Friday, 19 June 2009

10 Years On - Part 6 of Account of Cycling Northern France

By this day, depression was turning to guilt as I knew that I had done so much more by just coming on this holiday than the bulk of my neighbours in East London would ever experience. Ten years on I have forgotten how traumatic this holiday was and am a little alarmed that I see, even a decade later, my attempts at holidays are still blighted as back then.

My fear of everything being closed on a Sunday may seem unusual to British residents of the 21st century but even now most French shops are closed on a Sunday and, as I had found out in the Dunkerque youth hostel, as a cyclist, that can leave you stranded without vital things.

Saturday 19th June 1999

Today I work around 08.00 having slept well despite the bed. Initially I felt relieved that I have decided to leave but today I just feel depressed and also guilty that I am throwing up a holiday neighbours would kill for. I sat around reading unhassled.

I wandered around the town, the market and the old town and stopped at the entrance to it to write the last of my postcards in 'Aux Manniken Pis', I should be less gloomy in them.

I had the plat du jour at 'La Capitainerie' on the quay of the river, made difficult to translate because spelt wrongly. I walked along the Hortillonages which are gardens and islands divided by small rivers. I did some shopping as much will be closed tomorrow.

Back in my room I slept and read more of 'Shōgun'. I then walked inmto town but had missed the festival's afternoon stuff and was too early for evening things most which started at 21.45. I ate at 'La Table Picardie' and unlike meals since yesterday did not rush it. I then came back.

I hope I can make Montreuil tomorrow rather than be depressed in Abbeville. This holiday has proven what a pathetic character I am, fearful of everything, unable even to relax or enjoy myself. I need to hurry back to the pathetic scraps of my life in Britain I have for comfort. I should eat lightly and save more money, though that is less important now.

Weather: Sunny and hot.

Old Building Reflected in New Building in Amiens, June 1999

Terraced Houses in St. Leu District of Amiens, June 1999

River Somme Running through St. Leu District of Amiens in June 1999

Bridge to the Hortillonages Area of Amiens, June 1999

View along River Somme to Amiens, June 1999

Gated Bridge to a Hortillonage in Amiens, June 1999

A Small Chalet on a Hortillonage in Amiens, June 1999

Etangs between the Hortillonages in Amiens, June 1999

Father and Daughter Returning Home from Working on a Hortillonage in Amiens, June 1999

The Perret Tower in Amiens in June 1999

When it was completed in 1956 the Perret Tower, also known as La Chandelle (The Candle), at 25 stories was the highest skyscraper in the whole of France. Its original budget had been FF 93 million but ultimately cost FF 225 million. It was begun in 1949 and took 3 years longer than had been planned to build. An underground river was found to run under where the foundations were to be laid and had to be re-routed. Water pressure in Amiens at the time was too low for water to reach the top 5 floors and it was estimated it would take the 350 people expected to live in it two hours to leave the building using the lifts. It seems to summon up modern construction problems, but for some reason I find it intriguing and think it would make an excellent base for some shadowy organisation in a movie. 

Steampunk Street Performers in Amiens, June 1999

Probably appropriate to have steampunk performers in Amiens given that Jules Verne lived there, was a town councillor and was buried there. 

Glass Shop in Amiens, June 1999

Water Alleys in Amiens, June 1999

Evening along the Waterfront in Amiens, June 1999

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