...or another Big Birthday trip.
Almost five years ago, when my blog was still new and shiny, I wrote a post about a holiday I’d just had with DD. 2011 was the year I turned 65 and she turned 40 and to mark these momentous occurrences we decided to go to Assisi together on a Pax Travel pilgrimage. I had been several times before and loved it, but for DD it was her first visit. On our return I shared some impressions of our experience in a post called The Big Birthday trip.
This wasn’t the first time in recent years that I’d headed off on holiday with a member of the family other than DH. The previous year, my next-to-youngest sister, PolkaDot, and I had visited Madeira only weeks after the catastrophic floods of February 2010 and, once I had a blog, of course I had to write about it. We both enjoyed our shared holiday so much that afterwards we talked several times about the possibility of repeating the experience.
In November 2011, to mark Armistice Day, I had written a post about my Great-Uncle Walter who died in the Ypres Salient in World War 1. That sowed the seed in my mind of one day doing what PolkaDot had already done and visiting Ypres in Belgium to see his name on the Menin Gate memorial. Time went on and a couple of years later she suggested that we might like to go on holiday together in 2016 to mark two more Big Birthdays - her 65th and my 70th - and also the centenary of Great-Uncle Walter’s death on February 16th.
Now February isn’t normally the time of year one would choose to holiday in Western Europe, but some things are more important that the weather. When we discovered that a holiday company had scheduled a battlefields tour that would take us to the very area where Great-Uncle Walter had been killed, on the exact anniversary of his death a century ago, the die was cast.
We booked and now I’m busy with my final preparations before DH drops me at my sister’s house on Sunday, ready for a very early start next morning on our journey to Belgium. Fortunately the local weather forecast for next week is very much better than what we’ve been enduring this week - cold and sunny, rather than wet and windy - and we’re both starting to feel very excited about Big Birthday Trip Mark 2. My camera and notebook are already packed. Less important things like clothes will come later...