I’ve been to Normandy! On a bike!

Posted on May 30th, 2011 @ 23:00 in Travel

And I shall blog about it for my trip collection. :P

Let me recapitulate how this came about in the first place. I was on a short Spike trip a few weeks ago and came through Newhaven. Which has a ferry port to Dieppe, as you may know. So I resolved to check out their rates and stuff. I did this when I got home, realised there was a bank holiday weekend coming up – and decided to go ahead and book. :D The plan (after some very superficial research – this wasn’t a very thoroughly planned trip) had been to drive to Honfleur the first day, sleep there, and then make my way back on the two subsequent days. It didn’t quite happen that way in the end, but more about that later.

Sooo the ferry trip. I get very seasick on ships. Luckily, anti-seasickness pills do their magic with me, so the journey was actually quite pleasant. I was too tempted by the cabins they had tho (I also hadn’t slept enough the night before cuz work people had dragged me out), so I got myself one and slept through most of the trip. Which was just as well. There are bloody kids everywhere on those ferries! And they are loud! Well, all kids are loud. I met some other bikers on the way out and we exchanged plans and stories. They were of course going much much farther than me (Spain!), and they were also better prepared. *lol*

Upon disembark, I basically made my way East. Unfortunately, my dearest Spike started acting up pretty soon (nothing huge, kinda hiccups, something with the transmission I fear), so I abandoned the Honfleur plan and stopped in Fécamp the first night. This wasn’t a terribly interesting place, but cute enough. Everyone was lovely. I like Frenchies when they are nice. :-) So I walked around there, spent some time watching TV, climbed up a hill to a chapel (there are lots of chapels on hills in Normandy. Sailors would usually go up there to pray for safe passage and such stuff. They’re also usually called something like “Notre Dame of Succour” etc. *lol*). A market stall guy forced 3 baskets of strawberries on me. He also would’ve invited me home, but I politely declined. *lol*

Sunday morning I went to see the “Palais Bénédictine”. Basically Bénédictine is this liqueur made with dozens of different herbs and stuff, and the crazy guy who found the recipe built a palace to produce and “honour” the amazing liqueur. *lol* Of course with religious undertones. It was really impressive tho – a Gothic hall, a Renaissance one, etc. I liked it. :-) (pics of all this will be up tomorrow or sth)

Theeeeen I made my way back to Dieppe – more slowly this time, and I had also taken note of a few places I wanted to see. Which made the trip considerably more pleasant. *lol* Let it be said that I generally found riding along flat, windy, unexciting landscapes veeeeery boring! I think I am abandoning my plans to do all of Europe by motorbike. *lol* So what did I see on my way back…. I didn’t see the Château de Cany-Barville cuz it was closed (everything closes over lunch in Normandy! Very annoying). I did take a photo of its gate in the middle of nowhere tho (I thought “huh, what’s that supposed to do? You can just go around it! But no, there was a friggin’ moat around it! A moat!! Awesome! *hehe*). I also saw St Valéry en Caux, which is a cute village with a port and a Maison Henri IV (housing a museum), and Veules-les-Roses, which is totally the cutest thing ever. The Veules is the shortest river in France (1100m), a fact they proclaim loudly and proudly. And the village is cute and picturesque. (Most villages weren’t, really. Also, most châteaux were hotels or restaurants, so it wasn’t like you could just go and visit). Le Bourg-Dun has a church. That’s it.

And then I was safely back in Dieppe! This was considerably bigger than I had expected. And also rather cute. It has such a… French seaside town feel to it. It’s so odd cuz it’s just opposite from where I am, but well, it’s France. It reminded me of the holidays of my childhood. They do have a pebble beach tho. And white cliffs. Lots of white cliffs around there. :P Dieppe also has a castle you can visit (turned into a museum, not a hotel! With tons of ivory stuff), and a few other museums. And shops. So that’s pretty much what I did. Oh, it also has a chapel on a hill, which I also visited – by bike this time, ’twas a bit far to walk. And I took a 35mins boat trip along the coast, which was super-shaky, but I didn’t care cuz I had taken my pill! *hehe* And I lay on the beach (even got a ligh sunburn again) until it suddenly clouded over and started raining.

Ferry trip back was pretty much the same as the one going out – yet again I could not resist the call of the cabins, and so I read and slept and thus am rested now, which means I probably won’t go to bed until 2am or something. *hehe* And now I’m off to watch the Doctor Who I missed. :D

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