We had ended up in a random hotel (appropriately named Lens-otel) on the outskirts of Lens. Bad planning the day before, together with some nasty weather and a late start, had found us going round in loops with nowhere to sleep. Although I would have fancied some more adventure, maybe even some wild camping, Lucy treated us to a comfy bed for the night. At 9 am we were back on our bikes, heading straight off out of town in search for the first boulangerie. The route we initially planned looked as below, although we diverted many times due to unpaved roads which were unsuitable for Lucy's skinny tyres.
Being a bank holiday Monday, we feared that not much would be open. But this was France with its fantastic boulangeries. We found the first one along the D937 road, a somewhat busy stretch of road, but with French drivers (that makes a huge difference compared to their British and/or Spanish counterparts!!!). Stocked up on food and carried on for a little while. Shortly afterwards we found an open-air market, where we took advantage of some of the free samples.
|One of many British cemeteries|
|Somewhat reminded me of Arlington, in the US|
Luckily we were travelling at low speed on this bend, and it was not too bad except some bruises. Not too far after this, a second incident struck. A French dog started chasing me. Not really knowing what to do I accelerated, but he kept up and threatened to bite. As I was about to kick him in the nose, he stopped. But then it was Lucy. She stopped when the doggy came up to her and got bitten. Again, luck was with us on the day, and the stupid dog could not bite past her three or four layers of lycra. That was a relief. We need to learn what to do when being chased by a dog, most definitely. After all this stress, we deserved a break in true audax style. Or even better, as we found shelter in a little chapel in the countryside.
|Sheltering away from the rain and cold|
|Our bikies in tour mode|
Although we did try to exchange our tickets for an earlier ferry, the staff were not especially friendly and informed us that it was not possible. Two Scots on a very fancy Honda Goldwing and a trailer had the same problem, so spent some time chatting to them. I also made a decision: when I am old and unable to cycle, I will get one of these Hondas. All those hours past relatively quickly with some French sausage that we had carried as "emergency fuel", together with some french baguette.
|Drying out at Dunkirk port|
|On the ferry back to the UK|
The stats for the trip:
- Overall km: 426 split into 111, 137, 70 and 109 km days
- We did not count the hours nor the other usual data, but at an average of 18 km/h we spent about 7 hours each day pedalling.