Three months into her tandem journey around France, Catherine Pringle reaches the English Channel when she arrives at Honfleur in Normandy. It’s late summer now and the weather is turning colder. She is tempted to mark the return to the coast with a symbolic dip in the Seine Estuary. But, as ever with Catherine, food and drink distract her.
This extract from Catherine’s blog is from a section of the ride not covered in any detail in the Peloton of Two story. The post is typical of Catherine’s blog for this stage of the journey. She is emotionally and physically drained and focuses her thoughts on practical aspects of each day rather than on the people she has been travelling with.
Touching the sea again at Honfleur
by Catherine Pringle
Day 75, Wednesday 31 August.
Today in Honfleur we came into contact with the English Channel again for the first time since June. More than 3,000 kilometres have passed since I turned my back on the sea at Roscoff and began the journey around France. It’s yet another turning point and it brought with it a mixture of emotions.
I was tempted, briefly, to engage in a reprise of our celebration in Stes-Maries-de-la-plage, where 30 days ago we pushed the tandem a little into the waters of the Mediterranean to record the end of the outward journey.
When I say tempted, I mean this only in the sense of symmetry, that it would have been a fitting way to mark the end of the south to north leg of our Tour de France. A month ago the temperature in the Camargue was in the thirties – a swim wasn’t just symbolic, it was essential. Today, the temperature was at least ten degrees cooler and the steel-grey sky over the Normandy coast made the water look distinctly unappealing.
Having arrived at noon, we decided that lunch would be a better way to celebrate. We cycled around the Vieux Bassin, an inner harbour surrounded by multi-storied stone and slate buildings, and chose a restaurant on the Quai Sainte Catherine. The location demanded a menu of seafood, with white wine, and we lingered later than we usually would over lunch. After coffee, we left the tandem chained to a sign in the Vieux Bassin and explored the town on foot.
We left Honfleur late in the afternoon and rode a few kilometres south-west on the route de Pont-l’Eveque to our campground. Tomorrow, our route takes us away from the coast through the orchards, meadows and forests of Normandy’s interior.