02 July 2011

Suffolk and Norfolk Coast Mini-Tour: Part 3: Day 2 Mundesley to King's Lynn

We got as early a start as we could on Day 2 because we knew it would be a hot one. The forecast was for at least 30 C (86 F) if not hotter. We had a proper English breakfast at the B&B and headed out onto the roads. We had been very excited to leave behind the terrible yellow-loving flying beetles of the day before, but we soon learned that there were other bugs waiting for us! These little things stuck to our skin, but died quickly (due to sweat or sunscreen) and then just remained there all day. We would wipe them off periodically, but pick up more the next time we would ride at speed.

Yep, all those little black things are bugs!

We took quiet lanes as much as possible, but after Runton we briefly had to go on the A149. It is always scary to go on main roads, but fortunately it was downhill, and we both managed to hit about 46kph (28mph), so we kept up with traffic somewhat. We turned onto quiet roads after that which gave me an opportunity to practice taking pictures of Alberto in motion. Something tells me he will remain primary photographer of our rides...

The day was starting to heat up, and we got a taste for what would lie ahead when we turned into Sheringham to check out the beach...hundreds of Brits arriving at the seaside on a hot summers day. After Sheringham we turned inland for a while, which was probably a good thing given the traffic near the coast. We cycled to Baconsthorpe Castle, a National Trust site that Alberto had read about, and had a snack as we briefly explored the ruins of this manor house from the 1400s.

Baconsthorpe Castle

We continued inland for a while longer, riding through quiet country lanes, many of which had pretty good shade so we did not necessarily notice how hot it was starting to get! The kilometers passed pretty quickly, although I started to get hungry when we were about 10km out of Wells-next-the-Sea, where we planned to stop for some food. When we finally arrived at Wells-next-the-Sea, our final coastal town, it was PACKED. We didn't even make it to actually see the ocean, which was a few kilometers away from the town. Alberto had some fresh cockles and we bought sandwhiches at a cafe, but we didn't stick around long due to all the crowds and the fact that the heat was intensifying.

Eating cockles

We turned inland for the final time, and it was brutally hot. There was very little shade and I just couldn't seem to drink enough water to stay hydrated. At the first small bit of shade we found, I stopped to take off my leg warmers which I had been wearing all day to avoid having to worry about sunscreen on my legs. This only helped with the heat marginally. We had to keep moving because it was too hot to stay in one place!

We eventually turned on to roads lined by well kept fields with trees in the distance. What a nice change of scenery! A few minutes later we realised we had just entered the Sandringham estate, owned by the Queen! We knew we were very close to King's Lynn so we decided to stop and rest in the shade by the entrance to Sandringham House, near the gift shop. We rested in the shade, had a snack and plenty of water, and left with enough time to make the next train out of King's Lynn.... or so we thought!

About 10 minutes after of Sandringham I got the puncture from hell. This was such an awful puncture that we are devoting another whole post to it very soon! Luckily, we were in the shade, but suffice to stay we spent the better part of 45 minutes trying to sort it out. When we finally got it fixed, we hurried on to King's Lynn to try to catch the *next* train (half an hour from the one we had been aiming for). We made it with about 8 minutes to spare, only to miss the train due to some confusing signs on the platforms!! Another 30 minutes later, we finally got on the train. If there was any reluctance to head back to London after a weekend of mini-touring, the last few hours certainly helped us see that we were ready to get back to normal life for a while!

Shortly before the puncture from hell!

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