Trouville, France - April 25, 2012
Today is a rest day. Not that I deserve a rest day because I haven't really done much or travelled very far, but I woke up this morning, looked out the window into another dark, blustery and rainy day and thought... yuch, this was one of those days where the last thing I want to do is get on a motorcycle and go somewhere. And so here I sit. Maybe the gods meant it to be though, as two blocks away there is a laundry, the room is great and has a bathtub(!), breakfast is fine, the bed is comfortable and there is a good internet connection. And not too expensive. So today was a day to get some jobs done.
This is starting to be a bit of a repeat of two years ago in terms of weather. I've had only one really nice day so far, but other than that not so good. The nice day was the day I rode from London down to Dover. The forecast was for sucky but the thunderstorms never appeared. Beautiful ride through the countryside... the GPS taking me some very nice back roads through farm lands with lots of little lambs in the fields. Got to Dover early enough to dump my stuff at the hotel (just in the hallway as I couldn't check in) and explore the town unencumbered. Went to the ruins of a Roman house that, while not as well preserved as the Roman houses in Turkey, is still considered to be the best north of the Alps. I talked to one of the older ladies who had helped on the original excavation in the 70's and she told me that she was the one who had discovered a carved stone, assumed to be from a ring, in the sewer pipe leading from the house. Pretty moving to think that almost 2000 years ago, someone had a very bad day after losing their setting (while sitting!) only to have it found just 40 years ago. Kind of makes you wish you could tell them "Don't worry... we found it!"
Also went up to Dover Castle. Diane said we were there 25 years ago but I have absolutely no memory of it or of ever having been in Dover and so it was all very new to me... again apparently. That's the beauty of a terrible (or at least, very selective) memory... you get to relive things all over again. In fact, I might have mentioned (although I can't remember having done so) that goldfish only remember for a few seconds which is why they can swim around the fishbowl going "Oh wow! That's interesting... look at that!". "Oh wow! That's interesting... look at that!". Well, I guess that's what I'm doing. The castle is from 1185 but is in absolutely perfect condition. Dover was bombed pretty heavily in the war but Hitler had plans to use the castle as his base after the invasion of Britain and so it was off limits to German bombs. Oops.
Inside Henry's Keep
So the next two days were limited in travel somewhat because of the rain. Thankfully, the rain held off until after I had gotten off the ferry in Calais as the decking and ramps can be slick as snot on a doorknob if they're wet. I've almost fallen a couple of times on other ferries getting on and off. They're not my favorite. But just as I hit Calais, the rain started. Ugh. When the rain starts, I just crawl into my shell. I don't stop, I don't eat, I don't get out my camera, I just either ride or stop at a hotel. For this trip so far, I've just been stopping at hotels. Eventually, I'll hit sun or the weather will change.
Staying here another day allowed me to do a little research on the D-Day beaches coming up here, a bit to the west. I was hoping to visit some of the memorials, but didn't exactly know where they were. So I tracked them down and will visit tomorrow, rain or shine. I don't expect it to be a very uplifting day no matter what the weather. A cemetery with 9000 white markers is something that has to be experienced but not enjoyed I wouldn't think. I feel compelled to go for some reason, but not really looking forward to it.
Outside the Hotel, Le Tourquet, France
Anyway, after that, a little farther down the coast is Mont St. Michel, the high spired church that sits just offshore at high tide. I think there is a causeway to get out there. I remember pictures of it from my high school French class with Mr. Bruggeman. He would have wanted me to go. So I'll head there... then beeline for Spain and perhaps some sunny weather.