Photos from the World Wars — Europe, September & October 2023

Photos from the World Wars — Europe, September & October 2023
No caption necessary

Memorial Photos from the World Wars — September & October 2023

Leaving Newark, I may have even picked up COVID by then

On Wednesday, September 27th I took the train from Baltimore to Newark. This leg of the trip brought back all the fond (and not so found) memories of traveling to Europe, Canada, and India.

Since I live 20 minutes from Penn Station in Baltimore it is much easier to take the train to EWR to get direct flights than the 2 hour trip to IAD. So the journey began. Although I masked most of the train trip and most of the flight (except when I fell asleep with my mask off) I probably COVID early on, but it didn’t slow me down.

I ate well. I drank well and somehow managed to avoid. Probably all the Sugar Free Red Bull and not eating breakfast because I was usually on the road.

My MG Rental Car when I finally returned to CDG after getting lost outside of Paris

I spent 6 nights in Europe

  • Reims
  • Bastogne
  • Aachen
  • Arnhem
  • Paris (2 nights)


On the morning of September 28 I landed at CDG. The flight got in early and there were only two immigration officials so it took over an hour an hour through customs, but it was easy to get my Sixt rental car and it only took about 20 minutes to get used to driving a stick and an hour to master French traffice circles!

My first stop was Meaux, where I visited the Decathalon, a French sporting goods store and then headed to the World War I Museum.

Entrance to the WW1 Museuam outside of Meaux
It was a Thursday morning fairly vacant except for a class of French teenagers

This museum was one of the highlights of my trip, rivaling the Smithsonian in the U.S. The only other Meseum I visited was in Clervaux and it was far less impressive.

During the first two days in France I’d see lots of Cemetaries
Along the Marne, my first stop after Meaux

I had plans to go to Saissons and see multiple sights of where the AEF fought in the Summer of 1918, but I was getting hungry so after Meaux, my next stop was Chateu-Thierry.

French Military Monument along the Marne
Walking around the town on the way back to my rental car.

After having a freshly made “Mediterranean Pizza” that was not what expected my next goal was to visit the American Monument I’d seen from the bridge, but I ended up turning onto a one-way road and it was too difficult to find it so I headed for Belleau and the Aisne-Marne American Cemetary which is where the next few pictures came from.

Perfect 72 degree F weather

Facing the hills the the right of the drive.

Inside the cemetary I saw the patches I’d seen growing up as an Army Brat and as a member of the Army Reserve. This was the birth of the modern U.S. Army that would turn the tide in World War I and the leaders who were company and field grade officers in 1918 would go on to be Division, Corp, and Army Commanders in 1943–1945.

AEF Patch Stain Glassed Window in Chapel in Belleau

Inside the chapel the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice were engraved on the walls of the Chapel.

Casualties are written inside the Chapel

This was the first of many cathederals and chapels I would visit in Europe, but the only one with an American Flag.

Inside the Chapel in Belleau Wood

An external view of the chapel before I walked up into the hills and saw other monuments and markers.

I spent the night in the suburb outside of Reims. Stay tuned for another blog on Cathederals and churhces.

On September 29, I started heading for Verdun I first stopped at Fort de la Pompelle but did not end up going in.

Outside Reims, Fort De La Pompelle
Overlooking Reims

Between Reims and Verdun, every 15–20 minutes there was a French or German cemetary.

German Memorial in Auberive
French Cemetary in Jonchery-sur-Suippe
Muslims Colonial troops buried alongside Christians
Still on the road to Verdun

I stopped at the Ossuary monument near Navarin (that contains 10,000 unnamed French soliders) but I ended up taking a wrong turn and decided I’d seen enough death so headed north so I could get to Bastogne before dark.

A memorial to residents of Sedan that died in WW1

My second day on the continent I got soaked in Sedan, but it was a break from driving and I got to see the castle where Napolean II was held. This would be my last stop in France before my return from Netherlands.

Belgium & Luxembourg

One of the biggest challenges of my Europe trip was finding restrooms. I stopped at mall after crossing the border and seeing so many wind farms (this would be the norm for the next few days) and looked for a bathroom at a mall and failed and ended up setting off a security alarm in a fancy grocery store but I finally made it to Bastogne and was able to easily find street parking a block from my hotel.

A bust of Gen McAullife and a Sherman Tank

I wandered around Bastogne. Before stopping for a snack and few beers at Le Nuts cafe.

View into the Le Nuts Cafe

Bastogne was suprisingly busy and not all monuments were American.

Memorial of Both World Wars in Bastogne

I did not sleep well at the hotel and this was the first night I started feeling COVID symptoms but I got going and headed for Clervaux, Luxemborg where there was a famous delaying action in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge.

Clervaux Castle from where I parked my car

The roads were twisty heading back into Belgium and I failed at my first attempt to figure out how to refil my car. It was a hybrid so I didn’t need much. I headed to St. Vith and then Malmedy. It was a Saturday the traffic in Malmedy was packed. I failed to find a restroom and then stumbled upon the site of the Malmedy massacre and the nearby museum/restaurant where there WAS a bathroom!

Malmedy Memorial
Malmedy Massacre Memorial in Belgium
Another view looking from the Memorial

My original plan was to visit the Hurtgen Forest Memorial but by this time I was started to feel exhausted so I pushed for Aachen.

Forest outside of Aachen

The Netherlands

Waal River Crossing Memorial in Netherlands
Near the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem