Jean Pierre or JP, a hospitality club member came to pick us up at the Kortjik station. We only had his house phone number when we arrived and he was out at work then. Due to communication gap with Rossa, JP’s wife, it took us quite long just to get a simple message to JP – we had reached the train station. JP is a nature-lover, so is Rossa. They like to hike, and have been to many mountains in the Alps, some of which actually required more than 8 hours of hiking. We recommended them to have a go at our Mount Kinabalu, unfortunately, they are not fond of flying long distance. Rossa welcomed us with an open heart, prepared us some bread and drinks and set up the inflatable bed to couch us for 2 nights.
After a light dinner, JP took us around Dadizele, showed us the most popular sculpture there – the Pumpshiter which tells a story of a man who was forced to let loose in a well due to too much alcohol and plum tarts intake and not being able to find any toilet nearby.
JP spent us beer at one of the neighborhood beer house, I tried a type of cherry beer named Kriek – it tasted sweet. Then we headed home to get a well sleep on the air bed.
Our day started with a walk around the fort along the river in Ieper (in Dutch or Ypres in French) which was used as a front line for the great World War I. Then we passed by the Menin Gate, the gate which was engraved with the names of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who sacrificed themselves in that war. Its hall contains a total of more than 58,000 names whose graves are unknown.
Then we proceeded to the Cloth Hall which was one of the largest commercial buildings at its time. The one that can be seen today is a reconstructed building as the hall was ruined during the World War I.
There were 3 museums for us to visit to occupy our day.
Flanders Field Museum (in the Cloth Hall) – a permanent exhibition that explains the run-up to the First World War, the devastation of the war years and the post war periods.
Belle Almshouse Museum – a chapel which was turned into a museum, mostly showing paintings of Jesus Christ.
Stedelijk Museum – a display of the most beautiful items from the Ypres Public Social Welfare Centre, comprises of remarkable items such as plates, sculptures, paintings, and movies about the Ieper city.
1. Broccoli soup
2. Pork patty with mushrooms and tomatoes gravy
4. Banana pudding
Charlotte, JP’s daughter reached home just in time for dinner and we were introduced to her. She was only 16 years old when we met her but she did not look as her age at all with her matured look and her height.
After dinner, we handed them gifts (that were brought from Malaysia) individually as a token of appreciation. They liked them very much especially Charlotte and Rossa on the silky-like scarves. In return, Charlotte gave me a handmade woolen ring which coincidentally fitted my finger well. We chatted happily over the fresh strawberry ice-cream afterwards. The ice-cream was really tasty.
Soon, it was midnight and we went to sleep. We bid farewell with JP and his family.