Fell asleep last night before writing so I'm doing yesterday's while we wait for the train to Paris.
Woke up from our surprisingly comfortable beds supplied by the Diocese of Arras, had a little breakfast then descended upon downtown looking for a bakery then some way to get to Vimy. We found our bakery and then promptly found a creperie so I'm not ashamed to say that both were visited. Went to the tourist information office after in hopes of them having information about getting to Vimy. Luckily they had the name of a lovely guy, Jerome, who will take you there and back for a flat rate and give you as much time as you need.
It's interesting that when you enter the site, you are actually returning to Canadian soil as it has been donated in perpetuity to our people as a token for the sacrifices we made there. The visitor centre was closed when we arrived so we started our ambling. Again a very sobering place to be. They have preserved a section of Canadian and German trenches so you can see what they looked like and how close they were but they do nothing to convey the horror of the conditions those men lived in while manning their posts. Interesting to see the ups and downs and winding land of what was the trench network but has been allowed to grow green again. As well, there have been trees planted everywhere. As you walk to the memorial from the trenches you pass more expanses of forest with old trench visible but they are all roped of due to danger of unexplored munitions. Scary thought after all this time.
The memorial is something else to behold. The view from the ridge illustrates very clearly it's desirability from a strategic view point though the landscape bears no sign of the conflict short of the monument.
I don't have many words for walking the site other than it's something I recommend to every Canadian to appreciate what those young men did so many years ago for a people they knew very little about other than their lives were being threatened. Again my strongest feelings were sorrow and pride, a strange mix but helped it to not be too depressing.
We visited the Canadian and Commonwealth cemeteries on the way back to the centre and paid our respects to the named dead. Once at the centre we took a tour through a remaining set of tunnels used for moving supplies, lodgings and planning. Eight meters deep and still very well intact.
After returning to Arras we had a quick bite to eat then headed to the train station for the trip to Amiens, our last stop before Paris. Our hotel in Amiens was just a block from the train station so it was a quick hike(unlike yesterday) to our lodging. After settling in we went in search of supper and happened to find ourselves another lovely spot serving enormous bowls of mussels (rough count - 70 in each bowl). Naturally, we caved and gorged ourselves. To walk off supper a bit we decided to walk by the cathedral Notre Dame and see if they had it lit up at night. They did, so I sat while Sus shot pictures for half an hour.
With that completed we headed back and went to bed so we could be fully rested for our travels to the City of Love in the morning. More to come later.