mardi 27 mars 2012


Well, we are busily getting ready to leave our winter moorings in Auxerre on 29th March for our summer season of cruising the waterways of France once more.
last weekend was another very busy one! We went to a musical soiree last friday night in a luthier's shop in the town. We all stood around feeling very french, listening to a fantasic selection of french songs played for us by a gentleman on a keyboard (who also sang in a very sexy voice), a young man with his guitar and another gentleman on violin. It was a fabulous evening thank you Marie-Jo for inviting us!

Saturday night we spent with our Australian friends on Philosophe. We had a match of Petanque (we won!!) followed by a delicious BBQ.  We left them fairly early for us, as we were going out for the day on sunday, but on our return to Puddle Stone we realised that we had to put the clocks forward one hour too.........

Sunday the alarm went off at 06.30am and we left at 7am with our friend Elodie who drove us to the battlefields in Verdun. We were delayed by Patrice who got out of the boat and ran around the port with all of us chasing him until I at last managed to catch him! He obviously knew we were leaving him for the day, alone!

Our time at the battlefields were very thought inspiring. Verdun was the site that had the biggest losses for the french army in the 1st world war.
 Here are John and Elodie outside the Verdun war memorial depicting from left to right a cavalryman, a sapper, an infantryman, a gunner and a member of the territorial army, built in 1928 to depict the siteof the military butcher which was destroyed in 1916.

 The official entrance to the town the Porte Chausee built in the 14th century, and was part of the ramparts which encircled the town in the medieval times.

Elodie and John starting up the steps to the Monument of Victory symbolising the french victories of 1916 and 1918. The soldier gazes to the eastern borders. There are 73 steps (I counted them!) but the view were wonderful. Verdun was 86% destroyed during the conflict.
We went to the Ossuary at Douaumont and climbed the tower. These were the views from the top of the tower showing row upon row of the french war graves.

This grizzly picture was taken through a window of the ossuary. There are the bones of 600.000 men between thw inside and outside walls of the monument. There are no outside pictures of the monument as it had scaffolding up and you couldnt really see anything.
 We then went to Fort Douaumont, but were 5 minutes too late to go inside! We walked around the outside though.

 The bomb crater are clearly visible wherever you look.

 John and me 'saluting ' the european and french flags!!
After that we went to the site of the village of Douaumont. A village that was totally destroyed in 1916 all that is left is a tarmacam road which was the main high street of the village and a small chapel built on the site of the village church.

We found some evidence of trenches but most of them have been filled in and grassed over.

The village of Douaumont showing the road of the village and the chapel now built to replace the village church.

We eventually returned to the boat at 10pm, I was very tired but we had a really interesting day which gave all of us in our own way a great deal to think about.  I cant stop thinking about all those bones stuck between the wall and I just wish they would bury them somewhere. I would hate to think of one of my loved ones being there.

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