It has been a while since I posted something here. Five months. Well, it has been winter, but I have been riding irregardless. One of the first longer tours is this weekend.
Riding in winter is not such a way of the cross as it may seem. The “cow” with her heated grips, the dual-layer Touratech riding suit and the heated insoles make it doable, if not comfortable. The ride this weekend has a carnival athmosphere. That’s not my cup of tea normally, but nonetheless I was going towards the Rhine and Ruhr region, not away from it. Closed off inner cities and costumed “Jecken” crossig the road make for interesting driving!
Anyway, what was I doing there if I don’t like this kind of thing?
Here we are in the Wanne valley, leading up to Bastogne and the Ardennes region. I am following an inspiration I got from viewing HBO’s “Band of Brothers” TV series. Repeatedly, it was so engaging!
This is the memorial I wanted to see. It stands on the edge of a wood about 5 km from Bastogne. As described in the eponymous episode of that series, the men of “Easy” company of 101st Airborne held this position in the brutally cold winter of 1944 /45 even when surrounded by superior German forces and cut off from supplies.
Their plights and courage are described on the memorial.
I stood before it in awe.
Then I rode on and visited the Bastogne War Museum. Much of the same topic, a totally different presentation. They invented four characters, a schoolteacher and a kid from Bastogne, an American and a German officer. Their voices and viewpoints guide the visitor through the exhibits and three multimedia presentations. In the end, they all meet up in a Bastogne cellar while the Luftwaffe bombards the town. Bit too much of a contrivance for me.
I prefer the series.
But then, the series and even the memorial I bowed my head at are contrivances, too, the latter having been paid for in part by Tom Hanks, one of the directors of the TV series. Another prop?
In the end, the men of the 101st Airborne were there. Like in so many other places, they contributed to a change in the war and therewith to the world we know today.