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This IS me (by schwitters)Default

Bike Normandy 2016: Day 3 (08/05)

Our return ferry left at six in the evening, which meant almost another full day's riding. We did need to pack all our luggage, however, and in my case, after a last-ditch attempt to reattach it, lash my windscreen to my pillion seat.

After a brief pause in Camembert to ascertain that there really isn't anything exciting there, we stopped at another piece of military hardware, the Vimoutiers Tiger tank, for a photo opportunity, and Howard informed me that my headlight had blown. The coffee stop was minutes away, in Vimoutiers itself, so we used the opportunity to swap in my spare bulb while the others relaxed in the shade of a café awning.

By this time I was pretty fed up with my bike's determination to fall to bits over the weekend, and the insane difficulty level of replacing the bulb (remove two panels then contort yourself reaching up inside the headset) didn't help. On this occasion, pulling the connector off the back of the bulb proved to be the trickiest part of the job.

John kindly took our coffee order, and in due course delivered our drinks.

"Going well?" he asked.

"NO," we replied in unison.

At last the replacement bulb was in the holder, and the spring clip and dust cover reattached. I spent five minutes fruitless trying to replace the connector, then handed over to Howard, who moved it half a millimeter so it immediately clicked in.

We lunched at The Best Little Creperie In Normandy (probably), where I branched out and tried a feuilleté: a vast base and even vaster lid of puff pastry, cradling a delicious mixture of cheese, sausage, mushroom and ham.

After a glorious and largely traffic-free weekend, there was no way to avoid dual carriageways and busy roads as we headed back to Dieppe. The group stuck together, overtaking slower vehicles when we could and waving to thank the driver of one van-and-trailer combo, who pulled into a layby to let us pass.

We said goodbye to John and Jen at the ferry terminal, and queued up at the booth. Howard's passport and number plate were checked and rechecked, then he was asked to produce his confirmation email.

"Ah. You've booked your return for next Sunday."

Howard had to go back round to the ferry office and change his ticket, at a cost of £10. I was shooed onto the ferry, where I was given a warm welcome by the man who'd helped me drop my bike on Thursday and spent an anxious half hour waiting for Howard to board before he eventually appeared.

We all suspected he'd done it on purpose.

Landing was at 21:30 UK time, and slowed by the insistence at passport control that bikers should remove their helmets (I, in my flip-front, sailed smugly through). Howard and I said goodbye in the middle of a roundabout, the A23/A27 junction having come up faster than expected, and I arrived home soon after 11PM.

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I'm always a little wary of places famous for just one thing. Chatanooga was just another trashy town in Tennessee, Melton Mowbray is so-so, Cheddar is a tourist trap, and so on. So Camembert being meh is hardly a surprise.

Two notable exceptions: Stilton is a fine little market town bypassed by the A1(M). Not large enough to hold interest for long, but a pleasant place to stop for a meal. Dijon is one of my favourite French towns, and is mercifully not full of shops selling giftwrapped mustard pots.

Meanwhile, Isigny-sur-Mer is overlooked because nobody knows it's where the Disney family came from, Nimes is overlooked because nobody knows it's where denim came from and Meiringen is overlooked because nobody knows it's where meringues came from. That Nimes isn't full of shops selling counterfeit Levis is a particular mercy. (-8
I knew about Nimes but not Meiringen. That's a must-visit, then :)

I've not stopped in Stilton; I'll make a note. And I rather like Cheddar, although it's always so busy.
"Always so busy" is pretty much the definition of a tourist trap, no? A lot of such places are genuinely lovely if you ever manage to catch them at an off time. I've been to Trafalgar Square on an August bank holiday, Polperro before the coach parties arrive and the Louvre early on a weekday morning in November. All were memorable experiences.

While Stilton is a lovely place to visit if you're on a mission to visit places famous stuff is named after, if you skip that criterion when travelling up and down the A1 I'd suggest Stamford as an amazing place nobody seems to have heard of, and the Olive Branch in Clipsham as an astonishing pub provided you manage to book in advance.
Now Stamford I do know, as a forum friend organises a rideout in those parts every year! And I will file away the Olive Branch for future reference.
Sounds like one hell of a weekend.
It was! I didn't want it to end, yet I couldn't have stood much more of it :)
I know what you mean.
That pastry thing sounds AMAZING. Without the mushrooms, anyway. But OH.
There was a LOT lot of puff pastry, mind. I might return to the buckwheat pancakes next time, but I'm glad I tried it!
Seriously! I'm going to have to try making something like that, probably unseen. ^_^ (I rarely look at others' photography, as I don't want to be influenced by anybody else - there's enough cross-pollenation of artistic styles)