Before we left Amiens we took the Flixbus to Lille, then the bus to Wambrechies, to collect the car. Don’t like leaving it anywhere too long and it opens up our visiting range.
Onwards to Samara – a single boat mooring outside a park with an interesting archealogical ‘museum’. We spent a most enjoyable and informative hot afternoon in the park and ‘pavilion des expositions’.
By now the heat was rising and rising …… we decided to continue the 2 kms to reach Piciquigny. We weren’t particularly impressed with this little town and certainly not with the local, loudly voiciferous, duck population. Never heard anything like it!
So onwards once again to Long and the rural mooring in a little side channel. Shallow & weedy but nice …….. except for the ducks again!
Long is a very pretty little village with a rather splendid chateau & gardens – the Folie de Buissy – which I have covered in next post – Chateaux of the Somme.
We went for lunch & then went to the chateau – we had an hour before the next guided tour & so we walked around the gardens and greenhouse in the heat. The ‘guardian’ for the chateau prided herself on talking slowly and clearly so that everyone could understand her, and apart from the odd word I was able to do just that
We discovered that the locks here often have 2 chambers & because water levels are low the second chamber is being used. So its a 2 tier / double lock operation at each – one chamber has sloping sides with neither a floating pontoon or mooring bollards, so no mooring possible. Unfortunately for Piedaleau dancing around in a sloping sided basin as water comes in or out, is not a good option! The stern gets sucked into the sloping sides. So we put out a long line from the stern which Adrian could pull against and then use the bow thruster to maintain the position of the boat. Not the easiest manouever but we certainly didn’t want to scrape our newly, & very expensively, painted bottom. It was fun!
Onwards once again to Abbeville where we decided to stay for a few days and visit nearby places by car.
Abbeville is a nice town with plenty of shops nearby. The town was heavily bombed in 1940. The places highlighted to visit included:
Les sources bleues – literally a spring of blue waters which was an inspiration for the artist Alfred Manessier (1911-1993)
Church of the Holy Sepulchre:
Virtually all the windows in this 15th century Gothic church were destroyed in 1940. It was gradually restored in the following years & state support was provided in the 1980-90s in order to create a unique series of stained glass windows made by artist & sculptor Alfred Manessier. These were to be his last masterpiece as he was tragically killed in a car accident soon after completing the last window.
The windows are stunning! Particularly when the sun is shining through them and throwing patches of coloured light across the pews and stone floor. We spoke to the guardian on duty and he was immensely informative and inspired by the windows. He told us that on the morning of the summer equinox at 8.30 the cross is beautifully reflected onto the floor – lasts just 4 minutes!
Saint Vulfran Collegiate Church:
Known as a flamboyant Gothic masterpiece the church has flying buttresses and pinnacles, stone filigree, rose window and large window openings. Again this church was severely damaged in 1940 and the windows destroyed in the ensuing fire. Some have been replaced with windows created by the American artist William Einstein at the end of the 1960s.
All in all a real feast of stained glass windows!