May 09, 2012
Leaving Peronne on Wednesday morning, we began a long day on the Canal du Nord. Rather featureless, but nonetheless an engineering achievement, the most notable moment was our passage through the 1km long tunnel called La Panneterie. Late afternoon we arrived in Noyon and made the lengthy walk into the historic town centre. The scene of many battles down the ages, Noyon still has character, and its cathedral, peppered with bullet and shrapnel marks, still evokes a powerfully medieval atmosphere.
We spent the night on a riverside factory wharf, together with several working péniches. It was the complete antithesis of a tourist setting, and the timeless sense of river-borne commerce was made all the more vivid when the péniches began loading tonnes of wheat the following morning.