Dave and I were very excited to be returning to Abbeviille, in the Somme region, which we called home for 7 months in 1999. We were especially looking forward to catching up with old friends, with whom we had established strong relationships during our time here.
The town itself, seemed a lot bigger and busier than we remembered. It was well and truly bustling at 5pm on a Saturday which 15 years ago, meant that everything had been shut for 3 hours, not to reopen until Monday. There were some memory provoking parts about the town, although to be honest, at lot has escaped our memory in 15 years.
We were merely hoping to go out for a bite to eat with our potte, Jorge, but instead he and his lovely partner Nathalie, invited us to their home for lunch.We spent a very enjoyable afternoon talking about old times and getting to know Nathalie and her son, Alex. James and Abbie were very well behaved and patient, despite not understanding a word of the conversation going on around them for the afternoon. Fortunately though, Abbie very quickly befriended their pet turtle and James had a conversation in English with Alex and had a kick around with this football outside with Jorge.
On our way out, Jorge took us past the old presbytère in Rue Saint-Gilles, where we used to live and wow, had it been jazzed up! Almost disappointing to see this lovely old building now with a bright red door and funky decoration.
We ventured then to Saint-Valery sur Somme to find an aire for the night. This is also the town where Dave used to work when we lived. Again, busier than we remembered but very pretty with lots going on. We enjoyed snuggling in for a storm for the night after a very hot afternoon and then a pleasant stroll through the markets the next morning.
Sunday meant back to Abbeville via a coffee at Dave’s former workplace Le Cap Hornu. Then back to Abbeville to meet up with Jorge for a tour through the school where he works, and I worked as an assitante for 7 months. A very nostalgic visit and memories of a special time spent here.
Then it was time for our 2nd invitiation ( 2 in one weekend!!!) to our dear friends, the Dallerys, who live on a farm just outside of Abbeville. I used to tutor the son, Alexandre, who is now 28 years old, married and expecting a baby (!) and the lovely daughter Cassandre stayed with us in Sydney a few years back. Alexandre, his wife Hélène and Cassandre had come all the way from Amiens and Lille to spend a Sunday night with us at their family home. Valérie and Manu had not changed a bit and as always, their hospitality was so very warm and welcoming. We had a gorgeous evening in gorgeous company and 15 years hadn’t made one bit of difference to how we got along… except for the fact that I could share an apéro with Alexandre! We then stayed in our van on their property before heading towards Belgium the next day.
A visit definitely worth making. Friends forever, c’est sûr!