Saturday 5 September
We’re under Starters orders……and we’re off !
We set off today at 1.00 after Jane had done her magic on the last of her clients who were craving their beauty fix before she waves Bon Voyage for 3 weeks.
Arriving at Dover shortly after 5.00 we were pleased to see it is still possible at the moment to park on Marine Parade although I think there are less legal spots to take. Dover council have been discussing withdrawing the privilege for the last 12 months but have not implemented any changes yet.
We had a gentle stroll into the main street of Dover which is pretty pants really but we know a good small pub which does some really good beer called the Port of Call. Alas on arriving there we find it is closed just for this night and reopens tomorrow. Bummer !
Heading further into town we find another Micro bar called Lanes which only sells British beers, ciders and wines. I have a very nice stout called The Merchants Ale from Canterbury Ales and Jane has an English Dornfelder red wine which she really liked. On recommendation of the landlord of Lanes we keep heading uptown to an Italian restaurant opposite the Town Hall who decline to take us as they are fully booked. Luckily almost next door is a restaurant called The Allotment which may sound like some body with a flat cap & whippet owns it, but the food is superb. I have Pork in Cider and Jane has Andulucian Lamb. Both were delicious as well as the deserts of Meringue with plums and Baked blueberry cheesecake. Yum Yum ! We highly recommend it to any of our readers who may be down this way. (yes I know its quite a way for my Aussie friends & family to come ! )
After sating our ravenous hungers we make our way back to “Cis” and call it a night as we have an early start in the morning to catch the 7.30 ferry to Calais
Sunday 6 September
After the rowdy kids on the sea front had stopped yawping loudly at each other and packed up and gone home around midnight, we had a bit of a restless night which culminated in the early dawn chorus of the seagulls which we tried to ignore, who had taken over from their human counterparts in annoying the free-loading Motorhomers parked in their back yard and finally awoke with a start when the alarm rattled out its dulcet tones at 6.00.
We drove the few minutes to the port and carried out our ablutions and had a quick cuppa in the queue before it was time to board the ferry. Once boarded we settled on the full English breakfast but shortly regretted it as it was like chewing tasteless cardboard but I must admit it filled a hole until we had time to eat something better later.
On our arrival into France we trundled off to Pont de L’Arche near Rouen and arrived at 2.00 via a diesel & supermarket stop in Abbeville. Unfortunately we couldn’t check in until 4.00 so we had a wander around to suss out the bus stop we need tomorrow for our planned day out in Rouen.
To help bolster the local economy we stopped off at a small Tabac with a few tables in the sunshine to sample our first couple of beers on this side of La Manche. After this we returned to “Cis” and pitched up in the now open campsite which cost us 23 Euros with electricity for two nights which I didn’t think was a bad price. There is a free aire next door but as we are stopping for two nights I wanted access to electricity & washroom etc.
The sun was well out by this time and so we passed a few hours reading in the warmth before munching on some French cheese & bread/biscuits which we had bought earlier before chilling in the van for the rest of the evening.
Monday 7 September
Well the site was nice and peaceful and I would like to say I slept well however I was disturbed by Mrs Dreamypants and her Nocturnal mutterings. This time she sat bolt upright in the middle of the night cursing and rambling on about how she had spilt paint on her. No it was Ice Cream, No it was wet nail varnish. ( Make your chuffing mind up ! ) When I had to physically restrain her and force her back into a prone position she argued with me that she was working ! What a Nutter ! You see, the things I have to put up with !
So off I set off on an early morning blast on my bike along the side of the river Eure and was enjoying the quiet and early morning mist when an old French woman decided she was going to pull out of her drive without looking. Despite the fact that I was cycling on the correct side of the road ( Honest ! ) with 2 sets of lights on, she used the whole of the road and forced me to make an emergency stop accompanied by a few choice English expressions which perhaps made no sense to her but helped me vent my spleen anyway. God knows what would have happened if there had been cars coming because she hadn’t looked at all. ( What’s French for a stupid Muppet !, Une Muppet stupide? )
Later, we caught the bus into Rouen which was any easy ride once we had sussed out where to catch it ( at the back of the Town Hall ) and what times it ran ( very complicated timetable )
On arrival we had a good walk around visiting the outsides of the very beautiful buildings of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eglise St-Maclou, the Aitre St-Maclou ( a very interesting former cemetery and Ossuary bone store ),the stunning Hotel de Ville adjoining the Saint Ouen Abbey, the Palais de Justice, the Eglise Saint Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) and the Gros Horloge ( Big Clock ) among the already beautiful abundance of the wooden framed buildings adorning every street ( see photos)
Rouen is still a working sea port, although it is situated 126 Km inland from the nearest ocean it has the river Seine running through the middle of it and therefore large boats can moor here.
Rouen is also famous as being the city in which Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the market square on 30 May 1431.
So having been edgymified ( made up word ! ) and in need of some sustenance we stopped for lunch in one of the many café restaurants in one of the abundant little squares enjoying the sunshine and whiling away the hours in true French style before continuing wandering around for another hour before returning by bus once more to Pont de L’Arche. I found a few beers off my list in Rouen including a Scottish one bizarrely !, which I of course have brought back to “Cis” ready to sample in the next few weeks
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and sitting initially in the sunshine until it clouded over for a while The peace however, was soon interrupted once more when Jane was stung by what we think was a Bee. This is quite frightening for Jane as she is allergic to Honey & Bee stings and we were fingers crossed that we didn’t need to call for an Ambulance. She double dosed on Anti-histamines and slormed her leg in vinegar and everything was thankfully ok but left her with a throbbing leg.