CBF Day 7 – Longueval to Dieppe:

Only a week so far, this expedition feels much longer – although exactly how long I cannot say. Thiss is not a bad thing! Far from it. I have been very impressed with the amount of high quality content we are covering in the limited time we have available. It has become hard to delineate in my mind which site, monument, or lecture has occurred on which day in particular. Although a rich and rewarding trip, it is been tiring for all involved (the price of adventure I suppose). Today was a very pleasant change of pace and chance for all the rest and recharge before diving headlong into the Second World War portion of our trip. We began the day with a bittersweet farewell to the fantastic breakfasts of our Somme farmhouse and drove to the city of Amiens. Taking a brief detour from the wars, we were in Amiens to view the Cathedral Notre Dame d’Amiens. Constructed between 1220 and 1270 this mediaeval Cathedral is one of the largest and most complete of Europe. I do not think I have the proper words in my vocabulary to accurately describe it. Inspiring would be a start, but no more than a start. From the thousands of carved figures to the soaring ceiling vaults to the immense stained glass windows every part of it defies description. I highly encourage anyone who is reading this to stop what they’re doing and look up the cathedral online. The professional photographs you can find will do far more than my words or personal pictures ever could. Following a tour of the cathedral and an espresso in the square, we boarded up in carried on to the day’s final destination of Dieppe. We began on Puys beach and then carried on to the main landing zones of Red and White beaches for student presentations. Being here on the sweeping pebble beaches backed by towering cliffs it is easy to see why the 19 August raid went so tragically for the men involved. It’s very difficult to imagine such an event occurring on the very ground which we stand. Today Dieppe is veritable seaside paradise with throngs of people walking the waterfront streets or enjoying the warmth of the sun baked rocks. It very nice to see so many people and families enjoying the natural beauty of the landscape despite it’s past tragedies. For us our time in Dieppe is not only educational but also provides us with a much-needed afternoon off to enjoy the seaside. I sit writing this with my hotel windows thrown wide to catch the sea breeze. I believe it is time to put down the pen and enjoy the cool evening air.

Mark Symons