Friday, May 3, 2024

New Steps and Old Monuments

As I advance in years, my perspective progresses. I attempt to lean not on my own understanding, but to seek wisdom and discernment. On a lighter note, I am working on margin in my schedule for the unforeseen, all the while praying for direction. Why employ this opening to the blog today?

It is often unplanned experiences, side streets, and extra stops that can bring the most joy in life and in travel. Yet still we tend to aim for the main events and major attractions. Why is that the case? Do we have fomo (fear of missing out)? Do we think that because people deem an occasion or site worthy, we must explore the possibility or location? Whatever the reasons, I suggest consideration of alternatives. 

For a writing research trip with Cindy Stewart (former HHH blogger and author of Abounding Hope), we planned months in advance the sites we would visit. As is often the case, our schedule changed. These alterations are some of my favorite portions of the trip. What did I learn? Leave space in life for the unexpected. Be flexible. Above all, abide. This leaves room for God's plans. As I discovered in recent years, His are better than any I could design.

Additional stop #1 on our trip - Amiens, France. This is a small town located just 112 km (70 miles) north of Paris. It is northwest of Caen, which appears in prior posts. Amiens is a magnificent medieval village that offers a cathedral, views of the Somme River, and interesting tidbits to delight history enthusiasts. Oddly enough, it is not listed in the guidebook for France I used. Perhaps less attention lends itself to the quaint ambiance?

Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens featured in the image at top and three below, is a Unesco Heritage Site. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. In fact, two Notre Dame de Paris could fit inside the 200,000 cubic meter structure. It soars 42 m (137.8 feet) in height. Three master builders completed this edifice from 1220 - 1288. The elevation, sculptures, and stained glass allow this cathedral to serve as a model for Gothic architecture. It did influence many Gothic cathedrals built in the succeeding centuries. Notice the intricate and plentiful figures on the exterior. We could not take photos inside. Imagine the beautiful interior or plot a visit to Amiens to peek for yourself.

Key aspects of this monument are additions and alterations over the years that retained the nature of the structure. At the end of the 13th to the beginning of the 14th century, chapels constructed between the buttresses did not affect the interior. Over the proceeding years restorations occurred that offered enhancement. The cathedral survived religious wars, the French Revolution, and for the most part, both World Wars. Listed as an Historic Monument in 1862 and inscribed with Unesco in 1981, this site remains protected for future generations.

Continuing on and strolling through Amiens offers a glimpse into medieval life as well as current adaptions. The Quai Bélu (below) in Saint-Leu once supported the area's milliners, tanners, and weavers. Now, this lively strip serves diners at shoppers. Can you imagine women with baskets over their arms, collecting fish from the monger and produce from the farmers? 

What shoes did they wear on these cobbled streets? What about their clothing? Since the dyers supported this location, did they sport a variety of colors? While little changed in this landscape, attire and goods evolved many times since the 1200s. 

Now for a few whimsical notations, take a gander at this photo at right. "Where everybody knows your name..." 

In the subsequent photos, do you see "L'Homme sur sa bouée?" The Man on His Buoy? As visitors cross le Pont de la Dodane, they observe a statue nestled in the Somme River. Phase one originally made of wood got a makeover and now consists of a more durable option in stainless steel. Stephan Balkenhol, a German artist created the piece in 1991. The Amiens museum team worked to design the updated version. I read a piece stating Amiens students dress him up on occasion for fun. He modeled t-shirts, hats, bags, a buoy (ironically), and even another statue dangling from his shoulders. 

Can you recall a time in your life where the day unfolded contrary to what the calendar required, and the results are cherished memories? Did you take a trip that opened new horizons that were not in the guidebook? Please comment and share your stories.

As a child, Rebecca loved to write. She nurtured this skill as an educator and later as an editor for an online magazine. Rebecca then joined the Cru Ministry - NBS2GO/Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO, at its inception. She serves as the YouVersion Content Creator, with 118 Plans on the app, in 44 languages.

Rebecca lives near the mountains with her husband and a rescued dog named Ranger. If it were up to her, she would be traveling - right now. Visits to their two grown sons would be first. As a member of ACFW and FHLCW, Rebecca learns the craft of fiction while networking with a host of generous writers. 

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  1. Thank you for posting today. I love the pictures you included! Although I can't think of a specific time, with two children and four grandchildren we have learned to be flexible with plans. And while I like to have some sort of plan in mind when we go on an outing, I would like to learn to be more flexible and allow for the road less traveled.

    1. Hello, Connie. Thank you for reading and commenting. Children definitely require flexibility. "The road less traveled." Yes! It is all about balance isn't it?