Saturday, 17 July 2010

Swiss Roll - Day 0 - On my way...

Waved off by Clare and Oscar at 10.30 this morning on my way to Dunkerque to start the ride tomorrow morning. Of course, the rain started on cue, but it's only a shower.

Rode the few miles into Birmingham to catch the train to London along my least favourite stretch of road - the French roads will be far more enjoyable.

The train is delayed, so I arrive in London Euston 15 mims late, but luckily I've left enough time to get to St Pancras to catch the fast train to Dover. And it is fast, racing along the Eurostar track in just over an hour.

Text James and he is making good progress too, so far, on his cross-Europe train marathon - he's on the TGV from Strasbourg to Paris. It's already his third train journey of the day. He just needs to catch the Paris-Arras and Arras-Dunkerque trains now and he'll be home and dry...

On the train, I get talking to a retired American guy who is about to accompany a friend who is swimming the Channel - although he will be in a boat...


Arriving at Dover


Very easy to get the bike onto the ferry, there's a specially-marked route and I'm one of the first on - and there are bike stands too.

Crossing fine, sunny and only a gentle roll. Arrive on time at Dunkerque ferry terminal, but realise after miles of cycling that it is nowhere near Dunkerque itself. In fact it takes me a good hour to cycle to the hotel on the other side of the town at Malo-les-Bains, a 19th Century resort, which makes it at least 10 miles.

But the hotel is fine and we have a room with a balcony overlooking the sea - although the 2nd bed is definitely James-sized.

The restaurant is lovely too - specialite de la maison is moules. How can I not have that so close to the sea?!


The view from the restaurant


James arrives at 10.30, 20 minutes late thanks to a delayed train, and just as the restaurant is locking up. We dump his stuff and head out for a quick nightcap.

Here's a video of the day:

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