Doulcon to Verdun - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 2 - CycleBlaze

August 12, 2018

Doulcon to Verdun

From Green Lake Camping to thunder in Verdun

Doulcon to Verdun

From Green Lake Camping to thunder in Verdun.

A cold morning in Douclon- no one splashing about in the lake as we leave. Just the early morning fumers smoking up a storm as we navigate our way out through the haze and head south, collecting our bread at the Boulangerie before leaving town. 

Doulcon
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Dun sur Meuse
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Dun Sur Meuse
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The route is easy and uneventful though the rough and unnaturally uneven nature of the terrain suggests battles might have once been fought here.  We reach a spot with a sign to an abandoned village, Cumières-le-Mort-Homme, left after devastating  destruction during WWI. The  village, the only on the left bank of the Meuse, is one of nine villages destroyed in the war. Apparently it has  Neolithic origins.

There is a market on, which partially blocks our access to the Voie verte - the cycleway into Verdun. We negotiate it and even buy some plums. I am tempted by the graphic Herge style books, but cycling and weight..... We chat briefly to a young Dutch chap who is out cycling- lives locally now.

Consenvoye
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Bras-sur-Meuse
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The greenway is great and follows the Meuse canal into the city. I call out a greeting to a boat with an Aussie flag and we have a brief conversation. At the end he thanks me for stopping to chat. You meet some nice people on the road - or water.

Samogneux
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Obstacle on the Canal de L’Est.
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By negotiation.
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The approaches to Verdun are beautiful, with trees and parks shading the green water whose banks are punctuated with watercraft of various sorts. In the light of such a peaceful scene, it’s  hard to imagine the noise, dust, human presence and the chaotic military machinations of this place as it must have been back in the days of La Premiere Guerre Mondiale.

Parc Municipal Japiot.
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Crossing on Canal de L’Est.
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Verdun
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I have read much about the siege of the citadel during WWI and am unsure what to expect, but all has been restored apart from bullet holes in the cathedral walls and strange undulations in the landscape. Coming into the outskirts of the city we pass massive graveyards. The Germans have black crosses and the Allies white. Wonder who decided?

The campground is shady and even has a pool, so we set up camp and take a dip. Our neighbours are two motorcycling Brit chaps who both check in with home on their phones, before we have a chat about travel and ...yes - Brexit! They’re both sanguine types with a good sense of humour- they’ll need it.

Looking dazed but well fed.
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After our dinner of tuna salad and frites washed down with a pungent red, we read for a while then crash. In the middle of the night there’s a different kind of crashing- a massive thunderstorm overhead. At one point I seem to see a vivid red orb bursting behind my eyes. The noise is beyond belief. Our tent holds out though, and I resist the temptation to have another King Lear moment, exhorting the elements to do their worst.

Today's ride: 41 km (25 miles)
Total: 3,186 km (1,979 miles)

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