Other than a couple of climbs at the start of the day, within a couple of hours I has reached the flat of the Normandy beaches which lasted for just over 50km before the small final climbs into Bayeux.
Just as I got to the beaches west of Ouistreham, I bumped into a chap from Winchester who had set out for a few days with a 13 strong group from the CTC, but who had to cut short his journey after his back wheel had broken and he'd had to seek repair. He had arrived in Ouistreham about 6 hours ahead of the rest of his group before their ferry home later this evening, so was passing the time cycling along the beach. Only a couple weeks out of Portsmouth and I bump into a cyclist from Winchester where I had only been a few weeks earlier when cycling back from Ireland. Small world.
As you might expect, the coastline here is dotted with memorials to fallen soldiers. At one memorial, I met four American guys who were driving to Norway. They had spent the day so far visiting the D-Day beaches and I chatted with them for a while. They were possibly tracing a family history, although we never spoke about the main reason for their journey. One of them had a Masters Degree in Military History so the group essentially had its own personal tour guide. As I took the photo of a row of flags atop their poles, I could overhear them talking about a submarine. "That submarine made it pretty close to shore. It must have made it in this close and then run aground.", one of them said. I had just been where they were standing only a few minutes previous to their arrival and did not remember seeing a submarine. I went back the the sea wall to look at what they were talking about and realised they had been looking at a huge sewage pipe which was extruding into the sea from the ground beneath us. Surely the member of the group with the Masters Degree in Military History would have put them straight about what it was? At very least he must have known that submarines were never made of concrete!
Once I was set up in camp, I had just enough time to cycle off to find the local supermarket and buy dinner - a whole rotisserie roasted chicken and a one litre tub of pistachio ice cream. Perfect! I then trotted over the internet/tv room to use the free wifi and catch up with emails, tweets and the blog. I got chatting with a Dutch lady who was also cycle touring…with a dog! Maybe I could have brought @JasperJRT along with me after all. She was towing a two-wheeled trailer upon which a friend had constructed a cage for "Cindy" (that's the dog) to sit in along the way. They were not travelling quite as far as me though.
|The remains of the Mulberry harbour at Arromanches.|