Tour Highlights by Michelle Waller
Michelle Waller from Boronia Travel has recently returned from another successful Anzac Day tour on the Western Front, which was led by the wonderful and knowledgeable battlefield guide, Mr Graeme Beveridge. We asked Michelle about some of the highlights of the trip, which is perfect for anyone thinking of travelling with us to the Western Front in 2018.
What was the highlight of the Anzac commemoration ceremony?
The commemorations began with a spiritual Australian Indigenous performance by traditional Didgeridoo player, David Hudson; then as the sun began to rise over the battlefields with the cemetery in the forefront, the prominent sounds of bagpipes were played beneath the Australian and French flags and in closing, with the Last Post played from the top of the memorial followed by one minute silence, the emotion that is felt when standing amongst the battlefields which our relatives so vigilantly fought almost a century ago is truly soul-stirring.
What was your favourite money-can't-buy experience?
Each year our tour members are fortunate enough to join local villagers in Bullecourt for a lunch in the Town Hall and this year, the experience was made even more special when
our friend Gilles Durand and his wonderful mother Collette arranged a ceremony to honour the missing soldiers in the local area. The ceremony, attended by the mayor of the village along with many locals, was an intimate service where we were each given a candle with the name of a missing soldier to light and lay in remembrance at the altar of a quaint chapel located amongst the fields in nearby Reincourt. We then joined together for a lovely lunch catered by the local ladies using produce from the area, including bubbles served by the mayor! The entire experience displayed the unique relationship between Australians and the locals in villages throughout the Somme battlefields, and will be an experience our tour members will never forget!
What was your favourite restaurant/foodie experience?
There were many enjoyable experiences, from the entertaining waiter at our very first lunch together in Albert, to the eclectic and fun café in Estaires, and the restaurant in the old casements in Ypres serving local cuisine paired with their own Belgian beer. All meals were enjoyable but perhaps a special mention of the dessert served at lunch on Anzac Day –the most delicious profiteroles with home-made vanilla ice-cream and chocolate fudge sauce!
Why did you enjoy travelling with this particular group?
Our group was a fantastic mix of couples, solo travellers and also student/teacher prize-winners from the ACT Government. Whilst everyone had different reasons for visiting the Western Front battlefields, the comradery amongst this group was exceptional to the point that on our free nights we chose to dine together at varying cafes and restaurants, leading to some entertaining moments and good times had by all.
Find out more about the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux Centenary Tour
in 2018. Or call the Boronia Travel Centre on 1800 035 350
for more information.