On Good Friday my family and I went to the World War I memorial Vieil Armand in the Vosges mountains of Alsace. None of us had been there before and it was a very moving experience, made all the more real by the well preserved site.
Unlike other war sites, the trenches at Vieil Armand were in the mountains and therefore many of them were carved into the rock along with cement and brick fortifications. Today trenches, bomb craters and barbed wire remain and visitors can get a slight idea of the horrible conditions soldiers faced on the front line. Thirty thousand men lost their lives here.
After spending an hour wandering the surroundings, we climbed to the top of the peak – called “Mangeur d'hommes”, human devourer - overlooking the Rhine valley. What a sight! When stood at the top, you get a real sense of why this peak seemed so important to both the Germans and the French.
I managed to snap some photos of the mountain range and some of the flora and fauna during the two hour hike across the site. After the war, all plants on the mountain had died, so it was interesting to see nature reclaim the area almost a hundred years later.
Rain was closing in from all sides, so we decided to head back to the car. Here you can see me taking one last quick Instagram photo out of the car window. And back we went to our lives. Vieil Armand made a great impression on me; it's strange to think World War I is already 100 years past, yet there are still remnants of it serving as constant reminders of the grave impacts it had.