European adventure

Pilot correspondent will be sure to have lots to share from across the pond

As I go about my business in Twillingate people keep asking me about this year s vacation. Have I gone? Where did I go?

European Adventure

Photo courtesy of Jim Hildebrand
Jim and Jane Hildebrand are setting out from Twillingate on a whirlwind European vacation. My wife Jane and I changed our routine this year. Normally we enjoy escaping the winter and finding a warm climate. This year we decided to stay the winter and leave in spring for a trip to Europe.

We will be going to England, France and Belgium. It will be a journey of sightseeing but also a look into our family histories. We will start with London where we will be the typical tourist visiting the Tower, Hampton Palace, Windsor Palace, the British Museum and other historical sites that the great city has to offer. We have rented an apartment in Isleworth, Greater London to explore some of the area and then we will move to a flat in Greenwich for a week for more exploring.

After London we will be moving to a cottage in Maiden Newton, Dorset. This is where the discovery of roots will begin. Jane has been working on her family genealogy for years and she wants to visit some churches and graveyards in her search of her roots. Now don t get me wrong, I have an interest in genealogy, however, after awhile my eyes start to glaze over when I get the long explanation of who is begetting whom. I look forward to seeing the countryside in what is known as the Jurassic Coast and hopefully making a trip to Stonehenge and the city of Bath. It will be for a week and we will be very flexible in our daily itinerary. Leaving Dorset we fly from London to Paris and then make our way to our rented apartment in the town of Amboise in the Loire Valley.

We will spend a week in this amazing area of France that has some spectacular castles and chateaus. We are hoping that we will be able to view the area by taking a sunset hot air balloon ride. This exploration is a part of my past as I toured the area when my father was stationed in Germany and I went on a school trip with my classmates from Baden Senior High School. I had fond memories and I wanted to share some of the splendor of the area with Jane. From the Loire Valley we will move to another rental in Bellac, near the city of Limoges.

We plan to leisurely explore the area for about a week before moving to Dijon. Jane and I will spend a month in Dijon before travelling to Paris. We spend a week in Paris hitting as many of the tourist sites that we can. Again I will be delving back into my past since Paris was another school trip that I took when I was 14 years old. From Paris we will move to Belgium for a month. We will be visiting many of the World War I battlefield sites including Beaumont Hamel commemorations on July 1 marking the 100th anniversary of the battle.

We will be exploring other battle sites where Jane s Great-Uncle Peter fought and was wounded while serving with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. We also hope to be at the site of Sanctuary Wood on June 23. This will be the hundredth anniversary of when Jane s grandfather was wounded while serving with the 1st Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was only 16 years old, lying about his age and joining to serve. He also met Jane s grandmother and was married in London at 17 years of age. I want to visit the town of Florenville in Belgium.

Our family moved there when I was one year old while my father was stationed in 1 Wing RCAF Station Marville. I hope to find the house that we lived in and explore the area of the Ardennes. This is just a brief outline of where we will be travelling. I will be writing a travel blog for the Pilot and hopefully you will be able to read along and follow Jane and I on our travels. I will also be continuing with the annual Questions from Students. The Grade 9 Language Arts class at J.M. Olds Collegiate will be posing questions over the Internet to me and I will once again try my best to provide the answers.

I find the process stimulating and enjoy responding to their curiosity. There has been excellent response from the Pilot readership and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy following along. The Pilot does not want to miss any stories or news from Twillingate while I am gone. You can contact Karen Wells at European Adventure

Photo courtesy of Jim Hildebrand
Jim and Jane Hildebrand are setting out from Twillingate on a whirlwind European vacation.

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