Barge Date: 18-07-2017
Our next stop is the city of Amiens. It is best known for its very sculptured and artistic looking cathedral.
We had been warned that there are two mooring locations in the city and that one is to be avoided. The bad boy mooring houses a number of bars, one of which is an English pub. This bar stays open as late as 3 AM. There are stories of the bar patrons coming down to the dock and jumping on boats and doing things that drunk men do. While the location was interesting because of numerous restaurants, we chose to head to the other mooring place.
However things got mixed up very quickly when we arrived at the lock that we needed to go through - with lunch hour approaching- there was a commercial tying up. There was no place for us so we had to do a quick 180 and head back to the first mooring site. The 180 and the mooring at the dock were handled with great expertise (notwithstanding some panic). Once we were tied up, we walked to the nearby quay and had lunch at one of the restaurants along the waterway.
After lunch, it was a hike up the hill to get our first look at the cathedral. Of course, as is the case with all large cities, there is restoration work being done on this church. Nonetheless, the outside and inside of the cathedral were a sight to behold. I will let the pictures speak for the church.
After a quick tour of the downtown area, we returned to the boat and proceeded to move it down the canal to the more appropriate mooring location. And I will note that we were able to get free electric and water.
Every night in the place in front of the cathedral there is a laser light show with the laser colors projected upon the front of the church. The show begins at about 11 o'clock each night and is accompanied by music. Again, let the pictures speak for the show.
Amiens is also the home of Jules Verne and the house he lived in is located in town and is set up as a museum. Marianne wanted to visit and we did and we found it very interesting. Verne was not only a writer but a playwright and a lawyer. His house reflects some of his interest in innovative design.
During our stay, France celebrated it's July 4, which is July 14. We made our way to the site where we were told there would be a parade but it is obvious that the French don't do a parade like we do in the US. There were plenty of dignitaries, politicians and military personnel plus a small military band. Some people received special recognition for acts of heroism and there was a parade of police and firemen. The turn-out of the public was quite small.
After topping up our water supply and washing the barge, we proceeded down river to a location called Samara and tied up at a small pontoon dock with electric and water. We arrived at about 11AM. Just up the path from the boat is a park that has a year round display of archeological items from the region. Not a draw for me, but for this weekend they had an invasion of Romans, including Caesar. This area was in the thick of things with the Romans wanting to subdue Gaul so it was right that this troupe was on location.
Gladiator fights, chariot races, Roman encampment showing the various trades needed to keep the men fighting. A lot of detail was on display and recounted for the crowd of maybe 1500. Did not see any raping or plundering. (See Marianne's Barge Adventure on Facebook for pictures)
The next day, we took in a local castle and old church in Picquigny (the castle is where the treaty that ended the 100-year war was signed). There was a tour of what remains of the castle (dining hall, kitchen, torture chamber, and prison where some knights Templar left traces of their stay on the walls) and the costumed gentleman giving the tour provided detailed information about the castle and the history of France and England over many centuries.
I have to comment that the locks and the mooring sites along the Somme have been the best we have seen in our travels. There has always been electricity and water and the locks have been well managed, painted and operated. Other canals should take note. I wish the phone and Internet in the valley was always good but that has not always been the case.
On to Long.
Remember to look at more pictures on Marianne's Facebook Barge site - search for Barge Adventure