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A family tour - Cherbourg > Ouistreham

Discussion in 'Member's Travelogues' started by hatler, 8 Oct 2016.

  1. hatler

    hatler Veteran

    This is simply the transcript of the journal I wrote up at the time, with occasional additions to clarify whatever nonsense I wrote that I can't now understand, or where my memory is stirred from reading the journal to add in some extra detail. As a result, there will be an almighty tense confusion. I apologise now for that.

    2016 Cherbourg - Caen

    Day 1 - Tuesday August 2nd. As transcribed on the ferry and at our Chambre d'hote that evening.

    SW London - Pompey, Cherbourg - Le Rozel

    Lu and I both awake at 4am. Up at 5.20. Cold shower. Banana. Left at 06.01. Bikes had been stacked on the car rack the night before. Pootle to Pompey. Mild panic as satnav said A3 was closed at Liss. Nothing on Traffic England so we pressed on. Road had been closed for overnight works and we got to the closure point shortly after it had re-opened. Light rain at home. Very moist on top of the Hogs Back and through the South Downs. Took 1h 20m to get there. Offloading very quick thanks to the wonderful new rack. Re-arranged one set of handlebars and applied luggage to the bikes. (Lu has two panniers and a basket, Joe and Izzy both have rack bags and I have two panniers, a handlebar bag and a rack pack.) Queue at the port was perhaps 15 minutes. Light rain again. Met three guys from Nottingham who are heading for Paris. Their train was delayed by four hours so they kipped outside the port rather than knock their B&B host up at 3am. Now 8.30 waiting for Ferry to sail at 09.00.

    Very lumpy run across on the cat. People throwing up all around us. Many simply sitting in their seats and just letting the contents of their stomach heave out. Not pleasant. Brittany Ferries crew were brilliant. Always in attendance, sick bags and buckets and mops in hand. They had to work really hard on this crossing. Their planning even goes as far as turning the heating down before setting sail (warm and fuggy makes people more likely to chuck). After years racing offshore this is something I am mildly resistant to (both the seasickness and the sight of other people heaving). Joe disappeared for a bit and we had to put out a call for him on the tannoy. He had slipped outside with his hood up and I failed to spot him. Izzy not feeling great but she didn’t chuck.
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    In Cherbourg by 13.10 and a very wet and windy France waits ahead of us. Off the ferry and out of the port (including an unnecessary loop around a traffic island where we were faithfully followed by a whole line of cars). Exit from the port is due East. We were flying. Oh dear. We’ll be turning through 180° heading to the West side of the Cotentin peninsula in about half a mile. Into the teeth of a pretty steady F6/7.

    Satnav. What a wonderful invention. It saw us out of Cherbourg and on the right road. But equally I wouldn’t be without a map (thank you @mmmmartin). (I just texted him to say thank you. He is on his way to Nord Kap. We were in heaven in comparison.)

    Story of the day ? Rain and headwind. OMG. Hard work. Constant hard work. No let up. Only about 24 miles but felt like 50. I had a wibbly wobbly route planned to make the most of the quieter (i.e. deserted) roads. (Little white roads on the map as opposed to the hustling bustling yellow boulevards, or so I thought.) Everyone very wet and Lu very cold (it’s August in Normandy FFS - what on earth is going on ??) so we cut down to the straight line route, on a yellow road. Which was as deserted as the littler roads, but more direct and, thankfully, much less up and downy. (Is there a word for that ?) Managed to not find anywhere to eat on the exit from Cherbourg and now we were worried. Cold, wet and very hungry and not a hint of there being anywhere to get some tucker until we were nearly at our destination. Lu was so desperate she ate (no, she wolfed down) a Mule bar. She normally eschews stuff like that.

    Huzzah !! Found a roadside cafe/boulangerie that was open and piled in. Dang. Cafe not open. Kids had a slice of pizza each and Lu and I went for a fougasse (I think it was - sort of like a pizza but with bread). Very welcome, even if it was cold. The front door had the tiniest canopy over it, and if we squeezed close we could just about get out of the rain. There was a bit of passing trade here, and, to a man, everyone looked at us like we were mad.
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    Still lots of ups and downs, but with more consistent gradients than the smaller roads of our earlier convoluted route. Sometimes we were in the clouds. Last climb up to Les Pieux, then down to Le Rozel and finally Sillery. We stood on the doorstep of M et Mme Bigot’s lovely little cottage, and dripped, ever so persistently. Mme Bigot really looked quite concerned, but in a moment had thrown the door open to our accommodation and led us in. She gathered together some wood and lit the wood burning stove, showed us around and then returned with a clothes drier and showed me where the log pile was. The pot of tea I knocked up was possibly the finest tasting tea I had ever had. As soon as we were dry and changed our thoughts turned to supper, and Mme Bigot offered to book us in to the only restaurant within about three miles, only to find out that it was ‘Mussel Night’ and it was fully booked, but they do take away pizzas. It was still pouring so she ran me down there and back (about a mile) in her car so that I could order and pay. And half an hour later her husband popped back to collect the six pizzas. (And yes, there are only four of us, but we’re worth it. And all but half a pizza was gone in the space of about five minutes.) What amazing and lovely people.
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    I sat up late feeding the fire so that we would have dry clothes by the morning. Forecast for Wednesday was more rain, and whilst we all had a change of clothes, we didn’t fancy a second wet day at the end of which all our cycling gear would be wet. (And amazingly, everything did dry, though the cotton socks and under crackers needed a final blast on one of those electric radiators in the morning.)

    And so to bed, clean, dry and warm. Something that had seemed a distant prospect only about four hours earlier.

    (To be continued.)
     
    Last edited: 10 Oct 2016
  2. OP
    OP
    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Day 2 - Wednsday August 3rd.

    Le Rozel - Quetthou

    (We came to the West side of the peninsula for a couple of reasons; to extend the cycling a bit and to spend a bit of time on the coast. Shame we never got to the beach.)

    Awake to the sound of water running down the gutters. Still tipping down.
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    Breakfast is fresh bread with home made jams; rhubarb, fig, apple and blackcurrant. Yum yum. Set off in the rain up a steep but brief hill, having first shoe-horned Izzy into a pair of not-quite-big-enough overshoes.
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    Lu is wet through in a mile and a half - and getting cold. Her ‘waterproof’ top is clearly past its best and has transformed its base material into Absorbotex.

    We keep going to Bricquebec at Mile 10 (conveniently on a join in the map). We find a bar in the town centre and plonk ourselves down, wondering if we wouldn’t have been better doing anything but cycling here, this week. Treat ourselves variously to coffee and hot chocs and then Oranginas for the kids. There’s a lovely friendly and warm atmosphere in the bar. We get chatting to one chap who describes us as ‘courageux’. It’s warm and our body heat starts to dry off our damp clothing. There’s trotting trap racing on the telly. We spend half an hour there which is enough to semi-dry out. Up and out towards Valognes which is nine miles away (and on another join in the map). The rain has definitely eased.
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    Valognes is a bit dead but we find a decent lunch spot and the other three have a really good simple lunch. I opt for the Salade du Terroir. Not much salad, an awful lot of gizzards, liver, smoked duck and lardons. That kept me feeling richly full until bed time (and so rather spoiled the evening meal).

    On leaving it wasn’t raining, and was almost warm, almost sunny. Ten more miles to Quetthou, and things were so lovely we took the quiet slightly wibblier route. On one downhill stretch Izzy managed 32.5, Joe 36.5, Lu 32.5 and me 35 (freewheeling and tucked). The final swoosh down to sea level was a corker.

    We’re staying in a hotelly type thing, more like an American motel really. Old barn for stashing the bikes away. All our damp stuff washed in the shower (trampled underfoot) and then hung out to dry (in the sunshine !!). General mooching and wified to excess (there was no wifi at last night’s stop and the kids are suffering withdrawal symptoms), then to St Vaast for a bit of sight-seeing and supper. Good restaurant again (though the raw egg on Izzy’s Spaghetti Carbonara does rather take her aback) after heading along to La Hougue (a tower just south of the town). After supper we head to the harbour wall for some atmospheric shots in the glorious evening sunshine and a round or two of charades. There are a couple of shapely old wooden boats on the slip and a beautiful old sailors’ chapel.
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    Whilst we sat on the front waiting for a table we had watched the French All-Comers ‘Drive as large a truck as you can find into the middle of a small town’ Finals. Fabulous lack of H&S. People wandering all around and between the manoeuvring travelling-funfair trucks. They were reversing, unhitching, u-turning, everything. No barriers, no marshals. The couple of cops who did appear were completely unphased by the whole thing. Absolute chaos for the traffic. Great fun to watch.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Day 3 - Thursday August 4th.

    Quetthou - La Vienville

    The sun was out and we didn’t have far to go.
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    Pretty much a straight run down the coast. Mostly road with a couple of stretches of gravelly path.
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    Threatening clouds to the right inland and I considered for a moment whether we should hole up in a bus shelter. We didn’t, and when the rain started it went from the odd drip to a full-on deluge in about 30 seconds. We made it into a campsite reception just in time. Sat it out there and ate our sandwich lunch (bought in Quetthou as we left at a boulangerie with yet another amazing display).

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    The flags outside seemed to reflect the UK’s diminished position in the EU.
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    Fun activity planned for today was land-yachting alongside the Musee de Debarquement at Utah beach which I had pre-booked. Today’s run was so short we had time to find the land-yachting spot, then head inland to our accommodation, change and then head back to the beach.

    Joe practising for when he starts audaxing.
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    The chambre d’hôte was beautiful and the Gailledrats were very welcoming. Hydrangeas are a big thing in this bit of France.
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    Wind was behind for the two mile run to the beach. Walked the craft down to the beach and off we go. Wow ! They’re bloody fast. A great lesson in apparent wind. Windsurf style sails, a 2:1 mainsheet with a ratchet block and foot steering. What a blast. Fantastic fun.

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    A slog back upwind to the accom so we keep a reasonable line.
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    Rinse the sand off and then head out up the hill to Sainte Marie-du-Mont for supper. Lots of TdF stuff everywhere. The first stage came through here on the way to the finish at the Musee de Debarquement.
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    The whole landscape is littered with memorials.
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    We sat outside the recommended creperie which was pretty busy. Beautiful evening. Great food. Killer crepes for pudding (but taken inside as the sun had gone behind a building).
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    Fly back down the hill and head for sleep, carefully dodging the affections of Lulu the labrador. We’re in bedrooms separated by studding. This must originally have been a spectacular room with marble fire place (now in the corridor). The shower cubicle doors have been hung so that they slowly open as you are showering. Hair ties provided to keep the doors together.
     
  4. I'm so pleased it warmed up. I was about to report you to social services for putting the kids through that. They looked nithered.
     
  5. OP
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    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    :-) That's the problem when touring with a family. You can't afford to wing it on the accommodation front, so you have to route plan and book accommodation ahead. But then you are committed to doing the trip, whatever the weather. There was no talk of revolution on that first day, but if the second had been a straight repeat I'm not too sure what would have happened.
     
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  6. OP
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    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Day 4 - Friday August 5th.

    La Vienville - La Vienville with a run to St Mere Eglise

    Amazing breakfast. Home made jams and home made yoghurts. Scrummy croissants. We ate everything put before us. Amazing what a bit of exercise does for one’s appetite. The lovely Mme Gailledrat was happy for us to leave our bags in the bike shed for the day which meant we could head for St Mere Eglise unencumbered by luggage. We had hoped to stay here for a second night but they had another booking, so we are staying in a hotel about 500 yards down the road.

    I had told the kids about the parachutist hanging off the church a few months previously and they both said they wanted to see it. Today was meant to be a layday, but by the time we had been to SME and back, and then down to the beach again for more land yachting we had done our typical daily distance of about 25 miles.

    It was a gorgeous day, lighter winds, beautiful back lanes and at every turn there’s the chance of seeing the most amazing old farmhouse - some perfectly maintained, others almost derelict. Cows everywhere along with fields of maize (presumably to feed the cows).

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    In short order we were at SME. Obligatory shot in front of the church. Sarnies. Sit outside Office de Tourisme and eat (we’re all eating masses), and then to the Airborne Museum (something the kids demanded we do). Very impressive. Both kids thoroughly fascinated with the whole thing. Lu adds Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day to her ‘DVDs to buy at a boot fair’ list.

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    Pootle back to the Gailledrats to collect our gear and then 500 yards down the road to the beautiful Le Grand Hard. Run by a Belgian couple. Great room.

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    Land yachting was such fun yesterday that we have booked a second session for this evening. As old hands, the four of us are allowed to set off without the introductory 15 minute chat. We’re flying up and down the course, but it’s a 6pm start and the wind is a bit fluky - occasional sustained puffs followed by nothing. I stop rolling and Joe whistles past, having caught a gust just along the beach and is now creating his own apparent wind. Thirty seconds later and the positions are reversed. I have the satnav with me and clock a max speed of 23.5mph, and that’s not as fast as we were going yesterday.

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    Joe blows it on a gybe (which is a hairy manoeuvre anyway) and capsizes. Aches, pains and bruises result, but this pain is as nothing to the torture of landing on his new phone, which is buggered. The wind eases down and the speeds dwindle. We scoot back to the hotel for supper with the sun sinking towards the horizon.

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    Great evening meal. Joe lucks out with duck confit. Beautiful evening but chilly enough by the time pudding arrived to sit inside.

    Many of the roads in the area are named after soldiers killed in the fighting. Very poignant and a constant reminder of the violence that was so out of place in such a beautiful and gentle environment.

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    Last edited: 11 Oct 2016
  7. OP
    OP
    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Day 5 - Saturday August 6th

    La Vienville - Graignes

    The whole point of going to Graignes was to be near a go-karting track, but on the Wednesday the chap at the karting track finally got back to me following a slew of texts, emails and messages with the bad news that he was complet for the day. Gah !! Not only that but he doesn’t start until 3.30 on Sunday which is much too late for us. Dang. (Still, it did mean we got a second shot at land-yachting.)

    Breakfast at Le Grand Hard was very good indeed (expectations set as a result of the previous evening’s meal were admirably fulfilled). What nice people. Sun already hot by the time we left. More beautiful lanes, the odd hill or two. Joe’s bike has a slow puncture and we stop alongside a beautiful set of farm buildings to take advantage of the shade. The valve stem has parted from the tube. Quickly sorted.

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    This was an everyday occurrence : -

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    We sort of follow my planned route on the SatMap, and occasionally this takes us onto a marked cycle route which isn’t tarmac. I’m fine (2” knobblies) but it raises the odd moan or two from the children on their 23s.

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    Sandwiches from a boulangerie in Carentan eaten outside the Mairie and what looked like an old barracks complete with sentry posts.

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    We drop into the Normandy Tank Museum on the way, which does what it says on the tin.

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    All the way the SatMap has proved invaluable. I wouldn’t be without now for a trip like this, but equally, I wouldn’t be without a map either. The ability to make routes up on the SatMap is very neat, but then again, so is the ability to use the map if we want a different route and can’t face the faff of route planning whilst on the go. The map on the Satmap has contours which helps no end. The 1:100,000 map doesn’t, and I don’t have the 1:25,000 maps for this bit (which do).

    Slight concern about Grainge is where we are going to eat. It doesn’t look very big. Oh well. We’ve managed OK so far.

    On arrival at the Delaunays we are offered a bottle of cidre (yes please !!) and some salty snacks.

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    It’s an old stables.

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    M Delaunay was a trainer. His son is a trainer and his daughter is married to a trainer. That’s trotting racing training. As Joe says, “Why on earth do it like that ? It’s like racing cars in second gear.”

    We ask about somewhere to eat and Mme Delaunay points us at the hippodrome (which we can see from our bedroom window).

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    This window also overlooks a field of sheep and the local graveyard. Very rural, idyllic. After showers and a change we head to the hippodrome. Out of nowhere there seems to be a lot of traffic, and some of it comes complete with horse box trailers and trotting traps in tow. And yes, it’s a race evening. We get to the gate and ask about getting something to eat. Yes, they have a restaurant, but we have to pay to get in. Hmmmm. But at 3€ each for the adults and kids go free it’s a no-brainer. Joe is seriously unimpressed. Upstairs restaurant seems expensive and with a fairly limited choice, so we plump for a Sandwich Americaine Poulet Grille (Lu and me) and the kids have a Barquette de Frites from the stall downstairs. Joe has splurged on his cardboard dish the measliest portion of ketchup he’s ever seen. Cidre and Orangina from the bar and we take our seats to watch the fun. What a bizarre spectacle.

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    (And the building in the background is where we stayed.)

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    Watching it live enables us to answer a question we had following our viewing of the trotting racing in the bar in Bricquebec. Why are the horses followed round the track by an ice-cream van ? Turns out that the pink van is full of judges, we presume one per horse, and it is their job to judge whether or not a horse has broken its trot. The van has an electronic display on the roof and the moment a horse transgresses their number appears and they are disqualified. Watching a jockey trying to stop a horse from galloping really is quite something once they've got the bit between their teeth (never was a pun more appropriately deployed).

    I decide that trying to fathom out how the betting works with my limited French will be too complicated or end in disaster (or both), so instead we run an internal family sweepstake. I’m able to make head and tail out of the programme so we have at least half a clue as to the likely performance of our selections. (Did you know that all horses born in France in any given calendar year have names that start with the same letter, and that the letter for each year is sequential, so a horse that begins with D will have been born the year before a horse whose name begins with E ?) I win the first and Izzy the second. No winners for the next couple but Joe’s horse is pipped on the line so we give him that one. I text an old buddy of mine asking for help. (Not only is he half Swiss-French and married to a Parisian, but also has for brothers a trainer, a bookie and a racing correspondent, and a father who is a horse vet.) His disappointingly unsophisticated advice hinges on two things; the relative weight of the horse and whether it has had a pre-race poo or not, neither of which I have any way of determining. Oh well. We leave with two races still to run, but we can watch those from our bedroom window.

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    The house is, how shall I say, decorated in an older person stylee. A material loo roll holder is a standout, but at least the shower doors stay closed on their own. Fifteen cushions on each bed, square pillows, a duvet and a top sheet.

    A very peaceful night. Clear sky, bright moon, sheep bedding down for the night just below our window having been rounded up and locked in by the shepherd.

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  8. OP
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    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Day 6 - Sunday August 7th

    Grainge - Bayeux

    Good breakfast in a slightly too-full room. Sort of Victorian, but done with late 70s stuff. Lots of flies around. Obv missing the horses or perhaps happy with the sheep. This is a stable building but the Delaunays have retired so there are no horses any more. One of the stables is used as overnight bike storage. I reckon they could store upward of 200 bikes here. Shame the house only has room for about 15 people.

    We set off around multiple twists and turns and ups and downs before we hit the straight road to Bayeux. Somewhere along the way we get passed by a lone Brit tourer on his rather smart Dave Yates. We share the road and chat for a few miles before he turns off, following one of the long distance cycle routes. Nice chap.

    The welcome the Delaunays provided for us yesterday (cidre and salty snacks) was so brilliant that we realised that we should buy stuff towards the end of our cycling day to stave off the (permanent) hunger pangs, which are at their worst immediately after stopping cycling for the day and before we can respectably head for supper. Only problem is, today is Sunday, so no chance of that.

    We stopped in Molay Littry for a pastry injection and partook of this treat in the town square. (Are you spotting a theme here ?)

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    The temptation provided by the bar was too much however, and we slipped in for a cidre. Extraordinarily they didn’t have any, so we had to settle for a beer instead. Got talking to an English couple from Devizes who have a caravan nearby. They pointed us at a boucherie round the corner who were open so we were able to get a post ride snack (quiches).

    Into Bayeux and after a brief stop to eat the quiche next to a watermill we then head for the hotel we stayed in last year, but get sidetracked by a creperie on the outskirts of town. More tucker.

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    Finally get to Le Chateau Bellefontaine. Very lovely. Very comfy. Standard argument over who gets first choice of bed. Olympics on the telly (a succession of French sportspeople losing) and First Aid Kit and Michelle Shocked on the MP3 player. Doors open, sun streaming in, warm, wonderful. Usual arrival routine - clothes off, trample them in the shower, wring dry in a towel and then hang in the sun. Worked every time.

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    Back into Bayeux for supper. We spurned the very good restaurant from last year and ended up in a back-street pizzeria. Not very good. Izzy only managed half and I really struggled to finish mine (which is virtually unheard of). (Izzy’s leftover became my lunch next day, so I had about 24 hours principally fuelled by sub-standard pizza - not good.)

    Back to the chateau and Lu and Izzy manage a bit of tennis. All wonderfully relaxed. Time to chill.

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  9. OP
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    hatler

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    Day 7 - Monday August 8th

    Bayeux - Caen

    8.45 wake up alarm (as every day). Lu is already up (as ever). Fabulous four star brekkie. The pancake maker is still there, along with the silent orange-juicer but, horror of horrors, the egg boiler has gone. However, to make amends, the scrambled egg and bacon is pretty darned good. I think I have just about every available combo except the cheese and charcuterie, which always seems wrong for brekkie, wherever you are in the world. Lu has double helpings of fresh fruit, yoghurt and maple syrup on a couple of pancakes. Yum. The kids hoover up everything in sight. (Did I say we have been eating a lot on this trip ?)

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    We finally have to wrench ourselves away and on to a route to Caen made up at speed that goes North of the main drag (as opposed to the twiddly route I had assembled to the South) so that we can go through Rots, which has both a Decathlon and an Intersport. (Though I completely forget what it was that we were hoping to get there.)

    Straight road, bright sun, stiff following breeze. Beautiful buildings. Beautiful cattle (which match the buildings). Doesn’t get much better than this.

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    We deviate just a tiny bit to visit the British cemetery at Secqueville en Bessin. Simultaneously peaceful and upsetting, ordered and tragic, thankful and humbled.

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    Missed a turning en route so chucked in a corrective turn which ended up taking us down a tree lined avenue to the amazingly atmospheric Chateau de Brecy. Much cafootling to stage a couple of photos. Sadly the chateau’s gardens are not open on a Monday.

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    Shortly after we find ourselves a recently harvested field, and the kids compete in the straw hurdling championships.

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    In Rots we find some sandwiches and look for a picturesque town square to sit, eat and watch the world go by. No town square in Rots, so instead we get to watch a pair of roofers at work.

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    Caen becomes obvious in the distance and we are at the retail park. Whatever it was we were after they didn’t have, nor did we even manage to find an impulse purchase, but at least the Decathlon had free wifi which kept the children amused for a bit.

    After this we were virtually in Caen. A quick left right dodge to get us off the main route and then we were heading straight into the centre. One no-entry road thwarted our direct progress but the joy of having a satnav on the bars meant we were never lost and were able to head straight for tonight’s accommodation, L’Hotel du Chateau.

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    Bikes in the garage. Into the tiny lift (only room for two plus their luggage at a time). Switched into civvies. Leave the children watching the Olympics and Lu & I head for the shops. Crisps, Haribo, cidre, Orangina, Badoit, chocolate. Life’s essentials. Back to the room (which we notice has a BIG vertical, pink flashing neon ‘HOTEL’ sign right outside the bathroom window. The bathroom is a little cramped. It’s impossible to sit on the loo and close the door without spreading your legs. Still, the receptionist was lovely, the room is clean and the bed linen is crisp, very very white and the pillows are rectangular and the duvets are in duvet cases. No top sheets !

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    After three large packets of crisps and all the cidre we drag the children out to walk round the Chateau de Caen - a proper (and massive) medieval castle - once home to William the Conqueror. More gorgeous skies and temperatures.

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    Out for a meal (adventurously) about two doors away. Not stellar but my frites were perfect. Almost had the moules, but calorie-replacement demands override all other considerations.
     

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    sotkayak, Ajax Bay, theclaud and 5 others like this.
  10. OP
    OP
    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Day 8 - Tuesday August 9th

    Caen - Ouistreham, Pompey - London

    An easy day. Didn't want to compromise our ferry return with a long run. Should be 11 miles including a run to the West a bit to see William the Conqueror's tomb at the Abbaye aux Hommes.

    Nice hotel let us leave our bags in the garage so we could have a wander without lugging.

    The Abbaye is suitably impressive and Izzy is appropriately awestruck at standing next to the tomb (even if it does only contain one of his thigh bones).
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    The hotel has given us a guide to Caen, and in the absence of 25 miles of cycling the children are bored and want something to do. Wandering round Caen is given a very definite thumbs down, and a momentary favourite possibility is a maze, but that is abandoned in favour of a go-ape which is roughly on our way to the ferry. I say roughly, but it is actually exactly on our way, but we don't realise this until we have gone round the houses and scared me witless as we look to be rolling down the slip road onto an autoroute.

    Anyhow, back to the hotel. Collect bags, final wee and set off up hill. Stop !! Boulangerie alert. Sandwich stock up. Macaroons for Izzy. Rolling again.

    Go ape. Very good and very good value. Literally just off the riverside route between Caen and Ouistreham. Sadly there's not enough time now for the full set of courses (one for next year). The kids skip round two routes and we head for Ouistreham alongside the canal.

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    Past Pegasus Bridge, a brief celebration of 200 miles clocked up, and then a quick deviation to the Carrefour for more Haribo (we got the wrong ones in Caen) and a bottle of pommeau.

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    We are about at our capacity limits. I keep threatening Joe that next year he will be on a tourer with a full set of panniers.

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    Roll down the hill and into the queue. Directed to the front and we are onboard five minutes later. Due no later than 3.45 we got there at 3.30.

    Onboard to take the sun and watch a lone car appear at the gate two minutes after they've finished loading. They've got a long wait ahead of them.

    Incident free run across the Channel in glorious sunshine, only slightly spoiled by being held up until the very end of unloading. Back to the car to assemble the bike jigsaw on the rack and scoot for home.

    What a week !

    Just the washing to do now.

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    And the chance to revel in our booty.

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  11. TinyMyNewt

    TinyMyNewt An execrable pun

    Location:
    South coast, UK
    Lovely travelogue @hatler, I really enjoyed reading it :smile:.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    hatler

    hatler Veteran

    Thank you for that. I had fun putting it together. And I'm already looking forward to next year's instalment.
     
  13. ransos

    ransos Legendary Member

    I'm looking forward to reading it!
     
  14. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Legendary Member

    Fantastic. Thank you!
     
  15. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    Location:
    Wirral
    I enjoyed reading that. I'd love to do the sand yachting.