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Thread: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

  1. #1

    anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    I should have my motorhome done by next year, so looking at some plans for next year, happy to take a few trips over ( with and without the family, Auschwitz will be one i do on my own, the girls found the 9/11 memorial in NY too hard to take, so i shouldnt think they will be able to cope with Auschwitz )

    The beaches / area around the D day landing at Normandy with the family

    The Somme Fields

    Auschwitz without the family

    Oradour Sur Glane Village with the family

    while not WW based, going to do the Wolfsburg VW museum aswell

    anyone done anything that i need to add to my list ? ? ?

  2. #2

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Havenít been but I saw a TV report about a memorial park dedicated to Welsh servicemen and servicewomen. Think it might have been this one: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wels...al_Park,_Ypres

  3. #3

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by blue matt View Post
    I should have my motorhome done by next year, so looking at some plans for next year, happy to take a few trips over ( with and without the family, Auschwitz will be one i do on my own, the girls found the 9/11 memorial in NY too hard to take, so i shouldnt think they will be able to cope with Auschwitz )

    The beaches / area around the D day landing at Normandy with the family

    The Somme Fields

    Auschwitz without the family

    Oradour Sur Glane Village with the family

    while not WW based, going to do the Wolfsburg VW museum aswell

    anyone done anything that i need to add to my list ? ? ?
    Cassino in central Italy. The forgotten bloodbath.

  4. #4

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    I've been to Oradour. Here's a tip for you. You can gain free entrance to the village by avoiding the gift shop where you are led to believe the booklet they sell you is for entering the place. It's actually free to get in. It's an incredible place and so moving to see the graves and the church where the population were lined up against the wall and shot. You can actually see many of the bullet holes with bullets lodged in the wall. As you are a motorhomer there is a free Aire a few hundred yards from the town. Some of the cemetries around the northern coast are very moving. The American cemetry especially is in a beautiful location close to one of the landing beaches.

  5. #5

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Ive also done Oradour which is well worth visiting as mentioned above. I also did Auschwitz 2yrs ago, Nov/Dec time, it was snowing and really brought home what the poor prisobers went through. Again a must to visit but very very poignant.

  6. #6

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Never understood why people want to go to the 9/11 memorial. And I especially don't get why people would want to go to Oradour-sur-Glane. It's like going to Aberfan.

  7. #7

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Memetz Wood is very poignant

    as is Thiepval

    The Passchendaele museum in Zonnebeke is excellent, with Tyne Cot & Artillery Wood (Hedd Wyn) close by.

  8. #8

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    thanks folks, keep em coming

    NYCBlue, we went to 9/11 with a sense of remembrance, somewhat like remembrance Sunday ( we go every year )

    Sure we did not know anyone who was effected by 9/11, that did not matter, the only bit of the memorial that felt that we were intruding was the center square bit where family member / friends read bits about people they had lost ( it was recorded readings ) , I felt this could have done with a polite notice to say that it was a private space for family members / friends of the deceased / effected

  9. #9

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Auschwitz is a 'good' trip. very eductional and emotional. it's a professional area so the guides, tours and locations are preserved very well. A lot of the emotion comes from your mind trying to comprehend what happened there.

    Our guide was a Pole who was very anti Nazi (felt she was anti German as well) and she gave her view of events but the whole story of how Poland was taken over was incredible. How Krakow became German overnight was really interesting.

  10. #10

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    I went to the 9/11 site last year. It's like an atttraction that you must go to.

    I felt I needed to take a minute there and absord the enormity of the history. I paid my respects and moved on.

  11. #11

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by blue matt View Post
    I should have my motorhome done by next year, so looking at some plans for next year, happy to take a few trips over ( with and without the family, Auschwitz will be one i do on my own, the girls found the 9/11 memorial in NY too hard to take, so i shouldnt think they will be able to cope with Auschwitz )

    The beaches / area around the D day landing at Normandy with the family

    The Somme Fields

    Auschwitz without the family

    Oradour Sur Glane Village with the family

    while not WW based, going to do the Wolfsburg VW museum aswell

    anyone done anything that i need to add to my list ? ? ?
    The Nordschleife.

  12. #12

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by blue matt View Post
    thanks folks, keep em coming

    NYCBlue, we went to 9/11 with a sense of remembrance, somewhat like remembrance Sunday ( we go every year )

    Sure we did not know anyone who was effected by 9/11, that did not matter, the only bit of the memorial that felt that we were intruding was the center square bit where family member / friends read bits about people they had lost ( it was recorded readings ) , I felt this could have done with a polite notice to say that it was a private space for family members / friends of the deceased / effected
    I'm not being critical. It's just something I don't understand. I've never been to the 9/11 memeorial myself. I doubt I ever will. Just driving past it is enough for me. I don't think I could cope with Auschwitz or Oradour-sur-Glane.

  13. #13

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by blue matt View Post
    I should have my motorhome done by next year, so looking at some plans for next year, happy to take a few trips over ( with and without the family, Auschwitz will be one i do on my own, the girls found the 9/11 memorial in NY too hard to take, so i shouldnt think they will be able to cope with Auschwitz )

    The beaches / area around the D day landing at Normandy with the family

    The Somme Fields

    Auschwitz without the family

    Oradour Sur Glane Village with the family

    while not WW based, going to do the Wolfsburg VW museum aswell

    anyone done anything that i need to add to my list ? ? ?

    Gdansk is definitely worth a visit but obviously a long way from the places you are mentioning. Westerplatte, where the first shots of WW2 were fired, is very interesting with the story that surrounds it.

    Plaszow, which is on the outskirts of Krakow, is worth a look too. Am sure Schindler's Enamel factory is already on your list!

    A walking tour of Prague, looking at Heydrich and the preserved Jewish section is also both equally fascinating/disturbing.

    Lviv (Ukraine) is also a fascinating place for WW2 history and the fact that they seem to have airbrushed their Jewish past.

    A long way to go in a van, I guess but thought Iíd put them in the mix.

  14. #14

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Des Parrot View Post
    The Passchendaele museum in Zonnebeke is excellent, with Tyne Cot & Artillery Wood (Hedd Wyn) close by.
    This.

    Plus if you want to WW2 the Normandy beaches are a must. Avoid the tourist traps though, the French are definitely after your cash! Recommend Pont du Hoc, Omaha Beach + USA Cemetery, German Cemetery near La Camme, Commonwealth Cemetery outside Bayeux (also pop in to see the Tapestry, really good!), and then over to Pegasus Bridge. You can easily spend 3-4 days there.

  15. #15

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBlue View Post
    I'm not being critical. It's just something I don't understand. I've never been to the 9/11 memeorial myself. I doubt I ever will. Just driving past it is enough for me. I don't think I could cope with Auschwitz or Oradour-sur-Glane.
    I agree. Have been to Oradour and also stopped at several WW1 cemeteries when travelling in Northern France. Remember one where the road goes right through the middle and [nearly] every driver slows to a crawl as they go through it. However -and this isn't a go at the original poster - seems that there's a section of society that thinks it's good for people - children especially - to be confronted by these horrific images [Auschwitz] etc. Personally if I were a 16yr old I'd rather go skiing...

  16. #16

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    I have done the 9/11 memorial, Belsen, Dachau and Auschwitz and all serve as a poignant indicator as how horrible the human race can be. Each was a moving and educational experience with Auschwitz the stand out 'memory' as I find it fascinating that a 'Death Factory' of such extent can run by 'people' that were not prehistoric but the age of many of our Grandparents. I would suggest if you do visit to read a few books on the camp before you go.

  17. #17

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by blue matt View Post
    I should have my motorhome done by next year, so looking at some plans for next year, happy to take a few trips over ( with and without the family, Auschwitz will be one i do on my own, the girls found the 9/11 memorial in NY too hard to take, so i shouldnt think they will be able to cope with Auschwitz )

    The beaches / area around the D day landing at Normandy with the family

    The Somme Fields

    Auschwitz without the family

    Oradour Sur Glane Village with the family

    while not WW based, going to do the Wolfsburg VW museum aswell

    anyone done anything that i need to add to my list ? ? ?
    I did an organised day tour of the WW1 sites in France/ Belgium which included the Irish memorial site, the claimed trenches that featured in the xmas football game and concluded with the last post ceremony at the Meniem Gate which was very moving. Not sure about the concentration camp visits as my grandparents fled the Netherlands but lost many relatives in these places. May just be a bit too close to home for me.

  18. #18

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Thiepval and Tyne Cot are very moving and really bring home the enormity of the number of casualties during WW1, especially Thiepval when you realise all the names there are of men whose bodies were never found. The whole area around the Somme is dotted with WW1 cemeteries, some very small.

    As has already been mentioned Monte Cassino is definitely worth a visit. You really need a tour guide there to appreciate the whole battle - we had a good one and we never would have realised the whole story without him. My father was with the Eighth Army there but he never talked about it. After he died I found a poem that he had written about it (A lament for Liri plain) which brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

  19. #19

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    once again, this place comes up trumps

    I think i will print out a map and look at the places mentioned and marked them down

    where do you book a guide from ? ? ? If i just google one, i might end up with a buffoon who just wants to take my money

  20. #20

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Whilst over in France for the euros, Iíd taken my two boys ages
    6 and 8 at the time around the WW1 sites. I also took them to my great uncles grave who was killed in WW1 aged 18. We did the Newfoundland memorial park which is a memorial to the Canadian troops, strange to say but an amazing place.the fields still have the bomb craters and even barb wire fence post from WW1 still standing. Your also able to walk the trenches. Not far from around Albert is the Lochnagar Crater where the British tunnelled under the Germans and blew them up.

  21. #21

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Gofer Blue View Post
    Thiepval and Tyne Cot are very moving and really bring home the enormity of the number of casualties during WW1, especially Thiepval when you realise all the names there are of men whose bodies were never found. The whole area around the Somme is dotted with WW1 cemeteries, some very small.

    As has already been mentioned Monte Cassino is definitely worth a visit. You really need a tour guide there to appreciate the whole battle - we had a good one and we never would have realised the whole story without him. My father was with the Eighth Army there but he never talked about it. After he died I found a poem that he had written about it (A lament for Liri plain) which brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.
    My father fought in Greece, Crete, Tobruk El Alamein, Italy at Anzio to Monte Cassini and was demobbed from Italy. Never spoke of any of it except to others who were also there
    Very sad

  22. #22

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBlue View Post
    I'm not being critical. It's just something I don't understand. I've never been to the 9/11 memeorial myself. I doubt I ever will. Just driving past it is enough for me. I don't think I could cope with Auschwitz or Oradour-sur-Glane.
    I wasnt taking it as you being critical my mrs is of the same thoughts as you ( after she went to 9/11 and wanted to go as part of our trip ) about the WW memorials / sites, i can see why though

  23. #23

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    i revisited this thread as now in serious planning mode for trips this year ( i need something to work towards )

    do the sites get busy ? ? ?

  24. #24

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Morris View Post
    Auschwitz is a 'good' trip. very eductional and emotional. it's a professional area so the guides, tours and locations are preserved very well. A lot of the emotion comes from your mind trying to comprehend what happened there.

    Our guide was a Pole who was very anti Nazi (felt she was anti German as well) and she gave her view of events but the whole story of how Poland was taken over was incredible. How Krakow became German overnight was really interesting.
    Basically the same as this, our guide was male so obviously not the same as Mike's guide but he wasn't shy in letting his feelings known, the site is basically two sites divided by a road, the Birkenau site for me was the real sad site if it's possible to rate them. Glad I went, doesn't really matter how old or how tough you are it's emotional. I've been to the 9/11 site and of course it's another reminder of a terrible event in history, but it didn't have the same feeling as Auschwitz and I'm not sure why, I'd like to go the9/11 site again but doubt if i will ever go back to Auschwitz unless someone in my family wanted me to accompany them.

  25. #25

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Dwr View Post
    This.

    Plus if you want to WW2 the Normandy beaches are a must. Avoid the tourist traps though, the French are definitely after your cash! Recommend Pont du Hoc, Omaha Beach + USA Cemetery, German Cemetery near La Camme, Commonwealth Cemetery outside Bayeux (also pop in to see the Tapestry, really good!), and then over to Pegasus Bridge. You can easily spend 3-4 days there.
    We have been planning to go this year in June around the Anniversary of the D Day landings thanks for the advice

    PS any room in your motor home Blue Matt ;)

  26. #26

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    The Nuremberg Nazi rally grounds museum is very good if you make it that far.

    https://museums.nuernberg.de/documentation-center/

  27. #27

    Re: anyone done a tour of the WW 1 / 2 sites in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBlue View Post
    I'm not being critical. It's just something I don't understand.
    I agree with this too. I am in no way suggesting that people shouldn't go or that it is wrong or whatever, I just cannot really understand why anyone would ever want to do so. I've lived very near some sites of concentration camps in Germany but I didn't go and see them and I can't really envisage a circumstance under which I would decide to do so.

    I differentiate places like Auschwitz from say the Nuernberg parade grounds though.

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