saw these two fixed wing planes coming in which were also ‘Classics’ from WWII….

    The pilot of the second aircraft kindly came along the roadway in the airfield as he could see a number of people lined up on the fence waiting to take pictures then as he went past there was a nice wave from him as we also noticed a young boy in the second seat!….

    While not long after it was ‘Sunset’ time….

    As the Crows on the airfield grass went around looking for their evening meal!….

    While the clouds looked a bit menacing but thankfully it stayed dry!....

    Just to prove we were there!….

    The next morning as we prepared to set off we heard then saw this Helicopter taking off and going South….

    Then it was time for us to get on the road and toddle along passed the Thatched Cottages in this part of England as we head home….

    Not long and we are on the Second Severn Crossing only we are on the oter side of the road as we make our way back….

    As we then cross the Border and pass the ‘Welcome Home’ sign….

    But we have to pay to get back in!….

    That’s it, the Fat Lady is once again singing!

    But I would ask one favour PLEASE?

    If you have enjoyed being in the Third Seat on this trip, then on November 11 at the 11th Hour of that day, as we observe the ‘Minutes Silence’ very quietly say ‘Thank you’ to all the military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom which also allowed me to be born and write this travel blog, so that you could read and hopefully enjoy it.


    “We will remember them”

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