Sunday, June 26, 2011
With hundreds of thousands dead in a very small area, there are many, many cemeteries and memorials to units. The tall statue of a soldier is a memorial to Canadians, there's a memorial to a group of Americans who served here, the one with many crosses is British. Then there are two from a German site: the sign saying about 25,000 of them are buried in the plot (they used mass burials at the time) and then the plot, that looks like a square with plants in it. There were other Germans buried there, not just these 25,000. Among the Germans are the cadets who, a few weeks into the war, marched in their best uniforms to finish off the British and Belgians who had taken extraordinary fire trying to prevent the Germans from cutting them off from the sea (Dunkirk of WWII memory was not far from where I was) and were mostly decimated. Their officers thought the Belgians and few remaining English (from the start of the war) would be too disorganized and exhausted to fight. The Germans were very wrong and the men/boys who had rushed out of school to enlist were slaughtered. Later Hitler would glorify them as an use them as exemplars of outstanding behavior. But, in reality it was simple arrogance and poor military leadership.
WWI began nearly a century ago. They expected a very fast war. They got horrifying attritional warfare. Here are some of the remains (people still find ammunition and those shells still take lives to this day). Pictures of trenches, a fortified machine gun position, what looks like a big pond but is what's left of a major detonation of underground explosives (both sides had their miners dig and then they blew men up by the hundreds from below). Similarly, the pretty, bumpy field is actually bumpy from all the shelling. At the end the war, no trees, no buildings, pretty much nothing was left in this area.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
No theme here, just photos of things that interested me. I avoid people photos due to the strength of EU laws on privacy, in case you are wondering. Plus, I live in a very quiet area where people are up and about, but not in large numbers. So, photos here are another view of the Peace Palace, a toy in the window of a shop--wow inlaid wood flames! It also gives a sense of the streetscape. A pocket garden. A happy graffiti, which pretty much captures my mood. And a tiny garbage can, which is quite a contrast to what's on the curb in the US.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Gosh, I could really learn to like this city. So pleasant (in the summer, maybe not January), so easy to walk in, a library with books on law in it that's filled with people interested in private and public international law. Yeah. Happy gal here.
I walked over to the Peace Palace, perhaps not via the most efficient route, took me about an hour. I'm recovering from some surgery, so there is hope by the end of July that the 3-4 km will take me my more usual 40 minutes.
I also went to the library to read some of the required assignments--on state secession today, other topics later. Friendly and nice staff with pretty views out the windows. Sigh.
You aren't supposed to take pictures once on the grounds or in the buildings. So, none from that perspective. But, goodness, what beautiful grounds. My classmates and I are going to be in an inspiring place. The photos are of two repeating plaques, one has the scales of justice and the other, less clear, seems to be of a knot that's cut. I'm guessing it is the Gordian Knot of war that law might cut. A picture of the Peace Palace (I can't seem to get a second one to load). The one with the tree-lined path is part of my route home--right after leaving the Palace.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
My landlady had told me the beach and dunes were lovely and just a short walk (waving vaguely in the direction I should go). So, yesterday evening I set out to find the sea and beach. The dunes are quite extensive, it turned out, and there were many intersecting paths and no signs. It took me an hour and a half to find the sea, though only half an hour or so back to the apartment. I plan to go back and explore more while I'm here, because they seem to be worth it. But, the next time I want the beach, I'll skip the long hike. Here are photos, including my beer reward once I found the beach. The sun was setting about 10 pm and it was still easy to find my way at 10:30 pm. Photos are of a magpie, example of treed dune, sea, my beer, and a pretty pink cloud.
I've left Malta and taken up living in The Hague, Netherlands. Took the train from Amsterdam (not bag friendly, but I made it). I had arranged for an apartment through VRBO last Fall. I am not disappointed! Even though I arrived late, around 9:30 pm, they took me for a neighborhood walk and then drove me so I could get a sense of places a bit further away. I successfully repeated some of the walk and drive today on foot and plan to head over to the beach later this evening. The sun was just setting around 10 pm. Here are some photos of my living room (fresh cut flowers and some live potted plants, a street--the light brown sidewalk is for bikes and scooters while the dark grey is for walking, and a door along my walk.