Federweisser, Verdun, Flanders Fields and the Rhineland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMead11, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    My next stop in the forest of Compiegne was a little village called Saint Jean Aux Bois. I might have just driven right through it except I noticed that it was a little more interesting than just your average little village in the forest. There is an abbaye there, founded by Benedictine nuns with the aide of Adelaide de Savoie. She was the wife of King Louis VI le Gros….or Louis the Fat. I had heard of him many times before, especially for his conflicts with Enguerrand I. de Coucy of the castle Coucy-le-Chateau which I would stop at once again later this day. Louis the Fat had a battle with Enguerrand I. of Coucy at Amiens in 1115, where Louis the Fat even took an arrow in the chest, saved only by his shirt of mail armor.

    The church you see when you visit the village today was built in the 1200’s. It is yet another piece of architecture that came to be the duty of Viollet-le-Duc to restore in 1865. It had not been declared a historic monument until 1849, but it seems to be a part of what Napoleon III. wanted to save to make his future neighborhood a lot nicer. This is a very cool little spot to visit and the village appears to have gone to a lot of trouble to keep the presentation of the village enjoyable. Like stepping back in time.

    During the middle ages a wall of defense were put up around the abbaye with a gate put in that had two towers and drawbridge. About 1700 the drawbridge was replaced by a wooden bridge, and then in 1750 that was replaced by the stone bridge that guides you to the interior of the courtyard today.


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  2. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  3. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  4. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    This is the Monument Aux Morts at Saint Jean Aux Bois....

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  5. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  6. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Before I left the village I blew the opportunity to get picks of two young French police ladies cruising through the village.....such a shame to not be able to share that moment with you all.

    I left and went across the forest and passed the Nampcel Military Cemetery, but did not spend long here, as I had examined it well in 2009. You can see it in the Moselwein report here.....


    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=476051&page=10


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  7. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  8. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    From here it is only a hop skip and a jump over the plateau and dropping down into Barisis to be back at the house in time for drinks before dinner.....


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  9. Olirider

    Olirider Been here awhile

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    Where do you find all these old postcards ?
    I like very much the idea of taking a picture with the same point of view as in the postcard. :clap
  10. helmik

    helmik Adventurer

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    You always come up with some fantastic places, mostly in an area i though ti knoew well!!! Those Roman ruins, i must have passed there loads of times and never knew they existed, do now and they will be visited in the not too distant future. I am good at sitting somewhere and imagining what it was like way back then.

    Keep it coming, much appreciated,

    Mick.
  11. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    People in France are really crazy about collecting postcards I think. My friends have many of them, I have another friend in LaRochelle, France that is a bit of a post card dealer at times I think. So some I get from them. I do have hundreds of post cards myself too.....and QSL cards, as I do a bit of radio. That is how I met my friend Thorsten.....on amateur radio. Others are just pics from floating around on the internet.
  12. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I have been past there too, well, within a few miles anyway, so many times. I had never gone down there to check it out. I am sorry I did not do it sooner. I am glad I did it now though. I was just doing ancient Rome with my students lately too and I was happy to be able to show then the new pictures. You should have no trouble to find the place as it is in Google Maps......my Zumo did not have it in its old maps.

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  13. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    And this is where the trip went from fantastic to "I just wish I would die" and be done with it. I became terribly sick. Up all night in misery sick. I have no idea what happened, but I either caught something somewhere, I drank the water and it got me.....or it was this Aubergine Pate....or maybe the mayo.....I thought maybe the prune gateau, was it because I mixed it all with whiskey???? ....but no....I am quite sure it was the aubergine that did not agree with me. I could feel it in me all night. I was in misery. No more aubergine pate for me .....ever..... This never happens to me by the way. I never have these troubles in Europe......but something got me this time.

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    The dessert...no...that was fine.....I'd had it a million times.....but the Aubergine Pate.....that was new to me.....


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  14. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I'd had all these plans for this day, leisurely riding through the French countryside, military monuments and such all the way to Germany as I returned to Thorsten's house on the Moselle. It was not to be. I ended up leaving late in the morning, heading straight for the autoroute and making a 6 hour run to Kinheim-Kindel. It was a tough decision to make. I was just not feeling at all good. Back roads would let me pull into the woods and go to the bathroom at will, and autoroutes have regular restroom stops. I figured I would just not enjoy anything today anyway, and i would soon be back again regardless, so I opted for the easy thing and did what I did. I was soon on the couch in front of the TV passed out from exhaustion.


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    So no pictures today really. No fun. But later in the evening at Thorstens I did near a lot of honking and noises and looked up to see flocks of cranes, all migrating south.....off to Africa...for the winter. It was quite a sight. Flight after flight of them going overhead. Amazing. Something I had never seen before. It was a special moment of beauty.

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    It was funny when I first asked what they were, having never seen anything like this, and Thorstens sister did not know the word for them, but explained it by describing the symbol on the tail of Lufthansa airplanes.....ahhhh.....

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  15. Robertsmits

    Robertsmits HardHead

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    I really liked your thread, It made me realize it is all still there and that the general public seem to be forgetting.
    Im no different, racing through Belgium and France on the freeways (from Amsterdam) to our holiday locations south.
    Just once I took my family (wife and three daughters) to Normandy where we visited Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.
    I remember the girls just couldn't believe it (and neither could I) seeing all those lives lost, it was just too much to comprehend. As young as they were they found it inappropriate to play on the beach as it was a warm day and they were surprised to see people sunning and bathing there......I explained to them that it was just the sort of thing all those men fought for, to be able so sit, play and laugh in all freedom. Your threads are truly educating!

    Rob Smits
  16. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike TAT Rookie (planning!)

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    Hard to believe it has been 8 years since I was in Germany.(No bike on that trip!)...
    I remember being awed by the history in europe.(I will go back!) Thanks for the tour! :clap:clap
  17. digger2

    digger2 A cad & a bounder

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    Think about a self published book?
    I was absolutely engrossed in this.
    Although it shows what a terrible waste of life it all was, it also shows that when tyranny is upon us young people will stand against it.
  18. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I kind of had the same experience with my son after taking him to Normandy. He was 10, and we were camping at Camping D'Omaha Beach, which literally is on the ridge overlooking the Vierville part of Omaha Beach. We had discussed in great detail my own experiences exploring the beaches and then what the soldiers must have gone through trying to get up to where our campsite was. He examined the bunker emplacements and the beach, the water depths....and he determined that there was no way it could be done. We actually were both dumbfounded as to how the Germans failed to push the Allies back into the sea, but it is truly a solemn experience to go to these places. My son, like your children was deeply touched by it, and I know it is something that he will never forget. Too many Americans have no opportunity to see these things, things like the American cemetery at Saint Laurent is out of reach. They have never seen row on row of crosses to get a true understanding of the price paid by our soldiers. Pictures do not do the place justice. It is something that really must be seen, felt, inhaled, breathed in.....otherwise I think you just have no idea. People in places where these things have occurred have a better idea of many things I think, and many others are quick to forget and quick to want to send our soldiers into harms way again. Living in Tucson I have never had a bomber over my house dropping explosives on my wedding.....but friends of mine in France have, and to hear the stories they tell never cease to amaze me.

    Thank you so much Rob, for dropping here to take a look at my pics and to share your thoughts a bit.
  19. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  20. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I do have friends that have gotten books published. Lorraine Chittock for example, a world traveler, stays at my house occasionally, and she has several books published. I have thought of doing one, but I have a lot more work to do before I am ready to actually put one together. This will of course require many months of doing research and taking pictures.....so when I retire in a few years.....I am 44 now and can get out at 53, I imagine I will get one done. I do not know how much interest there would be in one, but I think there are enough people out there that would have interest in knowing what is out there and how to find it. So if I live long enough.....maybe....

    It is true that there has been so much wasting of life in these places, and I admit I am often overcome emotionally when I am at these places. The older I get, and the more often I go to visit these places, the more I am both bothered and effected by being there. I love France though, and I am truly amazed at both the sacrifice and destruction endured at these times in this beautiful place.

    Even better than a book would be a tour company with a house and ten F650Gs's to take people around on.