Poperinge you say, never heard of it. We hadn’t either. It’s just in the right spot for a final night in Belgium before we head towards Calais. The region produces most of the hops used in the production of Belgian beer.
During WWI it was well known to British troops as Pops, a staging post before they were sent to the front. There were many field hospitals in the area and consequently a huge war cemetery.
The campsite is another small one, Stal ‘t Bardehof, which we definitely prefer over the large sites. Enjoy lunch outside as the sun is shining again and then cycle the 3.8 miles into Poperinge.
Our first stop is Talbot House, a museum and B&B. It was set up as an Everyman’s club and place of respite for WWI soldiers by a local vicar, and named after his brother who’d been killed early in the war. The tour is moving and interesting but also funny.
A chilling contrast is a visit to the Death Cell, the room where soldiers who’d been sentenced to execution spent their last night. The actual shooting post still exists and forms part of a memorial.
Wander to Poperinge square, avoiding the horse drawn railway carriage, where we drink a cold one before cycling back.
BBQ, fizz, wine, a great playlist on Spotify called Legendary and of course a game or two of Spot the difference to end our last day in Belgium.