European Road Trip – 2015. Day 2 (9th June)

One of the reasons I love staying at “Aux Trois Maillets” is the breakfast. The sad part of this for me this time was that I had a 240 mile drive ahead of me to the hotel in Bayeux and I knew a heavy breakfast would have me falling asleep by the time I left their driveway !

I’ve posted many photos before of this breakfast spread and it really was funny how Monsieur kept bringing out more and more offerings and I hadn’t the heart to say…….”non” to him. Having said that, there were 2 other guests coming down soon after me so he was really just saving himself a few trips to and from the kitchen by getting everything on the table at this time.

All this for €52 (£37 or $56) a night !  Bargain.

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Having chatted with the other guests, managed some of the wonderful breakfast and packed my cases back into the car, I was on my way at 09:15.

Looking back at the route I took on this day, I see why I often found my mileages had differed from the expected mileages that I’d worked out before I left home. It was down to my old GPS (Sheila) as she had clearly decided that when I’d picked the “non toll roads” option, that really meant I didn’t care if she took me from A to B via the most bizarre and convoluted routes possible !

Fair enough. It was what I wanted after all.

And so it was that I soon came upon the little village of Le Boisle on the D928, a village I should never have passed through on my way to Bayeux according to Google Maps. It had a pretty church called Église Saint-Vaast with a WW1 war memorial in front of it and despite it being on a bend in the road, I had time to pause and snap a photo out the car window.

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About 5 miles miles on from the village, still on the D928, I saw a shrine alongside the road and stopped to investigate. I’ve no idea why it was there but as I’d been driving for about 90 minutes by then, I didn’t need much of an excuse to get out and stretch my legs……and wake up a bit more after that breakfast.

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Another 100 miles and 2 hrs along the route, that breakfast had been well and truly processed so I was ready for lunch. I was on the D675, just before Bosgouet and saw a roadside sign with the word “Grille” on it and that was good enough for me.

The road had just passed under the main E5 which would have taken me to the front of the restaurant so as I entered by the rear (stop that sniggering, NOW !!), I’ve no idea what it was called. The service was speedy if not particularly friendly and with my “tank” refueled, I was soon on my way again.

(This photo was taken on my phone so the quality isn’t good enough to zoom in on the menu)

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17 miles further on, Sheila did her thing again and when entering the small town of Pont-Audemer, she took me off the D675 for a few miles before joining it again but as often happened, this was no bad thing as I saw more of this charming little town and after crossing a picturesque bridge, I was able to look back at the weir that flowed under it.

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It was a short drive from here to the Ibis hotel in Bayeux which I’d picked as my base for seeing the world famous tapestry (except in France it seemed !!) and visiting the WW2 Normandy beaches. I knew the tapestry museum closed at 18:15 and as I didn’t get to the hotel till about 17:00, I decided to switch plans and go to the beach that evening and visit the museum next morning before leaving Bayeux.

So after checking in and having a short rest, I set off again and drove the relatively short distance to Omaha Beach, bypassing the city of Bayeux, and despite the howling wind, took several photos of the 2 main monuments there.

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This more modern looking monument is called “Les Braves” and was supposed to be temporary but the visitors like it so much, it remains on site, on the actual beach.

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The wind made it difficult to walk close to the first monument as it was just off the beach and the sand was whipped up into tiny stinging needles. I was also concerned with it getting into the camera but ironically things were ok actually being ON the beach. I went for a walk and I have to say, for me, it was impossible to imagine the horrors which took place there 71 years previously, almost to the day.  It was just like every other beach I’ve ever been on and so I decided to stop off at a cemetery on the way back into Bayeux for supper.

The Bayeux War Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in France and was completed in 1952, the year of my birth. It was very sobering to walk amongst the graves of these fallen servicemen and seeing how young most of them were.

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By now it was after 19:30 and I was hungry so I drove into Bayeux as it was on the way back to the hotel. I parked near the Cathedral and strolled around the city until I found somewhere to eat. I didn’t know what I wanted and hoped somewhere would jump out at me, so to speak. Despite being in France I fancied a Chinese but not finding one, I settled on somewhere less exciting but….handy !!

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After a sub and drink, I wandered around a bit more and some parts of the city, especially near the Cathedral, looked just like I imagined they did back in the war years so I’ve converted the photos to b&w to fit in.

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With a quick look at the outside of the Cathedral that I planned on visiting again in the morning, I had walked enough and made my way back to the car for the drive back to the hotel.

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It had been a long day what with the driving and the walking so I was more than ready for bed. This was the first of the 14 Ibis hotels I was going to be staying at on this trip and, as it turned out, just about any of them could have been this one in Bayeux. This was a standard Ibis budget room which was fine for me as a solo traveler. It was clean, had a decent bed and a great shower and as I only planned on using the bed that night, I didn’t even mind that the only chair looked more like an upturned bin !  Even by budget standards, that seemed a bit cheap.

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Next day I planned on seeing the Bayeux tapestry, visiting the Cathedral and then heading off further south into the middle of France………….

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