Saturday 16 July 2011

London to Paris – on a bike– Day 2 - Coquelles to Abbeville

Our first day in France and we have a 75 mile journey ahead of us.  Yes I ache, yes my knee hurts as if I've been 'knee-capped', but at least it isn't raining.

Breakfast was typically French: bread, jam, fruit - not ideal if you are wheat intolerant, as I am.  We set off at 8.00 a.m. with a strong wind against us remembering to ride on the right-hand side of the roads.  We met up with the others who were staying at a different hotel and had our briefing before heading south towards Desvres and our first water-stop of the day.  This is a delightful market town famous for ceramics.

Remember to keep right            

08.14 a.m.

08.25 a.m.
08.40 a.m.
08.44 a.m.

09.38 a.m.

We continued along the winding roads through the beautiful French countryside and along the Canche River valley.  

10.35 a.m.

11.11 a.m.  

 11.29 a.m.       

12.26 p.m.

We had a lunch stop near a village called Maintenay.  The Artois region is amazing.   
We were close to where the Battle of Agincourt
took place and the town of Hesdin has fabulous architecture.

12.51 p.m.

14.06 p.m.
14.57 p.m.

15.10 p.m.

Arrival at Abbeville at 4.00 p.m. 
Abbeville was destroyed in World War 2 in one night and is now absolutely beautiful.

I had cycled alone today as I was feeling physically and emotionally drained.  After peddling for 77 miles I was exhausted and would have swept past the Hotel Mercure had two of the Skyline reps. not called out to me .  I was the first to arrive - by about 2 hours!

This hotel is beautiful, clean and comfortable

I took the opportunity to chill out in my lovely room for a while, then went for a wander around  Abbeville town all on my Jack Jones and returned later for dinner with my fellow cyclists.  The food was good, although there was very little that was gluten free.  - I did get a complimentary glass of cider though as they forgot to serve it in the bar and then brought it to me in the restaurant. 

And so to bed  after another gruelling day.  Tomorrow - The Somme and 70 miles of beautiful French countryside to enjoy on the next leg of the journey.