Bye Bye France

I had a not-bad sleep until about 3:00 in the morning when I woke up and I don’t think I went back to sleep until after 7:00 – I guess I’m a bit nervous about the next couple of days.

We had a decent breakfast, although the tea was sub-par – had to wash the taste away with a cafe-au-lait.  There’s a hotel cat that’s very friendly and not afraid of anything. When we were leaving the underground parking at the back the cat was lying right in the middle of the lane out and didn’t move an inch – Colin had to swing wide around her to get out.

C4677AD4-E3A3-413E-BAD2-44CACB0C3C78We got back to Tony and Helen’s around 10:30 and had a better cup of tea and a bit of conversation before loading my bike up and hitting the road north/northwest again.

CA14F1D7-06AA-4856-8798-2D7288817DE3We went thru Vire, then stopped in St. Lo for a walk around – there’s a beautiful statue of a unicorn in the main pedestrian area in the centre of town, and a WWII memorial that used to be the main entrance to a large, very old prison.  We stopped at a cafe for a drink, then back on the road again.

04A0EC3E-80E1-4B9A-88CC-53B61E508295We’re in the area of the beaches where the Allies landed on D-Day and there’s a very large memorial to them in general, and the Americans specifically, in the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise that’s very close to Utah Beach.  We got out to have a look but the main area is fenced off and you have to pay to get in – we decided to just walk around the rest of the square a bit. Colin said he’ll visit tomorrow on his way back from dropping me off.

B4ACDD51-DC49-4DB8-BF29-8BBA10CC216DThere’s a large church that was the site of a minor tragedy on the day the American 82nd Airborne paratroopers landed – one of them got tangled up on the steeple of the church and the nazis shot him to death as he hung there unable to get untangled.  They now have a model of him, parachute and all, hanging there. Taking and holding the town was key to protecting Utah Beach so the main force could land safely.

That part of the town is, unfortunately, quite touristy – there’s even a child’s carousel with Snow White on it – Disney was part of D-Day??  I don’t think so – very tacky…. I did go inside the church and some of the stained glass windows were beautiful – they depicted various things, including one that has some paratroopers along with Mary and baby Jesus.

D4C07D75-CFBD-4CB8-9CBD-1D182342AF53On our way again it started to rain off and on – sometimes quite hard, although by then we weren’t far from Cherbourg.  We found the hotel Colin had booked for himself for tonite, then located the ferry terminal for me. To kill some time we went to McDonald’s to use their wi-fi, although the signal was very weak.

Since I wasn’t boarding the ferry for a few hours Colin checked into his hotel – again very weak signal on the wi-fi so can’t load any photos or anything.  I tried to have a nap for about an hour but didn’t actually sleep – really just rested my eyes. We left for the ferry terminal before 8:30 – as we were unloading my bike from the rack a man walked up and said he was Ukranian (I think) and did we know where Tourlaville was?  We tried to show him on the map book but then Colin suggested he wait until I was sure my ticket was ok, etc, then he’d key it into his GPS and lead the guy there – it’s actually where Colin’s hotel is at.

My ticket was all ok, even though almost everything that printed out was in the name of Ms. Colin B….instead of my name.  Said goodbye to Colin and Mo – already looking forward to seeing them again.

As soon as I saw two cyclists moving at the head of the waiting cars I left the terminal and a British campervan let me go in front of them.  The ride to the ferry was quite long – probably almost 1 km (at least it seemed like it). Had a bit of a wait with the other two cyclists – an older couple, as well as several motorcyclists.  They had all been booked onto an earlier ferry to Portsmouth that was cancelled for some mechanical reason, so now they are going to a port that’s well west of where they wanted to be.

FB678405-D646-4CAD-96B1-907B19A961B3We got to board right after a couple of semi-trucks, and were some of the first ones on the passenger deck.  I chose a nice lounge-type chair to start with, but moved to a large comfy bench in the cafe area right in front of the tv that was showing the England-Colombia game.  By the end of the game there must have been close to 100 people gathered around, and of course they were ecstatic with the outcome. Every goal in the shootout was loudly groaned, or cheered depending on who had scored.

I didn’t end up using the chair they made me book because I stretched out on the bench with my blankie and covered my eyes with part of my jacket that I was using as a pillow.  I asked at the bar if the tv in my area could be shut off as I was by then the only one there – he made a quick call and within a couple of minutes a young fellow came by and turned it off for me.  I had to put my earplugs in at one point because they just weren’t shutting down the music from the area further back.


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