I didn’t have any official breakfast with me, so chocolate biscuits and nuts had to do. I packed quickly and got on the road.
I will state right now that I do not want to talk about the next 4 hours. The first 40km of the day was probably the worst cycling I’ve ever encountered, and so, the decision to cycle along the North coast “because it will be delightful” also probably ranks among my more regrettable choices. Incessant wind pummelled me in the face, and when the inevitable rain finally did come, it was horizontal. It felt like I was being stoned to death. The weather would have been bad enough, but rolling hills came with it, and when I got stopped to allow a flock of sheep past, I thanked the heavens for the rest.
After 20km I stopped at a humble patisserie for a croissant…or three. Then I cycled off, leaving my wallet on the windowsill. Realising this 5 minutes later, I was distraught. But not for the reasons you might think. I was gutted because cycling back to the patisserie meant cycling the 5 minutes I had just cycled all over again, and I just could not be arsed. I turned my steed around and did three pedal strokes. I finally realised how strong the wind was when I managed to free-wheel all the way back to the patisserie at 30km/h. Uphill.
I managed to retrieve my wallet, and struggled through the next 20km. Boulogne arrived, and I was exhausted. I sat in a greasy spoon and ordered a burger and a coke. Despite having no common language, the people in the café and I managed to communicate, and soon we were laughing about football. They seemed like a lovely bunch, and I even got the coke free. The Parisians have since informed me that everyone from that region is inbred. Cruel, I thought!
From there, I seemed to take longest route available to Abbeville. But diversions and planning aside, the scenery was beautiful and some of the surroundings were starting to kill the wind a little. Still, I’ve never been more proud to make 130 km.
I found a campsite to the South of Abbeville. I set up, had and average, but well received, shower, and ate 2 pot noodles that I had bought in North London. Just before bed, I went to brush my teeth and met a guy from Essex doing the same. He said he was enjoying a holiday without English speakers. “I’ll leave you to it then”, I thought.