So this day found us in a mad rush to get everything ready. It also found Zoltan at the Hungarian embassy waiting for his emergency passport. A story still too raw to go into suffice to say Zoltan and I are still friends. So having packed and had a couple of good luck drinks at the Brownswood, we were set.
Time cycling - 8 hours. Distance - 160km
After three hours sleep apiece we left The Castle at 5am. Cycling for the first time with fully loaded panniers, something that took a little getting used to. I think I can say for both of us that we were both excited but also apprehensive, the full scale of what we had undertaken running through our minds.
Following our planned route out of London we made steady progress and were soon nearing Dover. It did however prove to be a hard day for both of us, both hot and long. We did however make it to our ferry in time and lying on the sunny deck and sleeping for a couple hours was reward enough.
Getting off the ferry at Dunkirk, a first oversight began to become apparent. We had not really paid much attention to navigation, relying on some very vague printed Google maps. So getting into the centre of Dunkirk proved tricky. And therefore the only two campsites that we made it to. We ended the first night wearing all our clothes sleeping rough on the beach, too tired to bother with tents. Our first and second lessons all in one day...
1. Have some form of navigation!
2. Have a rough idea of where you will sleep, or better a solid booking.
Time cycling - 8 hours. Distance - 150km
We awoke to a beautiful sunrise having had three very cold hours sleep. So 6 hours in two days and only 150km to cycle today!
(Zoltan tells me I'm putting a negative spin on this trip, please don't get me wrong we are LOVING it.)
We dragged ourselves off the beach, packed up and I realised I had lost my wallet. Shit.
Incredibly cycling back to the previous days unfriendly campsite we got my wallet back. No sweat.
So our first full on day of cycling. We thought this was going to be an easy day. It was hard and hot and we got lost quite a lot. Yet sitting in our hostel washed, fed and talced up we both agree that we have enjoyed it and achieved something.
About today we wanted to mention the glittery sun cream given to me by my friends from the café and The incredibly bad French road signs which led us round in circles. We have seen some beautiful countryside and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Signing off now as we have an early start. We will write when we can.