Thury-Harcourt to Ouistreham - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 2 - CycleBlaze

June 29, 2018

Thury-Harcourt to Ouistreham

Final day on La Francette. Relaxed rolling on deluxe cycle way Thury-Harcourt to Ouistreham.

June 29 Friday 49kms

Thury Harcourt to Ouistreham

Final day on La Francette. Relaxed rolling on deluxe cycle way Thury-Harcourt to Ouistreham.

Fold our tent in the early morning and wish our neighbour ‘bonne route’. After a brief coffee stop we buy requirements for breakfast and feast on yoghurt and fruit at a rest area on the deluxe super cycle way. Plenty of locals are out belting along in their Tour de France lycra and plenty a ‘Bon appetits’ are cast our way. This cycleway is clearly valued and used by locals as well as tourers and there is none of the doubt about its justification as has greeted Auckland’s similar efforts. C’est normal.

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Breakfast beside the trail.
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The brand new cycle path.
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Thury-Harcourt
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Watch for bats.
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Rail velo.
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Maizet
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Clinchamps-sur-Orne
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Once started, the kilometres fall away quickly as the trail leads us across some high bridges over the dark waters of the Varenne and past fields of recently rolled hay.
We are  soon in Caen, a city with some wide streets and a canal area and marina. Severe bombing in the later part of the war seems to have cleared the way for new buildings. The grand gothic cathedral remains though, and its size is impressive. 

Entering Caen.
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The tally.
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Caen centre.
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We lunch in a park on the outskirts of the city, alongside the river. There are signs of the impending coastline - the wind has become stronger, yachts are appearing, racing on the river and the horizon is broadening. Plenty of people are out cycling on the path also.

 At Pegasus Bridge we come  across the first reference to D-Day activity, capturing this being the Brit paras first act of conquest as part of operation Overlord. The supposed ‘first house liberated’ is still there, a bar/cafe offering refreshments as busy traffic roars by.

On cycle path to Ouistreham.
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D Day site.
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As we approach the coast the wind off the sea becomes stronger and there a tang in the air.
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Ouistreham, the port, appears soon after that and so our 630kms from La Rochelle came to an end . The number of hovering police, as well as the casually mooching young African men, tells a story of the plight of migrants we’be seen evidence of throughout Europe. Most are well dressed, fit , healthy and good looking young chaps you feel  would be an asset to any country. Another dramatic sight in the distance is the multitude of colourful kite surfing sails flying across the horizon.

La Francette had been an interesting and adventurous route, challenging enough for our abilities, with several remarkable towns we would love to return to and give the exploration they deserve.

‘Le Cosy’, our hotel of choice, is situated  on the main walking thoroughfare in the town, busy offering tourists, with the first English we’d heard in some time, the usual garish attractions. The young girl at the desk with stylishly ripped jeans proves extremely efficient in organising us, our velos, our room and best of all, a bouloire, kettle, for tea. 

Later we dine to celebrate the end of this leg: around 2000kms from our arrival in Geneva about a month before. A walk out onto what was named Sword Beach for the D Day landings reveals a vast stretch of sand, dotted with huddled groups of young people and families relaxing as the sun sets. We wade into the waters of the Atlantic, not quite as courageous as some of the daring swimmers, and watch as the approaching Brittany ferry, our goal for the next day, grows ever more imposing on the horizon.

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We’ve come a way from La Rochelle!
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Mediterranean to La Manche!
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‘Sword’ Beach for D Day landings.
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Tomorrow’s ferry.
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Today's ride: 49 km (30 miles)
Total: 1,893 km (1,176 miles)

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Tricia GrahamI have been enjoying reading this , it is always fun to read someone elses trip on a route you have done. hopefully things will settle down and we will get away next year. We were due to leave in 3 weeks time ):
Tricia
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4 months ago