Ouistreham to Southampton - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 2 - CycleBlaze

June 30, 2018 to July 1, 2018

Ouistreham to Southampton

The heat of an English summer.

June 30 Saturday; July 1 Sunday 15kms

Ouistreham to Southampton via Portsmouth.

A 6:00am start has us packed and out of ‘Le Cosy’ in time to join the queue for the 8:30am ferry to Portsmouth.

Lunch preparations for the day ahead.
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Our departure from Le Cosy.
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All aboard for Portsmouth.
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 Allowing cycles to board first creates the odd situation where the two of us are the only ones ascending the massive ramp into the bowels of Brittany Ferry’s ‘Mont St Michel,’ while long queues of cars and campers are  made to wait. We are joined by two groups of other cyclists and exchange travel route information briefly, while also appraising cycles and equipment.

The journey over sees a change in weather conditions to blazing heat, an intimation of what is to come. As the ferry approaches Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight shimmering in the distant heat, sunbathers and swimmers can be seen baking on the pebbly beach of Southsea. I recall swimming there during another famous heatwave in 1977.

Approaching coast of England.
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Soon the ships of the Royal Navy appear and we are docking. Escaping the convolutions of Portsmouth harbour is a bit of a challenge but we are soon pushing our bikes through a local market and making mental comparisons between the appearance of the average French citizens we have  just left and that of the average Portsmouth resident. Say no more.

Portsmouth
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HMS Victory.
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Modern navy.
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We find the station and are given help and directions for our accommodation at Hedge End, Southampton. After the usual confusion over how to avoid the M motorway between us and our destination, we reach the home of Warmshowers hosts Mike and Sue, in a leafy glade off a busy road.

Their warm welcome and hospitality makes for a wonderfully relaxing weekend and Mike’s ministrations to our bikes soon have  them back to near perfect condition. A further element of enjoyment are the entertaining tales of Mike and Sue’s cycling adventures to almost every part of the globe and their experiences with camping in the wild.

Garden camping.
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The tapas meal Sue provides, accompanied by Mike’s stories of growing up in Andalusia is a highlight. They also tell of the wide circle of friends and acquaintances cycling has given them, reinforcing something we have experienced on a slightly lesser scale ourselves. Adventurers can unite a world.

Today's ride: 15 km (9 miles)
Total: 1,908 km (1,185 miles)

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