After our rather overly fancy dinner at our hotel (think Travelodge, in an industrial park, but with a swanky restaurant), we realised that although we could easily make the last 90km to Le Havre for the night ferry, it was actually sold out for the next few days. We needed an alternative! After a swift spot of googling, we decided on taking the Caen ferry and accordingly Joanne altered the route on Strava. With the itinerary now showing 150km with between 600-700m climbing, sleep suddenly seemed more attractive!!
The alarm bellowed crossly at 6:45 and we packed, ate some rather flat apricot brioches (they had been packed under the water bottle..) and set off promptly at 8. Évreux is not laid out to be bike-friendly and was a slight nightmare to leave the chaos of ringroads and one-way systems surrounding the industrial park! Nevertheless, we made through and even had a chance to see the famous Cathedral, and set on our way on our first day of gloomy weather. The forecasthad predicted the bad weather, so we had packed up well and stowed everything in our panniers. Despite the dreary weather, we left in high spirits singing and inventing various silly songs!
Today was definitely a food-themed day, as Joanne realised it was easier for Zara to remember the place-names if they were linked to familiar items. We therefore passed through Emmental (Emanville) , Branflakes (Branville) and Port (Portes).
We stopped to check directions in Emanville but made the error of pausing outside a boulangerie. The freshly-baked pain-au-chocolat were too good to ignore, and then whilst sitting outside we felt optimistic enough to book a hotel in Ouistreham and then the ferry too! With over 100km left to go and various aching body parts, lunch and the thought of getting to the coast were two large motivating factors especially when trundling up some of the remaining hills.
Lunch stop called in Ouivilly sur Vicomte outside the town hall, which also turned out to be a school. We made a mess as usual – Zara ended up with the cream cheese smeared in her hair – and Joanne succeeded yet again in convincing Zara it was her turn for bin duty! How convenient…!!
We had quite a few speedy descents in the late afternoon, which were rather satisfying. Not quite as good as that fantastic evening speeding down the 9km in Bregenz, but still excellent and exciting!
When we saw the sea, there were obligatory ‘i can see the sea’ calls before we realised that we have made it across to the coast!
About 20k from the hotel away, Joanne was complaining of a lack of steering, and accusing Zara of sabotage, which was this time unjust as it turned out to be our first puncture! We made hard work of getting the tyre off and an old man decided to take over before keenly showing us his illegal homemade e-bike!
We then continued on and cycled across the bridge into Ouistreham!
Tomorrow is ferry crossing day!