Day 3 – Saturday 2nd June
Off on the Chunnel
As usual, we were crossing via the “Chunnel” (or Channel Tunnel to give it it’s proper name) as it’s a quick way of getting over to mainland Europe.
Possibly because we’d picked an early crossing (as our B&B didn’t provide breakfast) we were met with some (as we thought) early morning mist on our way to the terminal; there had been a bit of fog the day before & so we thought that it was the remnants of this that would soon burn off in the summer sun.
Arriving at the terminal, we had the opportunity to take an earlier crossing which was boarding so we decided to take it as we’d get some breakfast in France.
This year we, and many others, were subjected to a far more thorough security check than we had previously experienced which involved opening both bonnet & boot of the car… which turned out to be useful as I found a spanner that had been left under the bonnet by my mechanic! Which probably explained the minor rattle!!
Beyond the extra security checks – which we have no problems with – the trip to France was as uneventful as usual.
French fog is as bad as English Fog
Unfortunately, arriving on the other side of the English Channel, we appeared to have brought the fog with us as visibility was very poor. As we set out for Rouen, we remarked that the only weather that we don’t appear to have met on our journey’s in France is snow!
As there was, quite literally, nothing to see, we decided to head off towards Rouen.
After a while, we decided to stop for breakfast at the Aire Baie de Somme. We’ve called there in the past as it’s a really well-appointed service area…
… at least normally it is. Unfortunately for us, they were having a major redevelopment so all that was open was a small shop selling gifts, a coffee machine in the wall (with a huge queue) and some outdoor toilets!
So, we took the opportunity to get out the maps & head on to Rouen…
As I’d mentioned before, Glyn had done some pre-research & found some breweries to visit on our way down… however, as we didn’t have the maps open, in the fog we missed some of them, so a Gallic shrug of the shoulders & off we went.
Continuing on our way, we decided that, having missed breakfast, we had better have some lunch (which was why we’d stopped at the Baie de Somme), so having seen a sign for Blangy sue Bresle – a town that we’d never visited – we decided to get off the motorway & grab some lunch.
Having parked up in what appeared to be a small town, we began to walk looking for somewhere to eat & soon realised that this town was far bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside!
First stop was a bar tabac for our traditional “first beer”
Having slaked our thirst, food was next in line – baguettes with ham & salad and, of course, our first cakes in France
I went for my usual tarte fraise, Glyn opting for something far more exotic!
We then had a brief look around the large church that we were sat by which was set up for a wedding later in the day
This church had been destroyed & rebuilt on a number of occasions in the past – starting in the 100 years’ war
We find Rouen full
The nearer to Rouen that we were, the better the weather was becoming, so we decided, as we were earlier than planned, to park up in Rouen & have a walk round. However, as we were driving, it was absolutely “jam packed” with cars & despite driving around for a while, we couldn’t find anywhere to park, so we called it off & headed to our usual overnight accommodation at the Brasserie Chant du Loup, our host, Patrick & his beer.
Patrick explained that it was a special festival where shops can sell their goods at really low prices & so people come from all over to take advantage of the bargains.
Over samples of a couple of Patrick’s beers, we planned out in detail our itinerary for the next couple of days as we were meeting up with a chap named Tom Mountain. Tom had been introduced to us by David Mabbutt as his father had been a tank driver with the Irish Guards in Normandy & Tom was hoping to follow some of his travels. Unfortunately, he had been suffering with sciatica, so was less mobile than he’d hoped to be, but this didn’t stop him from looking forward to meeting us the following day at the Tilly sur Seulles book fair & joining in with our photo expedition.
So finally, we went up the road to the local pizza restaurant for some food… including a reacquaintance with their fiery chilly oil