I have just spent one of the most French nights of my life!
The day’s stats to begin with;
Time in saddle: 3 hrs 2 mins 38 secs
Distance: 56.53 kms
Average speed: 18.5 kms/hour
Maximum speed: 49.7 kms/hour
Eurovelo 5 total: 313.8 kms
Alain was waiting for me just outside the ferry terminal and after some changing of shoes we headed off to his house deep in the Pas de Calais.
After 30 kilometres we arrived; he has a very nice renovated property with lots of land, two dogs, a cat and two donkeys. His wife is currently in England with their son so we headed off to…. a ballroom dancing lesson. Yes, a ballroom dancing lesson. Initially a bit reluctant to take part, I smiled politely from the sidelines but eventually I was persuaded and I danced a waltz and the passa doble with a lady called Nicole…. It was actually quite a lot of fun although I don’t think that either Nicole or the dance teacher were too impressed with my footwork. Alain seemed very keen for a picture of me to be taken dancing and for it to be put on the blog but I vetoed the idea quite quickly.
Next was our meal and despite it being a relatively short cycling day, I was still famished. The local restaurant was a quiet but friendly place; we sat next to a party of three, one of whom was English. We exchanged a few minutes of conversation in French and the locals were amazed; they rarely saw one English person speaking French let alone two English people speaking French to each other!
Alain recommended the steak tartare and I was happy to agree; there is nothing that builds up the energy levels again like a bit of raw meat! It all went down very well with a glass of Belgian beer and a bottle of red wine. If Alain is ever stuck for something to do (which he never will be as he seems to have his fingers is so many pies) he could make a go of teaching French culture by the total immersion method. A very nice, unexpected evening with the French rather than just observing them. Tomorrow it’s 120 kilometres to Lille. Wish me luck….