Well, the first day of our holiday nearly got off to a bad start. We left home as planned at 06h30 which gave us five hours for a three hour journey. This was to allow time for delays and breakfast. If I tell you that four and a half hours later we scrambled into the Channel Tunnel terminal with less than twenty minutes to spare. We only got there at all because I knew more shortcuts than SatNav; oh the benefits of truck driving!
Any way we made it and were soon cruising down towards our first night at Albert, in the rain. This is in the Picardie area of the Somme so there are many cemeteries and memorials from the First World War and you can’t help but notice that none of the villages has any old buildings. Bapaume, Thiepval, Beaumont Hamel, Vimy are all names familiar to any student of WW1 history.
We saw many monuments and memorials but it was hammering down with rain but as soon as it stopped so did we and had a look round this immaculate cemetery.
I never cease to be moved by these places so lovingly tended. I imagine that they’re in for a busy year.
Into Albert we discovered that SatNav’s French pronunciation is hilarious, at one point I really didn’t have a clue what she was saying, thank goodness for the display. Our hotel is almost opposite the massive church of Notre Dame. This church was rebuilt between 1926 and 1929 as it took over 2000 shells during the war. It was famous for having a big golden statue of Our Lady on the spire that was hit and from then leaned towards the town at an alarming angle; the soldiers said that the war would end when it eventually fell down. It fell down in April 1918.
6 May 2014