My Travel Blog

Photos Beat Poetry Every Time in Soisson

Our journey from Compiegne to Soisson took us up the Canal Lateral al’Aisne.  For most of the passage the canal was the Aisne River.  Like the story of the three bears it’s neither too large or too small.  It’s just right. The stretch of river to Soisson was as pretty as any I have seen.  Unfortunately pictures don’t do it justice.  Surrounded by lush greenery, and an abundance of bird life, nature’s chorus serenaded us as we cruised up stream. The white cotton ball clouds reflected off our liquid highway were beyond words.  Do we really need anything more to confirm why our adventure on Rabelo is a living dream? I was actually thinking of taking a stab at poetry to describe the visual sensations we’ve been surrounded by. Unfortunately all my poems start with, “Roses are red.” So much for my poetry…

How do you get a 130 ft. boat down that narrow canal?

We visited Soissons 12 years ago, and had enjoyed it.  Our first destination was the local museum.  People have been living continuously in the area for over 5,000 years.  I particularly enjoyed seeing how mankind had advanced over these past five millennium.  We then went upstairs to see the museum’s art collection.  It wasn’t exactly to my taste.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t want any of their art hanging in my home.  After the museum we went to the cathedral where a wedding was just finishing up.  Lisa took it upon herself to take all the pictures the bride could possibly want. The cathedral was impressive.  As a retired general contractor I look at these incredible edifices and wonder how you bid on a project that is going to take over 100 years to complete.

I told him he needed a haircut.

The happy bride and groom.

Inside the cathedral.

I believe this is what the cathedral looked like after WWI.

After the cathedral we walked over to the Saint Jean des Vignes Abbey.  It may be one of the coolest ruins in France.  Started around 1220 the original church was almost 265 ft. long. Unfortunately sometime around 1830 most of the church was demolished.  All that is left are two magnificent towers with their needle sharp spires poking the clouds.

I love this entrance. Too bad the rest of the church is gone.

Some of the abbey’s main buildings are still standing.  While we were there one was being used as a practice hall for a jazz band.  We went down into the crypt and found a couple of leftovers from an earlier era.

When visiting crypts you never know what you’ll run into.

 Soisson is famous for its story of the vase.  Apparently every French school child knows this story.  It’s sort of like American kids know the story of George Washington cutting down the apple tree. I won’t bother reciting it here, but you can look it up online.

The story of the Soisson Vase.

I guess our tastes don’t change much over time.  Normally I don’t take many pictures of the homes along the canals.  While we pass many beautiful estates they don’t interest me that much.  Apparently this house was special.  I took the following picture this year, but what I find so strange is that twelve years ago I took a picture of the same house.  The house is not all that special.  We’ve certainly seen much grander homes.  The grounds are nice, but once again they’re not particularly special.  So of all the homes we have seen along the canals why did I pull out the camera and take a picture of this one?  The only logical conclusion is that it is the product of a sick mind.  But if you have read any of my books you already knew that ;).

Why this home?


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.