We’re in the Office de Tourisme in Coutances, Normandy the other day and the postcard rack is filled with cheeky postcards about the rain in Normandy. This is not the Normandy Adam & I have gotten to know.
Two or three days ago we took a beach day in Vauville, a petite-ville with a stretch of quiet beach that stretched for ages. It was gray when we woke up that morning, but by 11 the clouds had cleared and the water and sand were so inviting! We napped, swam and hung out for nearly 6 hours.
And for all that, now we have two sunburned bike tourists. My legs got it worst, especially my calves. Poor Adam – he was an all over lobster.
The next morning we woke up early and in pain. Sunburned skin, it isn’t good at all. We left Vauville around 7 AM to beat the heat and even by 10 AM, Adam was fading. We had been following the coastline, which means biking up long hills with the sun on top of us. Beautiful scenery and grueling miles.
At noon we had hit ‘the wall’. Adam was burning up through his shirt, I’d turn around and he would be standing under a tree or in the shadows of a building. So we biked to Portbail, less than 6 miles away and found a pharmacie (after-burn crême) and an inexpensive hotel for the night. Thus ended the camping streak (21 nights in a row!) but ultimately saved us from a total meltdown and potential sun poisoning.
And here’s where it gets good. In Portbail, a vendor at the marche offered us samples of Calvados (Norman Apple liquor) and cidre. He took a look at Adam, declared him “empty” and gave him an apple juice.
The same vendor said the heat was coming from the Sahara. I thought he was full of it, until this morning when Adam was reading up on the weather. We are on the tail-end of a full-fledged heatwave in France. Like, over 100 degrees in Paris and unusually high temps all over northern France. Where we are. The day we cut short? The hottest day of the wave so far. No wonder the going was so rough.
And that’s why we haven’t seen any rain in Normandy!
Until this morning of course, but we are in an area historically contested as a part of Brittany, so maybe that’s why…
Today, we are at Le Mont Saint Michel. We toured the abbey, where monks and nuns still live. We sat in on noon mass, it was recited completely in all French and Adam still knew what step they were on. We’ll bike back this evening to see if the tide is high enough to make it an island again.
We met another young bike tourer, Phil. Tourer might not be appropriate – he’s been living on the veloroute, around the world, for 5 years. We walked away inspired, thinking ‘hmmm…. Could we do that?‘
Looking forward to next: Bretange, oysters, scallops & lobsters (Adam is prepared to learn to shuck fresh oysters from marche – stay tuned), the Tour de France (2 opportunities to watch!!) and more time on the ocean. And some more hills.
Sorry for the lack of photos in this post. Camp wifi isn’t strong enough to carry the (up)load!