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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Lille Tour - Day 2

I slept so heavily last night but not for nearly long enough. I would have quite happily stayed in bed until lunchtime! But that wasn't to be. I was completely zombified at breakfast at 8am but after 2 extremely strong cups of coffee I was back to my usual spritely self!

Our first port of call for today was to a potato farm in a little village, Heringhem, near St. Omer. The owners of the farm, who the group leaders have become friends with over the years, are the cousins of the owner of a champagne house just outside of Reims. So after checking out all their farm machinery we were all invited in for champagne tasting.
I was offered a glass of water! Then the 'nibbles' came out, which consisted of those horrible French Wotsits crisps things which have no flavour and taste of paper! After the group having a glass each the volume had doubled. The bubbles must have gone to their head. Some of them had 2 or 3 glasses each and were really make the most of the freebies! Then came the time to buy. I'm glad I only have half a coach of passengers on because I never would have been able to carry back twice as much as they have bought without being overweight!

From there we moved on to the next little village, which I forget the name, where we were booked in for lunch at St. Sebastien's restaurant. I was treated to lunch which was an enormous improvement on the 'nibbles' we'd had earlier. We were greeted with a glass of Kia, I was offered water! We then were served our starter of smoked salmon (I hate fish!) accompanied by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (more water!) For main course we had beef bourgingnon served with a red table wine ( this time I was offered coke!) which was very nice, followed by a cheese plate, then French Pear Tart (yuk!) and espresso to finish.

Once lunch was over, which took over 3 hrs, we got back on our coach and set off for Ypres. The group by now, after drinking since 11am, were very rowdy! Lots of singing on the coach. Songs like, I am the music man, and, A la wetter! After 5 mins I'd had enough so I turned up the heating and they all fell asleep! 

We arrived in Ypres about 1630hrs where the group had free time to enjoy this gorgeous weather in this lovely town before attending the ceremony of the Last Post at the Menin Gate this evening. There were a lot of people there this evening. 9 coaches turned up for it. There were many people who laid a wreath. One of the ladies from our group dressed in her British Legion uniform and had the official flag from the Stratford upon Avon branch of the British Legion.
She was one of three this evening carrying a flag, (I think they call a standard, sorry showing my ignorance).
The ceremony was incredibly moving and it's the first time I've been able to attend the Last Post. I have always found this sort of thing tugs on my heart strings.

So now it's the end of a nice relaxed day which everyone seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed. And now I'm going to enjoy a glass of wine or two seeing as I have a free morning tomorrow! I have just been invited to the 'party' being held in the organisers room! So I shall go and be sociable and drink their wine! Happy days!