Lesson learnt, if both of your GPS gadgets tells you you are not at your destination yet, don’t get off the ferry. Now I know.
I rode down to Dover from Canterbury recalling my driving skills from the Mexico City periferico. Brits are nice in signalizing the way for cyclists in the highway, I just don’t know what happens a few km down the road. They through you in and then forget about you. I appreciated the very straight line I followed all to my destination on the A2 highway but I did enjoy the cars passing by and the rather boring journey.
I made it on time to my 12pm ferry to France, it felt good to be the first one hoping in the ferry as a cyclist, particularly when I had to wait in the rain to check-in with endless line of combustion-engine vehicles.
Not sure how to translate in km the stress driving next to the cars puts you in, but it does get you more tired. I got a nice long seat with power plugs close to me and felt asleep. I woke up just before getting to land, checked my iPhone and iPad and thought they were not getting a strong GPS signal cause they indicated Calais. I purchased my ticket to Dunkirk cause its closer to Belgium and I thought there was not much to see between the two towns. Well in a way I was correct, I can now confirm there is not much to see. I got off at Calais instead of Dunkirk and had to ride all over. The good think was that it was all flat and although cloudy it wasn’t raining.
I drove through the towns all the way to Belgium.
For a moment it felt like the roads were less taken care of as well as the houses. A km or two later things changed completely, I had my own lane for very long time. This wasn’t an afterthought like my experience in UK, proper planning was put into place considering the cyclist all the way from the fields to the town centers.
I promised myself, again, arriving at my destination by 5pm. This was my 9 to 5 job: cycling to my next town. So today I did a lot of overtime, I arrived by 6:30 and luckily the youth hostel (cause I’m young) had space for me. Today wasn’t my longest ride but I had not eaten and I just wanted to land. The place was in the middle of a nice neighborhood so for a moment I thought I was in the wrong place.
I can’t speak a word of the language but they can speak either very basic French or basic and clear German. That works for me. I went to a restaurant next to the beach for dinner and had a nice surprise as I walked out: