Sunday 12 May 2019
This morning I followed the Somme north out of the city to the Madeleine Cemetery.
I like a traditional cemetery with grand overgrown and forgotten memorials, a testament to futile ambition. They’re a reminder we are our lives as lived, and no amount of carved stone and iron will stop us crumbling back into the elements of which we’re formed.
Even the ‘understated’ grave of Jules Verne will crack and crumble,
though I do take my hat off to the bravado. It looked wrong, but I’ve since discovered the sculpture was added two years after Verne died, so he’s not responsible.
I took time to sit in the sun and enjoy the pastries I’d brought along as I absorbed the lesson of those lying around me.
Returning to the van, I made the mistake of dipping into Twitter. I’m trying to limit myself to checking in only on days with a ‘t’, but as I always watched the Sunday morning political shows I thought I’d have a quick peek. Seeing coverage of Gardiner and Farage had me fuming in no time – what a sorry state our country’s in. Where’s a historical perspective when it’s needed? It was time to get back into the sunshine.
My second walk of the day took me south to The Hortillonnages, or the floating gardens, 300 hectares of small islands crisscrossed by 65km of canals.
It turns out the hortillons, market gardeners, were the ‘farmers’ market I saw on Saturday morning.
It’s possible to take a boat trip around the islands but I didn’t.
Amiens has much to offer the visitor – landmark buildings, a green belt that runs through the heart of the city, lakes, canals and rivers, history, plenty of bars and culture, all within walking distance. It’s deserving of a place on anyone’s itinerary, particularly as it’s a relatively short hop from Calais/Dunkirk.