Today was the first real cycling day of this trip. I thought I was being kind to myself and starting with a nice easy day. That turned out not to be the case. Leaving the hotel in good time after a slightly disappointing breakfast I was optimistic about the days riding. The Yellow weather warning winds had come and gone in the night doing no more damage than knocking over a few signposts and the forecast for the day, other than windy, seemed like perfect cycling weather – mid teens degrees and no rain. I found out very quickly how false my optimism was.
Leaving the shelter of the town the wind soon kicked in. It was blowing steadily and gusting strongly from the south West – the very direction in which I was to spend the day travelling. I’m sure to some of the lycra clad Road warriors with no luggage it would have been fine. For me though, my wind profile was slightly different. I had two large panniers sticking out with around 15kg of gear. All the sleek lines and grace of a pregnant warthog.
The morning, despite being hard work pedalling into the wind, was ok. I managed to make enough progress to be confident of hitting my target by mid afternoon. It must have been around Lunchtime when I came up with a new word for a state of being – “Googlemapped” ; the state of being done over by Google maps into blindly following its directions down a small “Road” and then finding yourself trying to get your fully laden touring bike through stuff like this;
That is not what my bike was designed to ride over! Still, I pushed on over the rolling countryside of Northern France and rolled into Boulogne-Sur-Mere at around 3.30 pm. Thoroughly shattered by having spent most of the day pedaling into the wind.
The hotel for the night (The Metropole) is somewhat basic, but it has the necessary. A bath and a bed! I took to the bath for at least an hour, leaving a grubby tide mark on it from the French countryside. By the time I was clean I was really in the mood for a steak so I ventured out and wandered up to the walled old town. This is the prettiest part of the city, but also the most touristy so the restaurants can be hit or miss. I figured as I was in the largest fishing port in France that perhaps I should forego the steak and get some seafood! Started with a delicious onion soup which looked like dishwater and followed that with a huge bowl of mussels.
By the time I’d finished that lot I was done for the day and wobbled back down the hill to my hotel to test out the bed in the hope of brighter, less windy conditions in the morning.