Today is longest travel day until we get back to the states and head for home. As the crow flies it is probably a four hour drive, but we are making a big loop to see some historic battlefields that Dick has always wanted to see. We are up and on the road a little after 8. It is really raining, but we have a ways to go before we are at the first site so maybe it will clear off.
The first couple of hours is done on the motorway down through Lille and over toward Calais. West of Bethume we leave the fast moving highway and start our trek on the narrow local roads in the general direction of Abbeville.
So on to Crecy which is south of Azincourt. This battle was fought on August 26, 1346, in the early part of the Hundred Years War between Edward III of England and Philip VI of France There is a museum in town, but the town is blocked off for some kind of festival. So, we follow the signs to the battlefield which is what Dick wants to see anyway. There is a tower so you can get up high enough to see the field, but that is it.
Our last stop has to do with the Battle of the Somme. We visited the Somme in 2006 and saw many of the important sites, but didn’t get over this far. Dick sets the GPS for Lochnager Crater. We wind around on very narrow roads and through small villages, each with a War Memorial and finally find the crater site.
Once more Dick set the GPS for the gite and we are off. When Carolyn first planned this day she ran the sites through map quest to see how long the drive would be and it was doable. Carolyn doesn’t trust the GPS completely so she is following the progress on the map. We keep bypassing the turns for the motorway that will send us to Verdun at 130km/hr and are creeping along behind campers on narrow two lane roads. Finally we cross under the motorway and head down a parallel local road heading to a St. Quentin. The GPS is telling us it will be nearly 7PM before we reach the gite. We have a little discussion about the way Dick has set the GPS settings; seems as how he has marked no toll ways and all the motorways in France are toll ways! We get that changed instantly and we shave nearly an hour off the arrival time! Dick is in a panic about having to deal with the toll booths. After the first one (there are only two it turns out) it is a no-brainer. Every one in the car is cool and we have an uneventful trip to the gite.
The cottage is nice. It is an old house/barn that was restored in 2006. We have a nice big living/kitchen area, two bedrooms and a bath. It has a nice private back garden and is surrounded by privacy hedge. We will be very comfortable for the next nine days. Now all we need is some groceries. It is Sunday and most everything has been closed. Our only hope is Verdun.
It takes about 30 minutes to get to Verdun...we are surprised...this is a lovely city...lots of interesting, historic things to see. But right now we are looking for a little grocery and place to eat.
After a dessert of cream brulee we drive back through town and stumble onto a small grocery. With milk, eggs, butter and a few other staples, we head back to the cottage and fall into bed.