Another blustery morning with grey skies – we drove down to Bastogne so Colin could visit the war museum. Much of the drive down is on the route for Sunday’s race – they go just into the city before circling around and going back north to Liege on a different road.
As you near the city there’s more than one war memorial, and several old rusted tanks, etc. There’s also a really neat array of sculptured cyclists in one of the large roundabouts paying tribute to the race – it’s the oldest one on the calendar going back to 1892.
The war museum was actually on the race route just at the northeast end of the town. We parked and had lunch, then Colin went on into the museum – I didn’t think I could handle it so took Mo for an outside tour of the memorial to the Americans.
On the way to the memorial, just outside the entrance to the museum, was an art display. It was made of paintings that were all done on pieces of the actual Berlin Wall – it was very moving, and seemed to be a very apt place to have it.
As you approach the memorial there’s a large sculpture of the photo of the sailor kissing the nurse.
The memorial was very beautiful and emotional – I might as well have gone into the museum as I had tears streaming down my face almost the whole time (although almost hidden by my movie star sunglasses).
It’s built in the shape of a five pointed star and on the outside panels are the names of the various American regiments, etc, who participated in this area, and on the inside of each pillar is the story of what happened.
Along the top on the outside are the names of all of the states, although they seemed to have a bit of a problem with the order of a couple of them.
One kind of amusing part was getting up to the top viewing area – there was a set of circular stairs that were very narrow and I was just about as freaked out by them as poor little Mo was. I almost had to stop and pick her up but wondered who would pick me up – luckily we reached the top unscathed.
There wasn’t really much to see from up there, except that at the end of each point of the star there was a placque with a map of the countryside in front and what had happened there.
The trip down the spiral stairs was easier than the trip up for both Mo and myself. We then walked just a little ways down to ‘the Crypt’ that Mo didn’t like at all. She was fine going down the stairs but didn’t like the inside – she pulled furiously at the lead and started barking as soon as we went inside so we didn’t stay long.
We walked back up and took another look at the art exhibit, then headed back to the campervan to wait for Colin to finish his museum tour.
I encouraged him to take a look at the memorial and crypt, so we all went back down to the outdoor cafe so Mo and I could wait while he had a look around. The chairs were all chained to the tables, but there was a couple at the end that called out to us – their chairs were unchained and they asked if we wanted to join them.
They were Dutch and had just come down for a long weekend – the fact that the race was going to go by was a bonus for them, as they also knew a lot about the races. They spoke english very well – as most dutch people do – and were nice to talk with for awhile.
While Mo and I sat and nursed a glass of wine – ok it was me, not Mo – Colin had a walk around up and down the memorial and to the crypt.
On the way back to the campground we stopped in La Roche-de-Ardenne so I could have a closer look at the ‘sculpture park’ we’d seen next to the river. Once again the theme had something to do with the war, but none of the placques were in english.
Mo and I walked all around and did enjoy the sculptures, and although they were a bit on the obscure side the place was very peaceful and beautiful.