Sunday 18th September
Sunday morning and we had a slow start with toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The overnight car park was very quiet and in the morning the valley was very foggy. We could hear the sounds of gun shots and when we looked down into the valley could see a row of hunters with their dogs walking through the fields. Did not work out what they were shooting at but as we drove that morning we saw many other hunters in the fields.
Gerberoy is a small quiet picturesque village and as we were already parked on the site we were the first tourists to stroll through the streets. The cafes and restaurants weren’t open and the first sign of life we saw was an art exhibition which was shared by several artists. A lady was doing some mosaic work and explained what she was doing and about the glass work she had done. She invited us to have a look at the gallery and the sculptures in the back yard. As the morning progressed a few more people joined us in the village. It was good to get some photos of a place without masses of tourists in the way.
Heading to the Villers-Bretonneux war memorial, Amiens was along the route, as it was a Sunday we found an easy car park near to the centre of the town and after having lunch in the van we strolled in.
The Amiens Cathedral is famous and is the largest of its type in the world. It is supposed to house the relic of John the Baptist’s head and all through the church are statues, carvings and paintings depicting John either being decapitated or his head being held aloft. The other famous sculpture in the church is “The Weeping Angel” a 17th century piece of artwork adorning a tomb.
After the church we headed to the old canal area where we stopped for crepe suzettes and coffee, very delicious.
We drove to the town of Villers-Bretonneux late in the afternoon and were surprized that the Franco Australian Museum was still open. Entry that day was free as it was Heritage Day in France. Built in 1923-1927, the school is the gift from the children of the state of Victoria, Australia, to the children of Villers-Bretonneux as proof of their love and good-will towards France. The museum is situated next to the Victoria school and is in a temporary building while the old one is under refurbishment.
A short drive out from the village is the memorial and cemetery. We had been to this site a few times but this time the place resembled a building site as work was being carried out for new carparks and an interpretive centre at the rear.
That night we stayed next to a small river on the edge of the village Aubigny. Found the place on the park4night app, very quiet place alongside picnic areas.
Battlefields and cemeteries of WW1
We had a busy morning spent visiting places related to WW1. First stopping at the town of Albert, then to the Welsh memorial at Mametz wood, Posiers, the Somme memorial at Thiepval and finishing up at Beaumont –Hamel.
We are now heading north and the route took us through the town of Arras a place we hadn’t planned on stopping, but as we drove through we found a car park close to the town centre and we stopped to have a look. Arras had some large squares but they were mainly used for car parks and the place lacked atmosphere. After a coffee and cake we were on the road again heading to Lens.
At Lens our plan was to park in the aire next to the McDonalds and stay the night. However the motorhome parking area was full and it was a noisy place. The services cost 3 euros and an English man paid the fee and filled his water tank. The water kept going so the other nearby motorhomes came out armed with watering cans and also filled up. Not to be left out we did the same, the water continued and all the motorhomes were full, it did eventually stop after running for 30 minutes.
We used the wifi at McDonalds and on our Park4night app we found a place to sleep which was in a forest and about 9 kms from where we were. A really nice area where the locals have made boules areas. They were playing there as we arrived but as it got dark we had the place to ourselves.