Thursday, 8 November 2018

Monday to Thursday 5-8 November - Home to Neufchâtel-en-Bray

Where's Bertie? He's at an Aire at Neufchâtel-en-Bray, which sits 50km N of Rouen. It costs €12 per 24hr to stay here, including electricity, water, waste and toilets. Showers are available for an extra fee. (Exact location: 49.73692, 1.42936)
Weather: Wall-to-wall sunshine.

After being delayed at home for a month longer than originally intended (various reasons), Bertie finally got tarmac under his tyres again on Monday.

Between Monday and Wednesday, as well as driving, we stayed with friends in Crawley, bagged two very uninspiring Marilyn hills, had a random encounter with a blogger I've been following for a few years, visited and lunched with a couple half of whom we met high in the Pyrenees on 23 July 2015, and then popped onto the Channel Tunnel to be whisked over to France.

It was gone 9pm by the time we reached Calais last night (caught an earlier shuttle than the one we had booked, but then it was delayed), so we stuck with our plan and spent the night in the motorhome parking area at the out-of-town shopping centre, Cite Europe, which sits adjacent to the Chunnel terminal. It may not be the most attractive overnight option, but it was convenient (for us and for around 25 other vans), and positioned us nicely to nip into the huge Carrefour this morning to stock up on my favourite teabags.

Somehow it was approaching noon by the time we had the teabags stowed, had bought some diesel and visited Lidl, all of which sit within a few hundred metres of each other. So, did we then immediately make haste southwards? Nope, because at that point we had no idea as to day's end point, so time was taken for coffee and croissant, as I pored over the resources and decided what to dial into the SatNav.

A free Aire could easily have been found, but this one was chosen for two attributes: 1) it was the shortest detour from our route to Rouen; and 2) it sits adjacent to a Voie Verte off-road cycle route, which I knew would make going for a run logistically easy.

I took a 6.5 mile run along the ex-railway line, which to my eye ran downhill in both directions (my GPS stats tell me that I was not, in fact, in an Escher painting), passing this chateau on my way. Mick, building his distances up slowly after his summer of injuries, was with me for the first 1.5 miles before he turned.

As for the journey from Calais to here, it was easy enough. The speed limit on single carriageway roads in France was reduced to 80km/h (from 90) in July this year, but I don't think it made many minutes difference to us today. It was also a surprisingly green journey (literally, not ecologically): at this time of year I'm used to seeing brown fields, either harvested or ploughed, but not in this region. Instead, they are full of the greenery of crops. Off they undulated into the distance, showing themselves off nicely under the clear blue sky (according to Bertie's thermometer, the temperature topped out at 12 degrees today, but it felt much warmer in the sunshine).


  1. Enjoy your trip. Those two Marilyns don’t look very inspiring- are you sure you got to the magnificent summits?

    1. Marilyns Lacking in Magnificent Summits: it's the specialist subject of the SE corner of England!