Trip to Belgium, Oct 2015, part 1, Oct 11-24 By Jim Coppens Posted by ​Tia

Sunday Oct 11 2015, Left home at 0440. Arrived Lynx Fern Park bus stop to await 0510 bus to airport.  Discovered that Lynx phone info was wrong & bus was not til 0600, arriving airport at 0700!  Our flight departure is 0725, so making flight is almost impossible, but we decided to try anyway.  Bus fare:  $1 each with Senior Discount

Bus arrived airport at 0700, but security check line was very long. Finally we asked to cut in to line so we could make 0725 flight.  Miracle, we made the flight!  Now at Balt USO waiting for 2130 flight to Ramstein.

No luck Mon or Tues. We checked out of Balt Hostel n stayed Tues night with Ramon n Scione Placiente.  Rented a car n will drive to Andrews this morn.

We are about to board a C-17 at Andrews AFB bound for Ramstein, arriving there Thurs morn around 10 am. We finally had some good luck!

After several days of frustration (no success with space a),  I rented a car and drove a considerable distance to catch an airplane. This method is characterized by an expensive drop off charge.  It will always get you out of the ubiquitous “space a” doldrums.

Thurs Oct 15 We arrived Ramstein at 10 am local time and checked into DV quarters til Sat. Now sorting out how to get to Brussels Saturday. Also fighting jet lag.

Tuesday Oct 20 We are checking out of Jacques Brel hostel today. I will miss the unlimited cappuccino. Going to Belian War Museum to see airplane flown by Willy Coppens in WWI. In eve, going to Maldegem to visit friend Paul deCooman.

Friend Paul took us by train from Brussels to Aalter, then by car to Maldegem, where we checked into Maldegem hostel. Then had sandwiches at Paul’s house.  Slept at hostel and ate continental breakfast there. Same breakfast as at Jacques Brel hostel, but no cappuccino. Paul’s wife marijke picked us up at noon to go to their house for lunch.

Thurs Oct 22 We went to a military museum in Knokke by the ocean today with Paul deCooman.  It told about the Dday invasion and the fighting after, from the Canadian point of view. The Canadians liberated this part of Belgium and defeated the Grrmans. Afterwards went to a simple lunch. €54 for a simple lunch for 3 people!

Oct 23 On Friday, we went to the Canada Poland Museum with retired Belgian Air Force pilot Johan, a friend of Paul deCooman. The museum tells the story of the troops that liberated this part of Belgium in 1944.  There was hard fighting here in Maldegem with the Germans entrenched on a canal, and the Canadians crossing the canal. Excellent museum, with dioramas and many artifacts.

Sat Oct 24 We saw the site of one of the WWII battles, part of Operation Switchback.  Then we had dinner for 10 people in a country Belgian restaurant.  Then went to see repair hangars of a Luftwaffe base. Still being used by a Belgian farmer.

We have to go pack, as we are checking out of Maldegem hostel, going to mass, then checking in at Brugge hostel.

Thank you.

James H. Coppens, CPA

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