Just before leaving Vancouver a potential spanner in the works was identified, namely the inability to go on the ferry from Dover to Dunkerque as a foot passenger. One could go as a cyclist, but not as a cyclist pushing a pretend bike. It looked like we were going to have to go to Calais as foot passengers and walk the 30km to Dunkerque.
Then Camino Karma (aka the ‘camino will provide’) intervened. On Friday evening I did a quick search on gumtree (the Brit Craigslist) and saw an ad for 5 bikes for £50 posted in the past hour “near Dover”. I emailed the seller and asked a) would he sell us two of the bikes, and b) could he deliver? I received a surprising ‘yes’ on both counts, so quickly resorted to booking.com to find accommodation/a delivery address in Dover, and on Sunday at 5p Steve showed up at the Dover Backpackers – with his wife and 3 kids in tow – and sold us two beaters for £30.
A tradesman at the hostel lent me a spanner /wrench to raise the seats to their maximum – but still only suitable for someone about 5’2” – and another hostel guest had a bike pump, so we were good to go. So here we are in Dunkerque, happy in the knowledge that we saved a day’s walking. Also happy as the bikes took us to Carrefour, and after drooling our way down the cheese, beer and wine aisles, we settled for a bbq chook, baguette, butter, and sampler bottle of Bordeaux, and creme brûlée for desert. Three nights in the UK we did our dinner shopping at M&S, whose pre-prepared meals are superb (2 nights of Indian, 1 Chinese – but the Indian was far superior!), so we are eating like kings and avoiding bad table service.
Tonight we are at the Ibis budget in Grande Synthe (so you can find us on google maps if need be), for about the same price as the somewhat rustic Dover backpackers. Daily kilometres were about 12, not counting those crossing the channel.
We are starting a daily memorable moment. Today the DMM is (nominated by Max) is the shower design. Only half a door, and even that half has a mouse hole type cut out, which ensures water spreads over the entire floor!