Au revoir . . Coutance to Cherbourg and home to Poole

We pottered off a day early from Chateau Perron so that we could have a leisurely last ride and set a more relaxed pace for the last 2days!
Another really warm day for a terrific send off. We will not forget the sound of 40 plus bikes crunching the gravel or the sight of so many colourful varieties of kit.

Thanks to the French opening hours we stopped for our lunch only 5k south of Periers in St. Sauveuer de Lendelin. . . such a pretty little village. . . and then I for one remembered too late the disadvantages of digestive energy fleecing the leg muscles of anything remotely resembling willing action. We groaned out onto tiny lanes and with dogged perseverance in hot sun, and many stoppings, navigated our way to Coutance. My map is a lovely cycling map, but with not quite enough detail to avoid some guessing and finger crossing. For Ollie to have to slow to less than 20kph is a genuine hardship, so on Friday he had the patience of a saint while he waited for me to fumble with map, compass and glasses several times over.

My cautious planning all came together though, when our B and B appeared as if by luck on the roadside without even having to look for it and better still, our little room had a BATH. .
Ingrid in reception did us a huge favour by persevering on the phone until she spoke to a ‘real’ person who confirmed that our bikes could travel with us the next day on the small local train.
This meant that instead of a weary trip to the station with a tired boy, we could have a gentle stroll up into the town and admire the magnificent hill top cathedral in the golden evening light.

Saturday morning saw us smoothly operating as we manhandled the bikes into the wrong carriage to then be told to remove them to the front of the train between stops for a 13 minute journey to our station change, where we were getting off anyway 😦
I wasn’t in the mood to manage any quick-thinking or charming negotiation but it seemed a rather inflexible demand on a near empty train.
Lison was a delightful village to wait for our Cherbourg connection and then all of a sudden a more supportive guard motioned us to an earlier train so up the deep steps and in we went with great speed and efficiency as though we were old hands!

Cherbourg was a little more long winded as I left the station heading south instead of north . . . a common error when tired. You could say it was all a cunning plan to spread the several hours of waiting, but it wasn’t.

In the end we had a great lunch beside the market where we were this time charmingly requested to move our bikes again. I didn’t quite understand the rapid explanation, but it all became clear when high pressure street washers with high pressure hoover lorries came round with the speed and agility of dodgems to mop up after the market. Our bikes would have been propelled across the square by jets of water!
‘Mais Monsieur, maintenant qui va laver nos vélos?’ To which I was ceremoniously handed a tiny white napkin. French men really do have a certain somzeeng!

Every picture tells a story.
I think it has been quite an amazing time with an awesome boy. You should have seen us at the head of all the ferry traffic, in the dark with blazing lights and Ollie, cool as a cucumber cycling down the ramp as the cars passed us on the now unfamiliar right shoulder.
He was asleep almost before he leant back in his car seat.

We did it!

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The big send off

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We pick up an outrider

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The beautiful cathedral in Coutances

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and the lovely early morning market on our way to

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The station

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At LAST. . . a sorbet!

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Communion with a little red dragon? or perhaps even awesome boys get weary. .

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Le Manche. . . not far to go

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Waiting for the ferry ramp

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Team Quick (quick-slow) in that order.

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One Response to Au revoir . . Coutance to Cherbourg and home to Poole

  1. `beverley says:

    What a wonderful experience for you both. A real ‘breathing-in’ of France and a significant achievement. I would like to come next time but fear you would need a tow rope. Perhaps on Ollie’s? MIGHT slow him down a bit. Welcome back home. Bev X

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