Easterweekend trip part 2

You of course all saw the “easterweekend trip part 1” I posted back in may, but of course after a part 1 you would expect a part 2 (or even 3)….and you were right 😉

The weekend provided enough footage to create another two videos, which have been completed, but until now hadn’t been put on this site yet (those who follow my youtube channel will have already seen them)

Day 1 we were lucky enough to accidentally bump into a Wim Degrande and his friends whose books I’ve read and he was kind enough to invite us to join him on day 3. This of course meant that we saw several sites on day 3 that we were not aware of, making day 3 memorable without a doubt.

Day 2 we spent in one of my favourite areas. It has many traces all around. We visited several valleys in which the Germans had build kamps to live in , away from the frontline (on the other side of the hills the franch had done much the same).

The traces of this habitation are still clearly visible to this day, not just by the earthworks you see all around you u, but also in the traces the small stream digs up, or that are just lying around. Things like glass bottles, a doorlock, bit of a stove etc. Everyday household stuff.

So here are video’s 2 and 3…enjoy and please comment below or on my my youtube channel

Video 2:

Video 3


Verdun the tourist way

Normally I do not travel to the battlefields of the first world war in summer, since the woodlands are way to overgrown at that time of year, but this August I was in my favourite area again, for a fair and a “Brocante”.

Since I had some time spare time, I decided to visit the verdun battlefield, not the woods themselves, but the area that is signposted “Champ de bataille 14-18” aka what I normally refer to as “the touristy bits”. I had actually never been there and decided after all these trips it was about time and they are perfectly accessible in summer (signposted, good tracks etc)

On the way in I stopped at Mont devant Sassy to visit a former Franco/german cemetary, dating from the early days of the war. There isn’t much left, except one headstone and the memorial of the mass-grave and from the village you have a nice view into the meuse valley. After that I stopped at Dun, to admire the same view, but from the other side of the meuse

The second day (and in the afternoon of the third day) I visisted the verdun battlefield, mainly site like the ossuaire, fort Douamont, the destroyed village Fleury and some remants of a few artillery emplacments/bunkers. I will not go into great detail about them, since these are all well documented and even signposted sites. Below some impressions, there is much more to see!

More and bigger photo’s on my google+ albums:

The trip in
Day 1: Verdun & ouvrage de Falouse
Day2: Verdun

Enjoy and don’t forget to comment, also don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for videos of my world war one trips. 🙂


The memorial Mont devant Sassy



The view from Dun sur Meuse into the valley



Ouvrage de falouse

Ossuaire Douamont

Destroyed bunker

Old trench


Artistic work inside for Douamont

On the roof of fort Douamont

A quick side step

Even though I still have a lot of trips to process, I decided to make a little side step first. The reason for this is that I get asked a certain question quite often and that is that people wonder about me traveling these regions in France completely solo.

First of all I don’t always travel solo, I have a very dear traveling companion! But when I do travel solo I take precautions.

First of all, I will always let people know where I’m going, second I carry a PLB (Personal Locater Beacon) and third (and most fun) I’m an outdoors guy a.k.a I like being outside with minimal equipment.

The video below is part 1 of a 2 night Hike & Hang (as we call them) and it will give you a glimpse of the way we travel outdoors…and yes when I’m out and about in the woods of France I do carry a firesteel, sturdy knife, a poncho for shelter and “coffee and tea equipment” (this is an insider joke, where coffee and tea in the woods in France has become a must have for the initiated 😉 )

The video is sadly in dutch and is about a 2 night hike and hang I had here in the netherlands with a very good friend: Johan van Dijk aka Born2Roam.

It shows our shelter but also cooking equipment (part woodstove and part alcohol burner from my side)..so Enjoy and please comment on the video on youtube if you want!


Easterweekend trip part 1

This march, during the Easter weekend, me and a good friend visited our favorite area again.

On the rainy/misty car ride in, it really helps to have good company on rides like this :-), we visited the new memorial museum at Fleury. We both found the museum quite entertaining, but a bit expensive. (Reviews from others vary and apparently there are some mistakes), but all in all I sure enjoyed my time there…If you are ever around there and just curious about it all, I would advise a visit.


Just across the road from the museum they have cleared a field so you can see the actual shell damage that is still visible today after 100 years.

Cratered field across the road from the museum

Upon exiting the museum we were approached by a flemish guy who , to our amazement, turned out to be the writer of 2 books we both have, about our usual area. He heard us talk and suspected he knew my friend and introduced himself. We ended up being invited  to join him and his friends on day 3 to do a hike through an area we had our eye on for a while. Needless to say we accepted gladly, since one does not often get a chance to be guided into these areas by people who have so much indepth historical information.

Day 3 turned out to be an epic day, where we got to see many things and learned a tremendous amount, but more about that in a later blog 😉

Needless to say, this is one of those chance encounters that really have made this hobby worth its while so many times over the years.

…But back to day one…Just like the previous trip I focused a little bit more on video than photo, though I still ended up with 100’s of photo’s as usual. But without further delay, below the video report of day one…enjoy!


Kind regards


Restoring the memory of Private George Wallace Jackson, Sherwood Foresters

I don’t normally share stuff from others on my site, but I found this such a nice initiative, I felt the need to do so this time. So please have a read.

Thank You!


Restoring the memory of Private George Wallace Jackson, Sherwood Foresters

Source: Restoring the memory of Private George Wallace Jackson, Sherwood Foresters

Video Diaries …continued

After some quick editting, part 2 of day 2 is now also completed 🙂 I must admit I enjoyed using the videocam compared to normal camera. I suspect I’ll try this again 😉

It was just a very short trip, so this concludes it for now. Still to come in the future though is the report of a longer trip I made in October



Video Diaries

Quite some time ago I got given a videocamera. Not something I have tried out in a significant way, so I decided to make a videodiary of my latest trip a few weeks ago (besides the 100’s of photographs I took)

Day one was just an experiment with filming and edditting, day 2 (part one) is a real video report.

I’ll expiriment with this for a while to see if it is a worthwhile addition to my digital archives.

But without further delay:

Day 2, part 1…

Kind regards

Just an update

It’s been a while……, it’s been a long while :), but don’t worry I’m stil here.

The new job of course took a lot of my time and the time between the 2 jobs was interesting to say the least!!!

So whatsup? Well I spent some time around Ypres, was (of course) in The argonne in March, and will be around the Hartmannswillerkopf in September (Thats the plan anyway)

Soooo the next thing I’LL need to do is update the blog with my Ypress trips (yes they were 2) and share with you the plans for this fall.


So There it is the re-shuffle part 3.

When this year started I kinda knew where it was going…but..I was wrong 😉 (You all already read about the timing and duration of walking14-18 being thrown into a shambles)

I came up with some viable alternatives, but it did mean the actual goal of the hike was totally shot (no other way to put it). Yet as they say “a door closes, but a window opens”..and so it was with me.

A little over 3 weeks ago, a company contacted me with a very short email, pointing out they wanted to set up a contact center, and since they found out about my expertise they wanted to “talk to me”. I googl-ed them..wondered why in the world the wanted to run their own CC, and decided to meet them out of curiosity.

What followed was one of the most innervating conversations about CRM (Customer Relations Management) in my life! I faced 2 men, who didn’t know much about CRM (a financial director and an owner) but damn wel knew how crm would help them ..and THAT was the rare bit..to them CRM was an asset not an expenditure. I can honestly say the drive, determination and vision I saw that day I only ever saw twice (3 times if i count my own views).

Skip forward a week and bit..and you face a challenge and an offer.. hike 3 months on a track that will NOT end where it was planned or pick up the gauntlet…so i picked up the gauntlet (Duh did anyone doubt that one! 🙂 )

Okay!! where is this going to you may ask..well nowhere really. May-September, or April to july walking 14-18 is no longer a 3 or 4 months hike (:-( ), but I will hike, bike, plain, train or automobile it!!! *lest we forget*.

The website and Facebook page will keep following my adventures 🙂 so in stead of one adventure It will be several smaller ones 😀

The Big re-shuffle…part 2

I still need to work out the details, but it looks like I will be jumping part of the route somewhere in the Champagne area. Not because I’ve been there before, but because from what I have heard it is the least interesting and doesn’t have as much facilities.

I’m not sure where I’ll start the jump and where it will end, but at least that part of the plan is there: In order to make it all happen, I will start and end as planned, but will skip a bit somewhere en route. It means I wont be able to claim I walked the whole of the western front, but at least I traversed it (with part public transport)!

Not at all what i wanted, but sometimes you will have to deal with the devil as they call it.



PS: Crap! I just realized 2 things 2 key subscriptions run out in April. 1st of all my spot device, 2nd this URL…not to self..tackle it.

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