Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saturday 15th April - Just say GGGggrrrr to National Holidays


What a day.

It rained for most of the day. My legs were tired and the bike felt sluggish. Dgym was having problems with sticky brakes and gears not shifting quite right. We stopped for lunch at Fauville only ten miles on from Bolbec, and ate camembert and ham with bread, and lovely juicy tomatoes which I'd bought at the market that morning. Dgym got his gears a bit more sorted, while I managed to scrape off enormous chunks of black stuff from my rear derailleurs. I really should have cleaned my bike before we left - the stuff was so solid, I thought it was part of the mech.

The hills rolled gently across the countryside between Le Havre and Dieppe. We have spent the past day and a half inland, cutting off the "nose" of which Le Havre is the tip. It's hillier than it was a few days ago, but not horribly so. The worst part of the day was the rain - I was pretty damp by the time we reached Dieppe and there was a lot of standing around looking at maps or getting chips, or crawling along trying to find open hotels / tourist offices, I ended up a bit cold and shivery so dgym got me out of my damp stuff into warm thermals, fleece, etc.

As dgym will tell you, we had a horrible time trying to find hotels, and very soon stopped caring whether any of them had wifi - every hotel was full. We started to consider other options - camping in a parking space, trying to get an overnight ferry to Newhaven... and eventually decided to take our chances further down the coast. We'd hoped the city would offer us the best chances of finding open stuff over the weekend, but apparently not. So we rode out of town, figuring at least out in the country there'd be a bit of grass on which to pitch a tent, if nothing else. The first town we came to had a chambre d'hotes which was closed, and a campsite which was for caravans only, and wouldn't let us pitch - but they suggested we try the one two towns away. Which we very nearly did... we reached Berneval-le-Grand, stopped off at a shop and picked up some food to keep us going, before heading off in the direction of the campsite to pitch up before it got dark, only to stumble across one final hotel... which turned out to have a room - a pretty decent cheap room too, and an excellent restaurant.

So right now we're warm and stuffed full of good food, not shivering in a dark tent with a sliced loaf and a Camembert for company.

Not quite sure where we're headed tomorrow, as we've run out of map. But we're back on the coast again, so I guess we'll just keep following it up towards Calais.


Today we cycled from Bolbec to Dieppe, and it was ok apart from the rain. I felt pretty darn sodden on the outside, including hands and face, but the waterproofs kept the rest of me dry. Hel wasn't so lucky, her jacket is old and leaky and she was quite wet by the time we got to Dieppe. After an emergency change of clothes and emergency portion of chips we were all set to find out for ourselves that there were no rooms left in any of the obvious hotels. Many of the restaurant/hotel combos havn't opened the hotel bit yet as it isn't quite the season, and the tourist office was shut by the time we got there. For that I would like to blame a very annoying hotel clerk for refusing to tell me where the tourist office was even though that hotel had no rooms and it was just two streets away. He insisted that the hotel down the road would have rooms and that I really didn't need to go anywhere else so why give me the requested directions. We later tried that hotel to find it was also full. In order to find the tourist office we had to use a cybercafe, google told us it was just around the corner from where we were 10 minutes ago. We got there just in time to see the doors get locked.

So ggrrr to people unwilling to help a person in need, ggrrr to national holidays that ensure every open hotel in an entire city is fully booked, and ggrrr for this all happening on the wettest day we have had yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great to hear its all going well despite la pluie, and its good to have bulletins from Grey Mouse too.