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Friday, March 04, 2005

Vimy Memorial and Private Obvious

On the second day in France, we went to the Vimy War Memorial. I go into some detail with the photos, so check those out here:

And I'm not as up on this stuff as Nat, so go here for details of what Vimy was:

I have to say, I wasn't sure about the whole Vimy day trip. I didn't think there'd be any guides there, and the monument itself is under reconstruction, so we couldn't go right up to it. It was, however, one of the more interesting days I've ever had. So thanks for making us go, Nat.

We took the train to Arras, had lunch there, bought flowers for Ann, and then cabbed it out to Vimy. Our cabbie and Daorcey had a fun time trying to understand each other, and when he dropped us off at Vimy, he very kindly stuck around a few minutes to make sure we wouldn't get stuck there.

As it turns out, there are guides tehre, and they were wonderful. A very enthusiastic, eager and freakishly knowledgeable history student from Saskatchewan gave us a wicked-awesome tour of the tunnels, and then set us out on our own to see the cemetaries adn the monument.

Walking thru the area, it's pretty amazing to see where all the trenches were. Amazingly, tho the battle area is from the first world war, you can still see where they were dug. Compared to the flatness of the neighbouring farmer's fields, it's pretty insane. I can't properly explain this at all, and the photos don't do it justice. It was freaky.

In fact, Robert-super-tour-guide-guy was telling us that farmers in the area are still digging up old shells and whatever when they till their fields, which is a frightening and rather awful thought. Nearly 90 years on, and the bits and pieces of metal from that war are still dug into the earth.

When Ann told her dad we were going to Vimy, he asked her to find out where his great-uncle was buried, as he died in France in 1917, or there abouts. I doubted, as I'm sure Ann did, that we'd be able to find his grave, if indeed there was one there at all.

Ann passed on her relation's details to Nichole, a Newfie who also worked tehre, and when we came back from the tunnel tour, she told us taht Ann's relative did indeed die in France, but the never recovered his body. So, while he's not marked with a grave, his name is on the monument, which is pretty amazing. Sadly we didn't get to see it... Ann ended up leaving the flowers in one of the graveyards.

Anyways, we also wandered in the trenches a bit before heading back to Arras with another Canadian, living in Ireland and traveling a bit. His name was Joe, but has since been renamed Joe-who-wants-to-hump-Ann, for reasons that should be fairly obvious.

Back in Paris, we were so tired we did nothing, really. We went out for dessert--natalie needed Creme Brulee, and we needed Natalie happy--and then went back to the hotel with a bottle of wine, and got Daorcey drunk.

That led to one of the best exchanges between Nat and Daorcey of all time. He was sprawled on the bed, and she made some derisive remark to him, sparking this wonderful display of drunken wit:

Darocey: Yeah, well I'm drunk.
Natalie: No kidding, Captain Obvious.
Daorcey, slurring: I'm not a captain. I haven't been a soldier long enough. I'm only a Private!

So henceforth, Daorcey shall be known as Private Obvious.

Pictures--yes, of course I took pictures--are here:

So that was Day Two in France.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daorcey still gets all "mrrr-y" when I mention Private Obvious. Hahaha.



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