10 Days in Picardy

June 4, 2016:

We’ve spent most of our time in France so far in the Picardy region, north and west of Paris. Picardy is a rural part of the country, with few cities. The countryside is made up of gently undulating green hills, cultivated with wheat (our future baguettes), corn, and other produce. The days are long (it doesn’t get fully dark until about 10:30pm); we wake up to a cacophony of birds singing every morning; and everything is verdant, which is quite a switch from the yellows of drought-stricken California.

Wheat fields everywhere
Wheat fields everywhere
Riding along one of the many canals near Amiens
Riding along one of the many canals near Amiens
Bicycle art in the middle of a lush backyard
Bicycle art in the middle of a lush backyard

As long as we manage to stay on paved roads, the cycling is gentle; the drivers are very considerate; and the scenery is bucolic. Which all makes for very enjoyable way to ease into cycling, especially after the (mis)adventure-packed first days of our trip. The rains were tough, but we hope we’re finally past the unseasonable storms.

Here are some photos of our 10 days in the Picardy region:

Trader Joe's in France (the brand, anyway, if not the stores)! Who knew!
Trader Joe’s in France (the brand, anyway, if not the stores)! Who knew!
Enjoying some rare sunshine on our way to Beauvais
Enjoying some rare sunshine on our way to Beauvais
Swans are as popular in Picardy as snails are at Team Lumaca!
Swans are as popular in Picardy as snails are at Team Lumaca!
Camping in Ourcel-Maison
Camping in Oursel-Maison
Duck Crossing!
Duck Crossing!
A rare ray of sunshine makes this little town near Oursel-Maison sparkle
A rare ray of sunshine makes this little town near Oursel-Maison sparkle
Swan in the canal just meters from our tent
Swan in the canal just meters from our tent
Private chapel attached to a small chateau (castle) at the top of a village called Prouzel
Private chapel attached to a small château (castle) at the top of a village called Prouzel
Amiens cathedral
Amiens cathedral
The canal trail is nearly deserted on a grey, rainy weekday
The canal trail is nearly deserted on a grey, rainy weekday
Go Team Lumaca!
Go Team Lumaca!
Postal delivery bike. The "training wheels" on the front are used as a kickstand.
Postal delivery bike. The “training wheels” on the front are used as a kickstand.
Mark riding the canal trail near Abbeville
Mark riding the canal trail near Abbeville
We reached the coast! Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, in the Baie de Somme.
We reached the coast! Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, in the Baie de Somme.
Beautiful homes and backyards that front the Saint-Valery-sur-Somme boardwalk
Stately homes and well-tended backyards that front the Saint-Valery-sur-Somme boardwalk
Cowboy Cooking: pot pie stew on a cold, rainy evening. Yum!
Cowboy Cooking: pot pie stew on a cold, rainy evening. Yum!
Our bicycles getting soaked in camp. Unfortunately for them, they can't crawl into the tent to stay dry.
Our bicycles getting soaked in camp. Unfortunately for them, they can’t crawl into the tent to stay dry.
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