Day 4. Dover – Calais – Oostende. 108km

Posted: May 20, 2012 in Belgium, Cycling, England, France
Tags: , , ,

Dover – Calais – Oostende

The weather had changed completely when I got up this morning. Thick cloud and a gale was blowing damp cold air from the north-east. Like in Calais I did a few circuits of the bitumen harbour passing passport and ticket checks, and lining with the cars. I stayed inside the boat this time. Too chilly outside.

I found the way out from the harbour easily and started my slow slog to the north-east. In the open fields without protection from the wind I travelled at 13-14 km/h. With a few trees for protection I made 15. Villages were a blessing. I made 17-18 km/h. The constant push forward is more wearing than the varied pushes uphill and rolling downhill of the earlier days. Also, going uphill, you know you will be cycling down. I knew the wind would be blowing in my face all day today..

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Also, roads were again an issue. Near Dunkirk everything was almost freeway. I took a detour south and made my way through some much more pleasant villages. It was time for a late lunch at the Belgian border. A wacky brasserie playing a mixture of 80s, schlagers and 60s and frequented by the local elders was my stop for lasagne.

It became clear to me that Oostende will be my final destination and not Vlissingen. The wind, if anything, seemed to get stronger. I was reduced to 11 km/h at times. The wall to wall high rise apartment blocks of almost all of the Belgian coast were a blessing. Near them I made 18 km/h.

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I arrived at Oostende ready for a lazy sit in the train. I feel satisfied having seen some new country out in nature.

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