To Péronne - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

July 31, 2022

To Péronne

Note:  I’ve fallen behind, which is not that unusual but my efforts to keep up with timely posts on this tour have been complicated by thematic considerations. I've wanted to give a fair accounting of the cathedrals in both words and pictures and have been a bit overwhelmed in that task. As this is a site for bike journals, I’ve decided to continue with accounts of my daily rides and will insert the material on the cathedrals when I get back to Paris and have a bit more time.

 And now on to the day's ride. 

 The day began a bit gray, gloomy and full of hiccups. It started off in a search for an open bakery or store to stock up on my daily provisions - I’d forgotten it was a Sunday and the start of vacation season in France and so spent a fair amount of time cycling from one closed bakery to another. Once stocked up, I made my way to the Chemin de Halage and Somme Cycle Route that I would follow to Péronne, my destination for the day. The Chemin de Halage is a popular walking and cycling path and it was quite busy this Sunday morning, requiring a lot of dodging and weaving that slowed progress. Eventually I made it to the wider, less populated Somme Cycle Route where I was able to relax and start enjoying the ride.

Along the Chemin de Halages
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Keith AdamsI don't think I've ever seen a gate in the middle of a bridge before. Certainly not one so ornate.
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5 days ago
Nap time on the Somme
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The traffic had thinned considerably by the time I reached the Somme Valley Cycle Route, a 160 km cycle path that travels along the Somme River from it's estuary to Péronne, my destination for the day
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A family of five on tour. Mum and Dad are carrying all the gear while each of the three children (estimated ages 3-10) are in command of their own set of wheels - even the tiny tot!
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One of the many fishers along the Somme
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And the fisher wife, who appeared to keep herself occupied with her dog, her puzzles, and her knitting
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Three cows reflecting on life along the Somme
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Rich FrasierI see what you did there…. :)
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4 days ago
Giverny it's not, but there is a bridge and lily pads
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The cycle route left the river for brief stretches, traveling through landscapes similar to what I'd seen the two previous days
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Église Saint-Fuscien et Saint-Gentien in Moncourt (Pop. 579 in 2015)
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Church of unknown name in Étinehem-Méricourt, (Pop. 592 in 2019)
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I rejoined the Somme canalway near the Méricourt-sur-Somme marsh, where there was one of the nicer canal houses
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It took all my neighing to get these ponies to look up from chomping down
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One of the dozen or so leisure boats I'd seen along the canalway
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A hillside of hay bales in the sun and shade
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Between the Somme and somewhere
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Paddles up, just drifting down the Somme
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The Somme River valley is rich in history, especially military history. Most notable is the 1916 Battle of the Somme which lasted five months during World War I, resulting in more than one million casualties and marking the beginning of the end of the Great War. I’d chosen Péronne as a way point on my route to Laon due to both distance and the presence of a highly rated museum on the Great War.

By the time I arrived at my hotel, there was less than an hour before the museum closed. I was a bit tired, and no doubt lacked the concentration needed to fully appreciate the historical information offered by the museum displays. I decided to change my plans in order to make time to visit the museum in the morning and so added an extra stop before Laon. I spent the next few hours finding a new destination and lodging and rebooking my stay in Laon.

Near Cappy, I was passed by The P'tit Train de la Haute Somme, a tourist train that travels along the last remaining section of the narrow guage rail network built during WW1 to supply soldiers during the Battle of the Somme.
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Keith KleinHi,
The railway survived to haul sugar beets after the war. These tiny little lines were quite common all over France between the wars, many if not all used to haul agricultural, industrial, or forest products. They lasted until the war surplus material they were built with wore out, and better highways were built.
Cheers,
Keith
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4 days ago
Two tourist trains stopped at Gare de Cappy in order to exchange/move engines from one end of the train to the other. It's a bit irreverent, but the scene recalled pictures of me and my sister riding on the Casey Jr. Circus Train at Disneyland in 1960 - we were in the animal car!
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Approaching Eglise Saint-Nicolas de Cappy in Cappy (Pop. 518 in 1915)
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Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Péronne in Péronne (Pop. 7,652 in 2015)
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Museum of the Great War in Péronne
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The day ended as it started - searching for food. One of the biggest challenges for those traveling through small French towns on a  Sunday night in late July is finding an open place for dinner. Aside from a chicken and taco take-out, the only spot within walking distance was a mediterranean restaurant, an excellent option whatever the circumstances. It was a little before eight when I walked in to Le Méditerranée Sarl, only to find there were no tables available. The chef/proprietor could see my disappointment and said a table might open up in another twenty minutes, but no promises. I walked back to the town square and found a bench where I waited out the next half hour catching up on CycleBlaze journals. To my delight, a table was indeed waiting when I arrived back at at Le Méditerranée Sarl. After enjoying a fine meal of grilled lamb and couscous, I headed back to the hotel and tried working on the journal. It was a futile effort, however, and I was soon fast asleep.

Not sure what caused that spur and V-shaped dip just before mile 15
Heart 1 Comment 1
Scott AndersonIt’s as you’re entering Aubigny. If the track is accurate it looks like you took a detour away from the river for some reason.
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4 days ago

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 2,017 miles (3,246 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 11
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Keith AdamsThe Somme... A million casualties and no tangible result for either side, if I remember correctly. Tragic in every way.

I too have been known to fall asleep while reading, or writing, journals. No reflection on the content, just on my state of exhaustion.
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5 days ago
Rachael AndersonI’m glad you found a good restaurant to eat at. We’ve had some issues with restaurants being fully booked so know I reserve ahead.
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4 days ago