23 Sept 44 Belgium
How are things going on the farm. Over here I am in the land of the big horses and small farms. Really see some nice stock around here. The country hasn't been very badly smashed and Belgium really looks good all around. The people are clean and have nice houses and buildings. The French houses were mostly dirty and squalid looking, but here everything is quite modern.
During one period when we stayed several days in one place I had dinner with the Count Von Stegen de Schreike and Baron Threney Pius de Nieubury. It was quite a chateau they had and I enjoyed the experience immensely. This country seems little ravaged by the Jerries and they say that by using the black market the Belgians really baffled the Germans. They seem very industrious and to my mind gave us much more help than the French marquis. I really was impressed by the underground movement here. While the French wait for us to clear roads, these fellows fixed them for us and made our pursuit of the Germans much faster. I have been in Bruges, the Belgian Venice of the north and it is worthwhile seeing. First impressions of European cities is usually bad as they are so ancient looking. However this one seems to retain ancient architecture without being too shabby. This country is level as a plate and akin to the Dutch and have the Dutch windmills which are quite a sight lazily turning over.
Our progress since we left Normandy has been very rapid and we have not had the grim times we had there. We haven't had to live underground for a month or more and wont have to again until we reach the solid German core of resistance. Our infantry are still fighting doggedly and the war isn't over yet. Monty says the war will finish this year and he always knows. The Belgians have given us a tumultuous welcome in most places. There are some collaborators among the Belgians, but the underground has been cleaning these fairly efficiently. I am rather astonished about the stories of the Belgians in the last war. It doesn't sound the same as what we experience. All Europeans are strictly business of course and in money dealings they figure we are all rich and therefore fair game. So we generally pay through the nose for anything we buy. There seem to be plenty of apples in the country but they aren't as sweet and juicy as ours as a rule, but we have got some good ones. The language is quite a problem but some speak French, some English and we manage without the civilians fairly well. However I would trade a lot of these countries for a piece of Canada.
I received a parcel from you for which many thanks. I haven't opened it yet as our parcels come usually in clutches. I got one from Barb the same day. I am holding yours as a reserve. Well I hope you all are in the pink. I am feeling 100% fit myself. Remember me to Aunt Kate and Tot.