Monday, 10 September 2007

Day 2 - Dover - Licques - 51km

In Calais, we travel along the Caps and in particular the Cap Blanche Nez, a truly stunning area, but whoever said that Northern France is flat should try it out on a bicycle. Hill after sodding hill that two unfit old farts with baggage weighing at least 25 kilos per bike, plus a 9 kilo dog, have to go up. I have no pride and get off to push as soon as the going gets tough. Paul steams ahead, without even puffing, but is kind enough to pretend he prefers walking.

The good news is that we do not get lost, manage to do about 50km without dying and arrive in Licques, for our first night of camping.

Up to this point, admittedly not a very distant point, the equipment bought from Lidl has not let us down. The panniers are carrying their load, the saddle pads are carrying theirs, the sleeping bags are surpassing (in every respect) the obscenely expensive ones I had bought from Blacks a few years ago, but the tent must have been designed by a premenstrual pygmy. We put the thing up and laugh - no fly sheet, vertically challenged poles and only just enough space for one pannier.

In the area close by the coast there are ample options for accommodation, but as you move inland the options become fewer. In Licques we found a gîte rural, but as with most of these, the proprietor was not prepared to have visitors for just one night, but we found 2 well equipped camp sites nearby. We chose the one further from the town centre as the signage seemed to imply it had a more substantial brasserrie. Prices, food and facilities were fine as was the welcome.

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