11 September 2006

Arrassing About - Aftermath - Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast the plan was to go into the town for a look around, then to Vimy and Lille for lunch.

As we were very leisurely things changed. Firstly as we left the parking the barrier came down so quick I got left behind as the others shot off. The guy in the control box opened it for me!

In town there wasn't much to see on a Sunday morning, and after a walk around to look for a chocolate shop we had a coffee and changed the plan. Still Vimy Ridge but Cassel for lunch rather than Lille.

So we set off on Plan B. Betsy was still playing up so it was me to lead again - b*llocks.

Despite the criticism of the day before - okay, I did go through a red light, but in mitigation it was as I was on the outside of an old t*sser in a car and saw the pedestrian light go green and shot off. No one got hurt - I led us out of the town, via a petrol station and then on the direct route to the Canadian Monument. I don't accept the criticism that I don't give way at roundabouts! Unless there's a stop sign, I watch the left (in France!) and if the other vehicles are a way off I go. If they are close, I stop! I don't see the point off giving way to empty tarmac.

All would have been well, and the route Doris planned for us is there on the Michelin map for all to see, if the highways people hadn't decided to build new roads, rebuild old ones and close others. After some very off-roading that led up to the top of an unfinished fly over.... We found the N17 (the way I would have gone without Doris' assistance!) then they managed to mention the "deviation" that took us in a huge loop to the monument. When we arrived in the car-park the entire thing was covered in white shrink wrap" plus the waking areas lined with the names of the 40000 or so Canadian troops killed on the assault of the ridge was covered up too.

Doris, using Nigel's map and waypoints, led up off the wrong way and looped around to almost where we had just left. The reason? We hadn't actually tripped the waypoint and so Doris was taking us to it. Some re-programming and we were off.

I am almost certain that between Vimy and Cassel that there are some major roads, or if not major, some without grass in the middle. Sadly, despite being set to "quickest" route, we had a magical mystery tour around rural Nord Pas-de-Calais.

We eventually arrived at the hilltop town where the Duke of York (not the current fat Andrew) marched his men up and down in the nursery rhyme. Despite the cobbles on the way up the town is very picturesque and motorcycle friendly. We went to a bar with a choice of hundreds of beers, but as it was lunch time we had light beers. But it is a place to go back to another time and stay locally so we can try them out. Some of the Belgian Trippels were 10 degrees of alcohol.

We then set off, with me leading again across country from Cassel through Watten towards Ardres and Guines, the last bit retracing our steps on the way out. This time not stopping at the Drap d'Or cafe, although it was open.

A trip we were given last time was to go through the Priority check-ins at Coquelles. They are self-check as the rest but tend to have no one queuing at them! It does work. Try it, but don't tell anyone else!!

We joined the queue for the 1711 train and less than an hour later Claire and I were being ignored by our cats and settling down for a nice cup of tea in our own house.

We both had a good weekend away and it has given us some ideas for other trips. There was some talk of the group taking a longer trip at Easter 2007. Maybe across to the Ardennes? We'll see. I just hope I don't have to lead again - too much stress.

Didn't take any pics today as I just didn't have time!

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