Day 2 ended well with a couple of pints on the Ferry before I turned in to my cabin. It was about midnight I think when I finally turned the lights out. Whilst having a beer, I don’t know why but a started thinking about the Zebrugge disaster. Just how did that ship turn over? That was a bad move. I fell straight asleep – despite the fact that the bed was less than 2 foot wide – but during the night, every time there was a bump, an unusual “land based” movement or the ship just moved a little too much with the sea, I woke up.
It felt like I got to sleep again about 5 am UK time but what I didn’t realise about these night crossings is that they get you up by playing an alarm into the cabin that you can’t turn off. It was some sort of medieval tune – I can’t imagine why – it was just like Heidi Hi – without Ruth Maddock. It was an early start to the day as a result but I was soon walking off the boat and through to passports. I popped to get some cash and while I was inside the heavens opened. It was about 8.10 by now.
I cycled off and was soaked within 5 minutes and remained so for the rest of the day. The garmin was driving me round the bend, beeping in annoyance because I was off course. I followed my nose and went to the nearest “centre Ville” and found a cafe to shelter – and have coffee. I must have found “Le Wetherspoons”. At about 8.45 some blokes were already having half’s of lager and putting their bets on at the PNU terminal (I think that’s what it’s called).
I looked at the map and headed in the direction of the course (which is what Garmin call the route). By chance I stumbled upon Pegasus Bridge. I remember this from a film that I’d seen. Pegasus Bridge for details.
I carried on at a leisurely pace along the river to Caen. The cycle paths were fantastic and we could learn a lot from the French in this respect. Throughout the day, I kept thinking about “Fury” (if you haven’t seen it – get it and also saving Private Ryan. Parts of Normandy are really exposed. The wind whistles across the really open fields. Any advancing troops would have been seen for miles.
I kept seeing these signs “Suisse Normandy”. Suisse must mean something else here I thought but after the 6th “Alp” I began to catch on. They were long climbs and quite difficult in parts. They certainly seemed longer than Snows Hill from day 1.
I decided to keep going. After a crap nights sleep it would have been easy to stop. I stopped for lunch in a lovely hotel in a village called Saint-German-du-Crioult. Everyone else was dressed for lunch. I sat in the corner soaked right through and starting to stink like a dead fox does on the side of the road.
The afternoon was a little better in the legs but still quite alpine in my opinion. I can ‘t wait to get to the long flat days from Royan (providing there is no headwind that has plagued me for 3 days now).
After a long 3 mile straight I could see Domfort perched on top of a steep hill. Up I went only to find out that my hotel was at the end of the 3 mile straight. I was too knackered to realise. It had rained for the majority of the day and my rain coat that I’d nearly left behind had been off and on (mostly on) all day. I’d discovered muscles in my arse that I’d only used previously whilst riding a motorbike in the wet. Somehow you use whatever you can to hold on and keep the bike upright. It was quite twitchy at times and I slowed down a lot on the descents. The days time was really slow as a result of the ups and downs but better safe than sorry.
The hotel is OK. They are drying my minging kit that has had the travel wash treatment. Let’s hope it’s ok in the morning. Having a wet arse all day is no fun. No wonder toddlers cry when their nappies are wet through.
Apart from sampling the hotels Kronenburg, I’m going to replan tomorrow. I can’t stand another alpine stage in the wet!! Let’s hope I get a better nights sleep. Chateau Gontier tomorrow!