Normandy 2010 – Day 6
For a second day, we spread our wings a little, this time driving to Portbail, before setting off on the tandem. The last time we visited Portbail, was in 2009 and it was pouring with rain. This year couldn’t have been more different, brilliant sunshine and only the coastal location keepong the soaring temperature more confortable than the previous day. We parked on the causeway road over to the beach resort, by a large expanse of samphire. After unloading the tandem and making sure we had all the bottles and pump etc, we set off towards the beach area, soon encountering cycle path signs for Barneville-Carteret.
The cycle path turned out to be pretty well marked, and mostly consisted of tarmac roads (some in pretty poor condition), but with some gravel, and took us through coastal dunes and field to the back of Barneville, from where we could see across the estuary to Carteret.
Once in Carteret, we cycled down to the harbour and found a restaurant for lunch. Here, we made a quick choice and had moules and frites once more – this time larger non-bouchet moules, but cooked very nicely with copious herbs. Dessert was ice cream and coffee. This all took quite a time, and between courses, we plotted the route for the rest of the day. In brief we decided to head back into Carteret and inland towards Bricquebec before returning to Portbail.
Unfortunately the navigational skills required for this route failed us (around Les Moutiers d’Allonne it seemd as though the road had been upgraded and the road nomenclature changed), though we successfully blundered onto the D902 and successfully chose the correct direction for Briquebec (there was no sign at the junctions). In fact the D902 bore very few signs whatsoever, and it was good to arrive at Bricquebec without further confusion! That section was a main road, and while not very busy, wasn’t very interesting.
Bricquebec, on the other hand, has a wonderful castle which retains the old layout of the motte and bailey configuration, albeit constructed in stone. The keep itself is curious, being an 11-sided structure (I couldn’t figure out how many sides, reckoning on 12, but I stand corrected by our guide book!). We wandered around the grounds of the castle for a bit before heading back to the bike – time was drawing on, and we still had to return to the car in Portbail.
We chose to return to Portbail along a slightly smaller road than we’d arrived on. It rose and fell along ridges in the landscape, making for a quite interesting leg of the day’s cycling.
Overall, of course, the route was a general descent to the coast and into Portbail. Back in Portbail, we loaded the tandem back onto the car for the return to the house.
This was the final day’s cycling, with Day 7 reserved for a little shopping. We visited Villedieu-les-Poeles, a town famous for is copper frying pans and bell foundry. While there, we sopped at a creperie for lunch, eating galletes with andouilles, lardons, cheese and creme fraiche (I forget it’s name). I followed this with a crepe filled with apples and caramel and topped with calvados. Mmmm…and a good last french meal!