Monday, 15th October 2018 – Tuesday, 16th October 2018
Richard and Mandie Königs recommended Bastogne as a place of character and historical interest and so when we left Maastricht we agreed we would return to Belgium, to visit a town which is now synonymous with the Battle of the Bulge – the last offensive by the German army in WWII which prompted the heroic defence of the town by American soldiers.
The terrain of the Ardennes was supposedly impassable and the Allies believed the Germans would not attack through these hills and forests. While the area was not heavily guarded the German’s quietly assembled 50 divisions and attacked the Allies on December 15, 1944 besieging several American divisions in the town.
As soon as you arrive in Bastogne you can see the military significance of the town and the obvious local pride in the outcome of the Battle of the Bulge. There are tanks by the roadside as well as a Sherman tank in the main square and the local beer has names such as Airborne and Nuts [in honour of the American response to the German request on December 22 for them to surrender]. A bar in the main square is also called “Nut’s”.
The town also features two series of cleverly executed and appealing sculptures. One depicts animals made out of wire and filled with stones and rocks and the other set, also predominantly animals, is styled out of old mechanical parts, which come from military vehicles as well as more mundane machinery such as lawn mowers.
Robert was particularly taken by the restaurant in an old railway carriage. The campsite has a small local bar at the entrance and the barman was very kind, bringing Ralf his own bowl of water without being asked.
Walked Monday: 3.6 miles
Walked Tuesday: 6.1 miles
Driving distance today: 71.13 miles
The current tour map:
Overnight location: n50’005º e5’695º
Camping de Renval [Bastogne]: