“Zut alors, Pierre – is zat un tourist Anglais? In Octobre?”
“Sacré bleu Henri I sink zat you are right – Allez vite! Double ze bar prices immediatement!”
So here we are in Saint Valery-en-Caux on the Normandy coast, overlooking the harbour and listening to the waves break on the pebbly beach opposite Vince. It’s odd to think we were both at work yesterday; it feels like a couple of days ago as we’ve had two sleeps since then. We had a three-hour mini-kip on the crossing as our sailing was at quarter-to-one this morning, but we were so tired exiting the port at 6.30am that we drove here, parked up and went to bed! We didn’t surface until lunchtime but we feel much better for it.
I’m not sure if we’ll do the Newhaven-Dieppe crossing again as the operation of checking in and boarding was nowhere near as slick as at Dover. We had a lot of hanging around and eventually departed late. It’s probably not fair to make a judgement based on a single crossing; we’ll see how it goes on the way back. It’s my fault completely as I felt that leaving the Midlands straight after work would mean that we’d be in France ready to start the holiday on our first day off, rather than setting off from home on the first day of our break. In reality we’re only a little better off as we wasted the morning sleeping d’oh!
So what’s it like getting back on the road after ten weeks at home? Short answer? Brilliant! It actually feels like we’re living life the wrong way round – after having the whole summer away, being back in Vince feels like normality with just the occasional work break back at home. Believe me, we appreciate how lucky we are to be able to drop everything and head off on another adventure.
I have to admit we’re a little rusty when it comes to getting organised. We don’t seem to have packed any knives so our daily baguette has had to be ripped apart and buttered with a spoon. We made three attempts to leave the van & head into the town this afternoon; one trip back for the camera, one trip back to close the bathroom skylight (if there’s a breeze it sets the alarm off) and one trip back to check I’d locked the door… It’ll all come back to us eventually.
Saint Valery-en-Caux isn’t the prettiest town in this part of France but we chose it for its aire which has Vince parked right by the sea, and its proximity to Dieppe. It’s just down the road from where we stayed in the summer at Veules-les-Roses. We may even come back here the night before we sail home, but we don’t want to be thinking about that yet – that’s a whole week and a bit away!
We had a bracing walk along the sea front this afternoon, dodging the high-tide waves smashing and spraying over the sea wall. We spotted one or two crooked old half-timbered houses from the old town, but mostly it’s relatively modern buildings with hotels and cafés winding down at the end of the season. There’s a moving memorial to the 51st Highlanders who were trapped here and surrendered to the German forces on 12 June 1940, which is now seen as the end of Allied resistance during the battle of France.
Alongside this memorial is a rebuilt and restored tribute to two French pilots, Costes and Bellonte who made the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris in a Breguet biplane. It took them 41 hours and 13 minutes, including their pass over Saint Valery-en-Caux at 400ft and 210kph!
As I mentioned on an earlier post we have no firm plans this trip, we’re just ambling around. We’ve decided to head for Mailleraye-sur-Seine tomorrow, purely so I can make a good title for my next post which includes something about being in-Seine… The bonus being that it actually sounds quite a nice place to explore!
See you there 🙂