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Le Grand Tour: Day 14 – Alençon To Domfront (73km)

If yesterday was a spinning class of a ride, today was a spinning class with that knob below the handlebars cranked up several notches. If your route passes the ‘highest point in north-west France’ you can probably guess you’re in for an up and down day and, at gradients that a train could cope with when they plodded up and down these valleys many decades ago, that’s what happened. More disused railways – the area must once have been a maze of lines – with a handful of pencil-straight-Roman roads. More satisfying that yesterday and a much more welcoming end at a municipal campsite that breaks records. Keep reading…

A Wanda Around Europe, Explained

Earlier today some of you must have been scratching your heads just a little upon seeing the Twitter post or the Facebook post or the Instagram post relating to my decision to ‘tweak’ the route of my upcoming cycle around the Baltic Sea. It is, admittedly, one hell of a tweak. So much of a tweak in fact that the only remaining part of that planned Baltic Sea Cycle that remains in the new planned cycle is the rather short journey from the ferry port in Rotterdam to the Hook of Holland. And yes, even that section is nowhere near the Baltic Sea. The new route will see me not turn left upon arrival in The Netherlands but turn right in the direction of Belgium, then France, then (after quite a while) through Switzerland, then Germany before finally returning to the Hook of Holland and my return journey across the North Sea to Hull. Mmm… Perhaps ‘tweak’ might not have been the most appropriate of words. So why the change?

Le Grand Tour: Day 7 – Dieppe

Let’s start with some good news. Upon arrival in Dieppe yesterday after a long cycle in the heat, I sat down for a beer by the harbour and was, imho… fleeced €9 for a 50cl Leffe Blond on draft. (That’s a price Copenhagen’s harbour cafés would be proud of.) The evidence in my favour was a menu that said the price was €4.50 and that the drinks were served as 50cl or 75cl, giving the impression that it wasn’t an option for the premium Leffe to be a modest ‘demie pression’ (25cl). The drink was delivered and €9 demanded. I immediately complained and walked out in digust. Well, OK, being British, I smiled and tossed a cherry ‘merci’ in the waiter’s direction handing over my cash while seething internally. So where’s the good news? Well, having visited the local tabac-café this morning and paid the princely sum of €1.50 for a coffee (all in the name of price research), I’m back here now enjoying a 25cl draft Kronenbourg for €2.80. Success!