Battlefields of the North
|American cemetery at Omaha Beach|
|Caterpillar Valley Cemetery|
Next we stayed in the Baie de Somme, Picardy so it was World War One history time. The Somme area is part of the Western front where many battles took place between the German army and the French. The armies were stuck in deadlock, both in their trenches from 1914 to 1918. What a surreal feeling to stand in front of the New Zealand memorial in Longueval on an overcast day in France. The memorial displays the names of 1205 New Zealand men who died in the Battle of the Somme and whose bodies were never found.
|NZ Memorial at Longueval|
|Some houses in Ault|
|The chalk cliffs above Ault|
Picardy is dotted with towns full of brick buildings that have been rebuilt after the wars. It looks quite different to many other parts of France. It has been accused of lacking in culture but I think this area has paid a huge debt to the country. There are lovely beaches in this area (as in all regions we visited) such as Quend plage.
One morning, we woke up to find bugs crawling on our arms. Once we started looking, we noticed them all over us and the walls of the house. This wasn't just a few, they were literally covering everything. Of course, we thought there was some sort of flea infestation and went out to purchase the biggest baddest spray we could find. Later, I asked a guest at the accommodation about it and he said it was just 'mouches d'orage' and not to worry about it. These flies apparently turn up before a storm and disappear again after the rain. That is exactly what happened in the end - may be nothing to worry about but pretty annoying!
Our next step is to load our car onto the train under the Channel for a few weeks' sojourn in England. And so goodbye to France. I really should say au revoir as I'm sure I'll be back again.
I will leave you with some of France's bizarre old laws which are still in place today:
1. You cannot name a pig Napoleon in France
2. You must keep a bale of hay handy in case the king comes past (to feed his horse)
3. No alcohol is allowed in the work place, except wine, beer and cider
4. Ketchup is forbidden in school canteens (it is too American)
5. Men must wear speedos in French swimming pools