When I cycled into Verdun I was expecting just doom and gloom from its tragic history from the war. Instead I arrived during the climax of the Venetian Carnival, and I even managed to get a snap with Wilson and two extravagant costumed participants by the river. In Verdun I spent two nights with my host Cecelia and her flatmates, and on the day off borrowed her bike to explore the battlefields. It proved to be a scary day off with a racing bike which felt so unstable after the fully laden Wilson (I nearly fell off at least five times), and my rest day ironically brought a huge climb up to Fort Douaumont. The sites were just incredible, especially seeing the numerous towns that have remained abandoned since the war, as well as getting inside Fort Douaumont.