…and we’re off…

Thankfully the rowdy young un’s quieten down so I am able to get some sleep.  The room is freezing, which makes it difficult to get out of bed at 4am this morning, but I do force myself at 4.10.

Out to the bike ready for packing up and on the road to the Eurotunnel – Le Shuttle service.  My train is at 6.50 so I have to be there for 6.20 latest.

I take the disk lock off the front and go to the small saddle bag to put it away… OMG what’s happened here???

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Giant Leather Queen Rat Loose in Folkestone

It was fine last night… so either a humungous rat has had a nibble or some passing leather queen took it to finish off his bondage outfit!  Seriously… you just couldn’t make this crap up.  I’ll have to replace the strap when I get home.

On the bike and off to the train, its a lovely morning if a bit on the cold side.  Have a look at Folkestone, it is quite charming.

Arrive in time to grab a quick coffee and croissant before I have to go through passport control and ride on to the train.  It’s quite an experience and although I have done it before I do wobble a bit… eek!

Just a short trip under La Manche and before you know it, its off the train and into France.

The weather is just fantastic, but having not had much sleep and with the early start it’s not too long before I feel the need for another coffee so I stop at this Tabac/Cafe for a Cafe Au Lait… with Gloria no less.

 

Soon I’m on the road again.. I do really enjoy riding in France, especially when the sun is shining.

 

This part of France is where the trenches were during the Great War and there are numerous monuments, memorials and cemeteries along the route.

What about this magnificent chap… what a fantastic memorial and such a pretty town too.

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Another item that France has is water towers…. like this one

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I won’t be taking too many photos of these as they are pretty similar and don’t usually have the town names on them so not really worth recording… but I do like the shape.

I am passing by more monuments and cemeteries, this one in particular caught my attention.

One of the many, many cemeteries, this one is British, but I saw signs for other nationalities, French of course, Australian, Polish, German and in this northern area especially around Arras, Canadian. The one that most surprised me was South African, which just reminds one that it was a world war, not just the British, French and Germans.

One town I passed through, Neuville Saint Vaast, just north of Arras, was surrounded by cemeteries… what must it be like for the local residents, surrounded by all that death.. so sad.

On a lighter note, I really love seeing the old painted advertising on the walls, it really is very nostalgic

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Arras is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the battle of Arras this year, its hard to imagine that it is over 100 years since the war started.

Am entering the Somme area and again many reminders of the terrible slaughter..

Eventually I arrive at Reims, in the Champagne region, and head for the Harley Davidson dealership

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As I walk towards the shop I am greeted by two french guys.. they enquire as to whether I am a woman.. in french of course, but I spot the word femme so get their drift.  Now normally I would be offended, but they are really two great guys and couldn’t be more friendly.  Of course it helps that they are mega impressed that I, a woman, have just ridden from the UK, on my own, on a big bike, (one of them speaks english and the other a little so his mate translates for him). They coo a bit over my bike so all is forgiven.

I purchase a tee and am soon on my way again.  I take off a few layers first as it is now very hot.. the temp gauge is showing 80 degs F… fantastic!

I have decided to aim for Troyes as my stopover point for tonight.  I have a look on booking.com and find an aparthotel with a reasonably priced room for the night, so make my way there.

I come across a huge monument so stop for a look.  It is French and relates to a terrible battle on this site, which led to a mutiny in the French ranks.  I have not heard of this before so it was very interesting and I’m glad I stopped.

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Ah Ha!! water towers with writing on… twins no less…

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Troyes is a lovely ancient city… given the number of towns called Neuville, (I wonder how many of these are the replacement towns for those flattened without a trace in WW1??), I have passed today.

My room is in a lovely old timber framed rickety house….

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Not this one though, mine’s just down the road, but in a similar building

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Two doors down from Ye Olde Pizza take-away.  The room is in the attic and very quirky, however all the amenities are very nicely done and apart from having to cart my bags up three flights of rather higgledy piggledy original? Oak stairs, it is very good.

Am absolutely knackered now, was nodding off a bit towards the end there so am having an early night.

 

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