Sunday, July 13, 2014

Exploring History in Bastogne, Belgium



Compliments of www.stripes.com

I was recently asked to write an article about Bastogne for one of Stars and Stripes’ special publications. The 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge is in December, and the article will be published in the October-December Welcome to Europe Guide. Fitting.

While I don’t know a ton about Bastogne or even the Battle of the Bulge, it’s something I am interested in (especially with a History major boyfriend who I swear has the entire world’s history tattooed on his brain). So I agreed to write the article.

By this point, I’ve written quite a few articles for these special publications and have recently put them all up here (which I don’t think you can actually read, so, fellow bloggers, if there is a better way to display a  PDF via a link on blogger (without GoogleDocs), please, for the love of html let me know!)

Most of these articles have been based on research rather than experience. With Bastogne, I knew it was a place I would need to see before I wrote the article. It didn’t take much arm-twisting to get Dan to join in on my market research and go to Belgium with me to visit a bunch of memorials and war museums.

So to Belgium we went. Bastogne is only a 3-hour drive from us, right near the Luxembourg border. We actually drove through Luxembourg to get there, and on the way home took a wrong turn and ended up in France. So on that day, we were in 4 counties within 3 hours. #EuropeanLiving

Bastogne is a small town with quite the wartime past. I won’t go into all the details of Bastogne, because you probably already know or you don’t care. And if you don’t know and DO care, then keep an eye out for my article that drops some serious WWII knowledge bombs. (Phrasing?)

Anyway, we get to the town and right when you drive in is a giant Sherman Tank sitting by the tourist office. As the day goes on we realize how this town could easily be completely unknown without its involvement in the Second World War. It thrives on its past and the memories that are still here.

We go to lunch before the sightseeing and I cannot wait. One of my favorite things about going to Belgium is the beer. The sweet delicious taste of Belgium beer. Swoon.

We eat lunch, yum. And then head to the Bastogne War Museum. So this thing was recently redesigned and reopened in March. I’ve been hearing how amazing it is, so we decide to check it out. Disclaimer: I am not a museum person. I’ve said this before… as I type it I’m getting déjà vu. You get the point; I don’t love museums unless they’re funky art museums. A war museum? I would’ve never EVER imagined myself volunteering… excited, even for something like this.

It was a GREAT experience and if you’re ever in the area and are even slightly interested in the Battle of the Bulge, I highly recommend it.

The use of new media, interactive displays, 3D exhibits and bold architecture was phenomenal. Plus, it was interesting, held my attention AND I learned something.

There are a few other memorials we checked out while in the area, but the museum (and the beer) was the highlight of Bastogne. 











No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...