Sunday 7 September.
I made a cup of tea when I got up at 6am and we drank it in bed while I worked on editing what I had written about yesterday for my blog. I incorporated some photographs and after Moira checked through it and was satisfied It was published. After that I worked on transcribing the route for today onto my little note book. I took it from Rocquigny where we rejoin the route as we initially head to Rocquigny from where are now in Beugny, straight down the D20.
We were packed and ready to go before we went down for breakfast. It was the usual, version of a Continental breakfast that we have been experiencing lately. Basically it is coffee with bread, and either butter or jam to flavour. Today's version differed only in the fact that we had different types of bread to choose from; there was a croissant, fruit bread, brown bread, and the normal baguette. It was all right but I would like some cereal. There were quite a number of other guests there and all down for, what seemed like when we requested it at 8am, a very early breakfast. When we finished Moira asked the woman in charge, Francis, if she could phone the hotel we selected in Peronne and make a booking. There was no reply to the number and she checked the Internet for other hotels but couldn't find anything. There was one that she said a number of pilgrims staying with her had used, the St. Cloude. She said she also drove there with their bags, she didn't make that offer to us. We decided that we would just have to chance it and trust to luck when we got there. The room here with breakfast cost €60, definitely more expensive than walking in Spain. The B&B was called Le Cense des 6 Sens, 15 Rue de Bapaume
It was quite misty when we headed down the D20, fortunately it was a minor road with few cars, those that were using it kept their headlights on. It was good road for walking and was well designated and signposted all the way to Rocquigny. It went through a couple of small villages, Haplincourt and Batastre, before getting us back on course. We were to rejoin the route at the large brick church in Rocquigny and from the distance I could make out what I thought was the steeple of the church in the mist. As we got nearer it looked less and less like a church steeple and more like grain silos. But sure enough when we got to the church in the centre of the village this modern artistic square tower filled with holes was the church steeple, very unusual. The church also had some very large decorated windows which we could make out from the outside and we would have liked to see them from the inside but the church was closed. I thought that Sundays in particular was when they did open?
We had a seat on the church steps before following the route from my note book. It was on more quiet country lanes to the village of Sailly-Saillisel where we has another rest on some seats in a children's play area. From there the quiet road joined to the busy D1017 National highway that went all the way to Peronne. But we were to cut off from it just after the village of Rancourt but couldn't find the grassy lane suggested by Cicerone. It must have been a difficult route to find as the guide gave the alternative of sticking to the D1017 for a further 2,5 km. The suggested route was only to avoid the busy road but the traffic wasn't so bad on a Sunday morning. We didn't miss much as one way went behind the Necropole Nationale, the French military cemetery and the Chapelle du Souvenir Francais while the main road passed in front. It was a big cemetery with white crosses instead of the gravestones in the British ones and the chapel was dedicated to a French lieutenant whose family built it but had subsequently been taken over by the Souvenir Francais.
We were soon off the road and onto a lane taking us into the village of Bouchavesnes-Bergen. It was another stop on the church steps, again the church was closed and it looked like it hadn't been open for some time considering the litter scattered about the front door. There was a bit of a climb out of the village then a flat section before dropping down to cross the Canal de Nord. Above the canal we had a stop on the grass at the road side where we had lunch. There was a tub of yoghurt left from yesterday and Moira had managed to get a baguette from a passing bread van that sounded its horn to attract customers. We didn't have any milk left for tea or coffee so made do with water. That was lunch for today. This was just before the village of Allaines and we had only 4 km to go to our finish for the day. Unfortunately there was a horrible steep climb out of Allaines for 2 km that wasn't nice at the end of the day.
Our route took us into Peronne by a back way through an industrial area and shopping malls rather than a busy more direct road. Our book gives road names to follow but these are not often displayed especially on major streets. I asked a man for the correct way to he town centre and with his limited English decided he was going to take us there and find us a room for the night. He turned out to be a bit of a pest and tried to hawk us around people he knew to put us up, but had no takers; it started to become embarrassing. We were in the town centre by now I asked him where the Hotel St. Cloude was and he directed us there. I said 'Merci' and we went in and booked a room for the night.
Moira asked for a double room and was told after the receptionist consulted the computer that there wasn't any, but she said they did a room with twin beds. That was what we wanted, a bed for the night, even if it was expensive at €84. At that price you would imagine that it would be something special but where we stayed last night was much better.
The first thing was to have a shower and get rid of the sweat, it had been a muggy day after the early mist, very hot and humid. Moira had difficulty getting the shower to operate. Why do these modern fancy showers need an instruction manual to figure out how to: (1) get the water to come on and (2) adjust the temperature. Eventually we were washed and changed and relaxed on the bed to read the newspaper we had downloaded this morning. There was a TV and I remembered the Italian Grand Prix was on today but when I eventually found the sports channel the race was over and the pundits were just talking about it, not in English, but apparently Hamilton had won.
Moira went out later and found a shop open where she got ham, avocado, tomato for our dinner. She also got milk and as soon as got in I made a cup of coffee, it was very refreshing. Moira also got the receptionist to phone ahead and book accommodation for tomorrow at a gite, it will be much cheaper, we are in a dorm. After we had our picnic dinner in the room I tried to get BBC radio on the computer but the Internet wasn't very good, and we're paying all that money! I did manage to get some programmes from the BBC archives and we listened to a few comedies before getting to sleep.