We’ve had splendid weather, all this riding east is putting our right shoulders and legs in some serious sunlight from the south! What an interesting tan we’ll have by the end! Normandy has not proven to be as flat as I assured Joel all of France was… but… the Norman architecture is beautiful!
I’m currently sitting in a forest about 50k North of Paris, typing on my fancy-pants macbook air –only 1kg; I couldn’t resist!–, (it feels very odd, I feel like I should be etching the blog into a piece of bark or something!) whilst Joely cooks our dinner of quinoa pasta, pesto, eggs and veggies, yum! Who says life on the road is tough? We’ve just had a shower from one of our wonderful Ortlieb water bags hooked up in a tree (some might say chilly, we say invigorating), and the birds are singing as the final golden glimmers of sunshine permeate the leafy wall of trees to the West. Big Agnes is up (she’s our tent; for those of you yet to have had the pleasure) and our cosy little beds are made in her zipped up womb within. Joel’s sipping some local Calvados and spraying olive oil on the pasta he’s put aside in a zip-bag for tomorrow’s lunch. A tiny frog is making a bee-line for my shoes and Joel just shh-ed the sizzling stove; fearing it might give our stealth camping location away.
So… Today was day 7 of riding, and our legs are shaping up nicely. Today, after a supermarket stop, a huge hill, and to our horror; a very recent car crash (2 x ambulance, 1 x police car, a girl lying on the side of the road surrounded by paramedics) we hit what seemed to be a plateau (it wasn’t, just the beginning of many a hill) and a head-wind; which remained all day, but did little to dampen our spirits as the freedom of being on the road (and being a non-smoker in Joel’s case) set in. Ipods went in as we sailed down hillsides through avenues lined with wheat-fields specked with wild poppies, and up the other side. We managed about 70k, which we felt was good progress considering the conditions.
Last night we stayed in Les Andelys, just on the East-side of Normandy, and opted for a 3* campsite, L’Isle des Trois Rois, rather than wild-camp; the thinking being that it might be a little dangereux in the woods, considering ow zee French love to ‘unt of a Dimanche matin. I pleaded with the man in my finest Francais to let us stay for a better price than €21, saying we didn’t fancy taking part in the soirée dansante and nor did we need électricité; to which he concluded, offering to charge us for one person seulement. He gave us instructions to our plot, a well hidden one (in case the boss came a-wandrin’ in the morning). The little map, however didn’t seem to correspond with reality so, exhausted and fed-up, we opted for a spot right in the middle of a gorgeously empty big green space. It wasn’t long after Agnes was up and we were ready for a plunge in the pool (a luxury Joel was most excited about) that monsieur came past on his little cart and shock horreur; we’d pitched her far too conspicuously! We decamped with a dull acceptance, dragging Aggy across the field. I enjoyed a private yoga session in our new found hedge-hidden location, whilst Joely cooked up another well-received treat.