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Dangerous Curves

A Quick Break

"I suppose it's too late to go to France?" Howard said, when I asked if there were any plans for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend.

Turned out it wasn't, and a plan conceived on Sunday was booked by the end of Monday and carried out on Friday.

Howard wanted to visit a castle and I wanted to buy cheese. Evreux, in Normandy, seemed like a sensible base for doing both these things.

We met at the Eurotunnel terminal on Friday evening, sneaked on to an earlier train than we'd booked, and rolled out into Calais in good time to check in at the Coquelles F1 Hotel, a clean and comfortable no-frills establishment where we slept soundly until a Czech coach party began the process of getting itself on the road at 4:30am.

It was slightly later when we hit the road ourselves. We reached the subterranean city of Naours, which we'd picked from the tourist brochures in the hotel, in time for a late lunch.

We made our way through the complex of caverns, once used to hide the inhabitants of the town above while raiders rampaged, then said hello to the goats in the adjoining park before moving on.

The threatened rain arrived in the late afternoon, just as the participants in a 2CV rally passed us in the opposite direction. We stopped to don waterproofs for the last hour and a half, at the end of which waited a hotel room, a hot shower and a late dinner consisting of the entree buffet followed by the dessert buffet.

It was still raining the next morning. We sallied into town to look at the cathedral, and I had a sablé something, which was a biscuit folded into a triangle around a layer of raspberry jam. Then we set off for Château Gaillard.

Constructed by Richard the Lionheart, it perches high above the Seine and the town of Les Andelys. To fortify ourselves for the walk we had lunch at a bar, where the friendly proprietor encouraged Howard to play the instant lotto. We picked seven numbers and won 8 Euros from a two-Euro stake (not quite enough to pay for our sandwiches).

The sun came out as we climbed the hill, making the walk uncomfortably warm but the views from the top spectacular. Reenactors in chainmail guarded the sandy stone and distinctive scallops of the castle walls.

My plan had been to dine in the pretty town of Lyons-la-Foret, but everywhere was expensive/not open yet/run by a weird creepy guy, so after a drink we returned to Les Andelys. Here a brasserie owner waved to us, beckoned us in, and provided a plate of cheese, meat and pâté.

We made our way back to Evreux along country roads in golden evening light, slowing to admire an enormous hare as it bounded away across a field, and later braking sharply when two roe deer hurtled from hedge to hedge right in front of Howard's bike.

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Our hotel was close to a military air base, and I'd gathered from Google Maps's satellite view that they had an interesting gate guard (this being the term for a decommissioned aircraft that sits outside a base where the type was formerly in service). I very much wanted to photograph it, but when I politely asked the security guy whether I could, he said no, presumably in case I captured on film whatever secret squirrel stuff might be going down on a transport base at half past ten on a Monday morning.

It was one of these: Breguet Deux-Ponts

I was disappointed, but at least I had seen the thing. We pressed on to the supermarket where I bought the cheese of my desire, plus sweets for the office and a rosé cider. Our route back to Calais was leisurely, with coffee in Rouen, lunch in Neufchatel and a quick stop in Agincourt.

We emerged from the tunnel at a quarter to six UK time to discover that it was raining.
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Comments

Good lord, that sounds like fun.
It was! And much more spontaneous than our usual trips.
So cool how you were able to plan, and execute, those plans so quickly. (Da Pup & felines make that an impossiblity for us (unless we took Pup with us!), but they are worth losing some spontaneity! 😉)

Sounds like a truly lovely way to spend the Bank Holiday weekend! (Tiger had to work all weekend, but given recent events, that was very welcome, and fine with us! 😆)

So thankful you both were able to brake quickly enough regarding the deer! Phew. .. scary!

Great photos!

Miss you! Thank you for keeping a good grasp on that branch, and my arm! 😉 *hugs*
Hey! Thought of you over the weekend, because we went through the town of Louviers. If I ever find an actual Louvé I'll be sure to get you a souvenir :)

I'm glad things are settling down with you guys, and I hope a hardworking weekend means well-deserved time off at a later date.
I cannot tell you how bitterly I envy you people, who can blithely decide to go to France on the drop of a hat. If I tried to do that the only place I would end up would be Massachusetts. Which is fine, but it is not France.
I was thinking on the trip how lucky I am to live where a completely different country is half an hour by tunnel and all the diversity of Europe is available within a couple of hours' flight.

I would like to go to Massachusetts sometime, though, because I am never satisfied!
and a plan conceived on Sunday was booked by the end of Monday and carried out on Friday

I *like* this thinking. ^_^ (I think my record for "planning to execution" was somewhere around 1992 - booked the flight in Bristol at 3pm, left on the same flight from Heathrow at 5.30pm =:)

we slept soundly until a Czech coach party began the process of getting itself on the road at 4:30am

Yipe! Were you able to get back to sleep after all that? And I so wish Formule 1 would spread into the UK - travelling in the UK can be quite affordable, but actually staying anywhere rapidly bumps the price of even a long weekend above that of a week in Prague or Greece.

Have the cheeses proven themselves to be the delight you'd hoped? ^_^ Ah, there's nothing quite like a simple French picnic of a fresh baguette, a good cheese or two, maybe some pork rillettes, and a decent red table wine. =:9

BTW, don't suppose you might make it along to the White Horse's American beer festival? I'll be there on the Friday (July 3rd), following some underground exploits on the Jubilee line at Charing Cross. It's a great opportunity to enjoy great brews from the likes of Flying Dog and Sierra Nevada - not just the ones you can sometimes find, but ones you probably never knew even existed. They liaise closely with good brewers, and manage to obtain stuff that's maybe only available in the brewery's own bar, or something purely experimental and normally unavailable anywhere.
I think I slept a bit between 7:30 and 8:30 :/ Cheese is awaiting tomorrow's dinner guests!

Not sure of my movements for early July (and I don't really drink beer), but it's a possible - it does sound like a jolly scene.