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tandem Tour... 3rd week.

10th July 2012
From Arras and its war graves we headed south west back to Normandy, with the intention of heading for rivers and following then to the coast. We passed through Albert, a town with 30,000 inhabitants pre Great War, reduced to 150 post war. The place was rebuilt with aid of people from Birmingham, and the houses are very much like the old terraced houses of the West Midlands. We cycled on to Corbie, picked up camping information from tourist information and stopped by the Somme at Sailly-le-Sec.It was a shorter ride into Amiens the following day along the river / canal. A really pretty ride despite the rain, and then dried out at Amiens camp site, stopping for two days so that we could visit the city. The cathedral and little venice were both really worthwhile.
From Amiens we followed the Somme over 2 days to the coast at Le Treport and down to Criel sur mer. The lumpy bits on the coast were challenging, and a camper van passed us twice, and then we passed it on a downhill. A man appeared over the hedge at the campsite, and recognised Marion. He was the driver of said camper van (named Rudi) and was so friendly that when he had finished walking his dogs, he returned with gifts (wine chocolate and biscuits). He had a bit of a tumble when going down the bank after giving us these gifts, and if you read this Rudi .... Thank you.
We then took a long ride West to Neufchatel, our first stop on the ride as we crossed our original route. The countryside was impressive with long hills, and again we topped 60km/hr as we took a 2km downhill.
Next we headed for Rouen, and then after camping it was downhill to Duclair, who were also setting up for the Tour de France coming through. Duclair was somewhere well worth a visit and the ride that followed down the meanders of the Seine were beautiful, through the fruit route and the cottage route on the south bank of the river. We were going to camp just outside Honfleur, but noticed a camping sign in a village 5km short of the town. We followed the signs with bike loaded with shopping, and about 4km late, all uphill noticed a sign directing us for another 1.5 km uphill. Not happy at this major lump at the end of the ride we found a really old site with showers out of the ark. After showers however, and a couple of beers the heavens opened,and so we stayed in the bar and had just about the best moules/ frites ever. Definitely worth another visit.
Our last day followed as we needed to head back for dental appointments, and so it was off to the ferry at Caen, which we reached mid morning. We hung about until 4pm when it sailed getting in to Portsmouth at 9.45pm. Then following a text or two it was a 10 mile ride to near Fareham where our friends Pat and John kindly put us up for a couple of nights before we left for Brighton and the van.... Nearly 1100 km completed and feeling good.