As April 25th approaches, we travel to Amiens as our base to attend the ANZAC Day service at Villiers Bretonneux. Amiens is in Picardy north of Paris and a short drive from the Belgian border. To the west and north of Picardy is the Somme. This was a killing field during W.W.1 and W.W.2 and the people of the region hold special affection for the Australian Imperial Force which held back the German advance in W.W.1.
It is an all day journey to Dover and the cross channel ferry and onto Amiens. We had allowed ourselves over five hours to reach the ferry terminal as we have learned that traffic bottlenecks occur with painful regularity around the Dartford Crossing. The weather blessed our journey. Fine and cool with patches of sea mist from time to time. Traffic was slow up to the turnoff to Birmingham where a majority of the trucks and cars turned off giving us an easy run to Dover.
On this occasion our planning was too conservative and we arrived in Dover ahead of time giving us a chance to look around the port. We drove along the sea front bounded by holiday flats and a new board walk reflecting the white cliffs that are famous in this area. With the sun shining and a gentle but cool breeze blowing we prepared our lunch on the foreshore and enjoyed a break from driving. Dover Castle looked on as we soaked up the vitamin E.
We finished lunch and joined the queue of cars and Lorries (trucks to us) awaiting boarding of the ferry. I had to call in to the kiosk to get our head light defuses as under French law we cannot travel in France without them. A right hand drive car has its headlights set to shine brightest to the left which is straight into the face of the driver of left hand drive cars. Understandable but at £7 a pop every time we go over to France it becomes expensive as you have to pull them off on returning to England.
I had just fitted them when the cars were called to board the ferry. These are very large boats with trucks on two decks and the cars scattered amongst the trucks on deck 5. The fittings are more like a cruise liner so the one and a half hours across the channel seems to fly.
The drive to Amiens was only one and a half hours but with the time change this meant we would arrive around 6.00pm. The weather continued to be fine and the fields of northern France were stunning. I could not reach my camera but I have included some shots I obtained on the return journey but unfortunately it was overcast and showering.
France is in a different time zone to the UK and has daylight saving as well so we had to set our watches an hour ahead. Fortunately this meant that we had the benefit of twilight even though it was past 6.00pm when we arrived in Amiens. It seemed like the middle of the day when we found our apartment. It was on the edge of the old city and a parking space opened up just nearby.