4.22.09 Equipen-Plage to Amiens
Amiens Travel Blog› entry 38 of 114 › view all entries
4.22.09 Equipen-Plage to Amiens
Last night, Ann and Keith invited me over for a glass of wine with their friends, Sue and Brian, Pete and Trisha, who were all very nice and great fun. I really appreciated the time with adults.
This morning we said goodbye to our new friends and headed out to Amiens. The 60 mile toll road cost 12E, which is $16 U.S. Pretty expensive, but very nice road.
The city of Amiens is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the cathedral is spectacular. Two Notre Dam Cathedrals in Paris could fit in this biggest Gothic church in France! We enjoyed the free entry and the lack of crowds as we wandered around this church. It is amazing too in that it was built in less than 50 years.
We decided that our internet difficulties were due to our own inability to get info, so we made a point of finding the Tourist Visitor’s Center. Of course, it was right in the shadow of the Cathedral, as Rick Steves says, but we walked all around the old city in the meantime. They were very nice and helpful and we spent about 7E uploading blogs and checking our emails (2 computers for 1 hour each).
Amiens is a gorgeous city and is not well-described in the tourist books. In fact, other than a few other motorhomes, we appear to be a rare tourist in town, the only Americans as far as we can tell.
We also got info on Aires in town, and there are 3, but none are at the location mentioned in our Aires in France book. We’ll have to send them a correction. We also checked out all 3 location and reconfirmed with Tourist Info. There is a water and electric kiosk where we are by the pedestrian bridge to the park, along the Somme River, so it is set up for boaters to hook up too. You buy a "jeton" or special token at the Tourist Info center. We need no services, so we didn’t try the kiosk. Hopefully we’ll sleep uninterrupted tonight.
Entry into a new country is like a field trip for every "normal" task. We cheered our success in buying Diesel, thrilled to try a street vendor making our special (but not particularly sweet) chocolat crepe, and enjoyed trying pate and some other identifiable things for dinner.
But we made fools of ourselves at the grocery store! We just had to laugh ourselves. First, one in our group didn’t hear the cashier telling us where to put our basket, so it got carried past the cashier which sounded the store’s security alarm. Then we handed over some bananas, which required Security Guy to run back to the produce department and price them (put on the scale and push the bananas picture- Jazy followed him to learn how). Then one of our two baguettes was held by the wrong end and fell out of its plastic sleeve onto the floor, creating a great puff of flour! I picked it up and stuffed it back in saying, "Pas de problem!" and we ate it for dinner. The poor Security dude got red in the face trying not to laugh. Humiliating and hilarious!
We bought vegetables at the street market, loved the pedestrian areas with outdoor seating at every café, and strolled through the huge park. It is not easy with the language, but we are managing since I took French in school- that Spanish south of the border really messed me up though.. We have to think differently by pantomiming and using pictures, taking Orla’s French dictionary with us to look up words.
The kids are playing now behind me on the huge rope obstacle course that is attached to a high pole. Everyone is enjoying this most perfect Spring day! There are basketball players, jugglers, couples lounging on the terraced hillside in their own little private parks, and leisure bikers.
Speaking of bikes, the town has rental bikes where you can put your credit card into the slot and it releases the bikes. You just return them to a parking slot. Unfortunately, you must have a "chip and pin" credit card (with a microchip) as they call it in Britain, rather than our American magnetic strip type. It doesn’t matter- we have bikes of our own. But that is such a cool idea!
Tomorrow we head 80 miles to Rouen to see the ancient city. We’re meandering to Paris to arrive on Friday.
We’ve had no trouble using the Euros that we got in Ireland, which is good. Apparently the British Sterling Pounds in Northern Ireland is not respected in the rest of Great Britain. A bank will apparently change it without a fee to English-printed pounds, but fortunately, we’ve had no trouble with our Republic of Ireland Euros. They go just as quickly.
Saline check: Multipurpose solution in Amiens, France: 12E for a large bottle. We found it for 8P in Wales. Much better than 21E in Ireland for the half-sized bottle (100 ml). But isn’t that interesting pricing for essentially salt water?
Overall, a lovely day in France! We’re met some nice people, found a place for the night, and enjoyed a beautiful small city. I imagine that this is a great place to live and we’re so happy to have visited!
We made it! Delightful!
Will upload blog soon.
Strange=to=me French keyboard so hard to type.