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Ypres (in Dutch: Ieper) is a town that already excisted in Roman times, and was raided by the Roman in the first century B.C. During the Middle Ages it was a big city, with around 40,000 inhabitants. The town was a strategic point in World War I, as it stood in the way of the Germans to invade France from the north, and as a gateway to the North Sea. The trenchwar that took place here, can be devided in 4 big battles in which thousands of soldiers on both sides lost their lives. So many granates were fired here, that almost 100 years later granates are still being found by farmers while ploughing their country.
The Menin Gate is a monument for all the soldiers of the British Commonwealth, apart from the soldiers from Newfoundland, who died in or around Ypres before 16 August 1917, who have no known grave. Those who died after that date (and all from New Zealand and Newfoundland) are commemorated elsewhere. Every day at 20.00 the last post is played at the Menin Gate, while traffic is stopped. The ceremony is held since 1928, and was only interrupted during World War II, when it was forbidden by the nazi's.
The Saint George's Memorial Church was built to commemorate over 500,000 British and Commonwealth troops, who had died in battles during World War I. The foundation stone was laid by Field Marshal Lord Plumer on July 24, 1927. The church was consecrated by the Bishop of Fulham on March 24, 1929.
Many War Graves can be found in and around Ypres. The largest cementeries are Langemark German war cemetery and Tyne Cot Commonwealth war cemetery.
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The Lakenhal (Cloth Hall) dates back to the 13th century and was one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages. The building you see today is a copy of the original building. After the war the structure was damaged so badly that rebuilding was the only option. The belfry that surmounts the hall houses a 49-bell carillon. The whole complex was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. In the Cloth Hall today you will find the In Flanders Fields Museum, which is dedicated to the history of Ypres during World War I.
The Kattenstoet (Cat Parade) takes place every three years on the second Sunday of May. It involves the throwing of toy cats from the belfry and a colourful parade of cats and witches. The next parade will take place in 2012.
The Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally takes place in and around Ypres since 1965. Some of the best-known names in rallying have taken part in the past Among others: Juha Kankkunen, Bruno Thiry, Henri Toivonen, Colin McRae and François Duval.
Ostend-Bruges International Airport is about 25 kilometres from Bruges, located near the coastal city of Ostend, but serves mainly as an airport for charter and package holiday flights to southern Europe. Destinations include Antalya, Bodrum, Izmir, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Alicante, Corfu, Djerba, Crete, Kos, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Tenerife, and Monastir (Tunisia).
|Cherryblossom B&B||Grote Branderstraat 30 Vlamertinge||Guesthouse||-|
|Peace Village||Nieuwkerkestraat 9 A Messines||hostel||-|
|Cavells Bed and Breakfast||Minneplein 3||Guesthouse||-|
|Guesthouse T oud Gemeentehuis Poelkapelle||Guynemerplein 58920 Poelkapelle||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Demi Lune B&B||Diksmuidsestraat 97||GUESTHOUSE||99|
|B&B The Protea||Menenstraat 47 Geluveld||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet is widely available in Belgium, but internet cafés are not common, because most people have internet access at home or through wifi. There are multiple internet access points in all cities and it is free in most libraries. Also in multiple gas stations, train stations and diners on the highways there is Wi-Fi available. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi nowadays and if you can't find any you can always fall back on Quick or McDonalds which both offer free Wi-Fi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Belgium is: + 32. To make an international call from Belgium, the code is 00.
Belgium has a modern telephone system with nationwide cellular telephone coverage. Belgium uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are three main companies (Proximus, Mobistar and Base, and a large number of MVNOs) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free. You can get sim cards for the three main companies in dedicated phone shops. Sim cards from the MVNOs are readily available at supermarkets (Carrefour, Aldi, Colruyt to name a few all have their own brand). All networks provide UMTS and HSDPA (3G) mobile internet coverage, and are rolling out a 4G network, mainly in the big cities and eventually in the whole country.
De Post is the national postal service of Belgium, with Dutch, French and German versions. They offer generally fast, reliable services. It's a relatively expensive service though, with normal domestic post (cards, letters etc) up to 50 grams costing €0.61. To other European countries it costs €1.03 and outside Europe it's €1.34. At the post offices, you can buy stamps and they have other services as well, including international money transfers. The opening times of post offices are 9:00am or 10:00am until 4:00pm or 5:00pm, depending on whether it's the main central one or a smaller branch or in towns. Some of them might be open on Saturday mornings, and remember that quite a few still close for lunch break! De Post also offers the sending of parcels, but you could also use private international companies like UPS, TNT or DHL, as they offer roughly the same services and prices, but are generally faster.
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