|Posted by Joe & Mary on June 6, 2016 at 9:45 AM|
With free coffee, tea & biscuits on the ferry, on the 13th May 9 cars drove down to Laon, checking the weather forecast that looked awful, we ended up with a beautiful few days with temperatures in th 20's. Based at a Campanile, with good parking & easy access, though never enough staff even though they knew they were full up, on the Saturday with 1000 cars to register I thought it would be very chaotic, but it only took 10-15 mins to get parked & registration was very slick. The Saturday run was lovely with so many wide flowing almost empty roads to choose from, the organisers are so lucky, lunch was at Parfondeval, village voted one of the prettiest in France, but still not a patch on our villages, if only it were possible to organise a run on French rural roads through Kentish villages, what a run that would be, 7 cars did the run while Martin & Anita & Frank & Lesley opted to spend the day in Laon old town. Sunday again stayed dry, with 1000 cars to run around the town the organisers had 4 starting points all starting at the same time, this worked very well with less hold ups than usual, with large crowds it was really good, we then opted to park our cars & watch the others, a good move as the cars then did start to grind to a halt. On Monday Doug & Helen & Steve & Jayne followed an organised route back to Arras for lunch & then on to Calais. While the remaining cars headed south west across country to Beauvais, stopping of to visit the Train at Compiegne where the Armistice was signed at the end of WW1. After getting lost for a while in Beauvais & getting tangled up in a cycle race we arrived at our Hotel for the next 2 nights, with the grumpiest waitress I have ever met, the only reason she kept her job was the fact that the chef was having his wicked way with her. Next morning in beautiful sunshine we drove 44 miles across country to Monets Garden on what turned out to be a really lovely drive. The gardens are always busy but we were lucky with parking (always a problem with several cars) we had pre-booked tickets which was a good move, the Water Gardens & Lily Pond were beautiful not a bit disappointing, by walking round slowly I even managed to take photos with hardly anyone in them, Monets House was also lovely (see photos) Because of the grumpy waitress, that night we all went to a Chinese Restaurant & were very well looked after by the boss One Hung Lo. Wednesday we said goodbye to grumpy drawers & headed north to Amiens for our last night & a visit to the Floating Gardens, I found the day a little disappointing as it was a bit cooler, so we couldn't sit outside by the Canal for lunch, it is wonderful on a sunny day, the trip around the floating gardens was also a bit af a let down as the last time we had an English speaking skipper giving loads of info, but not this time (you would think knowing they had a boat full of English it would have been only right to have someone who spoke at least a little bit of the language) the other boat were luckier. Thursday Ian & Jackie, Ken & Silvia & Frank & Lesley travelled to Bolougne to a fish restaurant that you have to book days in advance, while the remaining 4 cars headed north across the Somme via Albert, the Lochnagar Crater & the Circle of Remembrance before all meeting in Calais. But with all MG trips things don't always run smoothly, while loading our cars on the last morning, there were Blue lights & black smoke everywhere, the roundabout at the end of the duel carriageway was blocked by protesters with pallets & tyres, after a while we decided to go down the duel carriageway the wrong way only to be met by 2 French mototcycle Police who just smiled stopped the traffic & waved us straight through, meanwhile the other 3 cars encountered roads blocked by protesters going into Bolougne, after asking Motorcycle Police how to get round the blockade to the restaurant the Police decided it was easier to lead them through even stopping traffic to let them straight through junctions, Lesley said she felt like she was in an episode of Chips. I must say the French Police went up in our estimation no end.