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Vimy Ridge, France

Written on: Friday May 11th, 2007

A journal entry from: Backpacking Europe 2007

Just alittle history: Vimy Ridge, recaptured by Canadian and British forces during WWII its often considered one for the most successful battle in Canadian history. Naturally, the location is the site to the Canadian WWII memorial. The land was given to Canada (considered Canadian territory) by France in appriciation of sacrifices made.

We took a day trip to Vimy, it has become a very popular location for Canadians considering its connection with Canada. Vimy is pretty much a village and the ridge is alittle far from the rail station. Transportation to the ridge is very limited and the actual train to Vimy only stops at the station 3-4 times a day, so if you decide to go, plan your visit. 

When we arrived at the beaten up rail station, there was an old man waiting there for folks (mostly Canadians) planning to make the pilgrimage to Vimy Ridge. Appearently he volunteers his time and waits at the station everytime the trains comes in to pick up visitors and drive them in the memorial site, considering the ridge is pretty far out of town. He has been doing this for years at no cost and dosn't expect anything in return. This is just to show you how the towns people are appricative of the Canadians during the war. My only regret is not seeing him again to get his name, he had to drive a few backpackers back to Arras and couldn't be back ontime to pick us up.

The Vimy Memorial is truly impressive. Every Canadian should visit the memorial whenever they have a chance to. It makes you appreciate the sacrifices more being there in person. 

Being a former battlefield most of the grassy areas are still infested with unexploded amunition and bombs. These areas are partitioned by electrical fencing, they didn't have any current running through them at the time, i tested it out myself. To keep the grass at an ideal length without putting people at risk to cut it, the parks commission use sheep to graze the grass, pretty ingenious considering they aren't large enought to set off any explosives. also they are able to get thought all the craters left by the amunitions during the battle.