Day 1: Mission accomplished

An early start avoided the worst of the traffic to St Helier. Great that our daughter was there to see us off at stupid o’clock in the morning. Also thanks to Mike and Alistair for coming along to say goodbye.

Uneventful boat journey, though Louise coerced me into buying a video camera for the bike in duty free; something else to set up and worry about!

More horrendous than usual getting out of St. Malo, couldn’t work out why, but soon in the quiet country lanes. Stopped at a small village to eat the first of the chicken wraps we had bought on the way down. Louise declared that she was astonished we had only done 11k; it’s going to be a long 6 months.

We were on the way to Mont St Michel, first along the fairly busy coast road, then into a well signposted cycle track that started on the top of a dike.

Although the path was good, Claud would not fit through the gates which appeared at every intersection, designed to allow bikes through, but keep cars out. This did mean a constant getting on and off, which was a bit of a pain. It also meant we saw no civilisation for about 25k.

We were hoping to stop, have a coffee and maybe a few chips on the way, but we ended up having the second of our wraps by the side of the path in the middle of nowhere.


We also ended up cycling for too long a stretch than we had planned, by the time we were heading towards Mont St Michel on an increasingly busy path, Louise was tired and complaining of sore legs, hands and back; we needed to stop.

Mont st Michel was mobbed, which for some reason took us by surprise. We had the obligatory photo and then decided to get the hell out of there. We hoped to find a bar or restaurant on the way to our Air B&B booking in a small village about 7k from the mount.


Of course we found nothing, but did manage to find the farmhouse where we were staying the first time of asking. Michelle and Jean-Pierre welcomed us and we sat with them and chatted the best we could (our French is conversational, their English nil). We soon discovered that it was a national holiday that day (hence the crowds), which meant that the restaurant on the village was ‘ferme’, as was the other restaurant close by.

We had no food packed and decided that the only thing we could do was cycle back to Mont St Michel to have an overpriced meal in a crowded and touristy restaurant.

Jean Pierre then asked if we would like to eat with them. He explained that he did not normally offer guests an evening meal and the food would be ‘simple’. (Actually he explained all this via Google translate, which was rather cool). Simple food? In France? Don’t mind if I do sir!

The food was fantastic and it was great to spend the evening with them, both retired and him still running marathons! He put Claud away for me and then showed me around the 1758 building he is renovating, somewhat slowly it would appear to my untrained eye.

Reflecting on the first day, we had made the fundamental mistake of not having enough food in case we needed it. Apart from a couple of villages outside St Malo we had barely seen a shop and they would have been closed anyway on this holiday. We had also made the mistake of cycling for too long without a break. This was partly due to the late start.

Both of these we need to rectify over the coming days; we had a always recognised that the first four days of this trip would be a bit demanding and we will have to make a  few tweaks to our approach have to make sure it goes OK.

Just seen the weather for Wednesday – torrential rain 😩.




17 thoughts on “Day 1: Mission accomplished”

  1. On our (admittedly much shorter) tours in France we usually stocked up with fresh bread, cheese ham and fruit before we set off for the day so we always had stuff for a picnic with us! Sounds like it is going to be a brilliant trip tho if that action packed first day is anything to go by!

    1. The plan for tomorrow Colin! Assuming we can find somewhere open! Will Do what I do when walking in the Pyrenees; bread, fruit, dry biscuits, cheese etc. Might have to lose the stoker to carry that lot though😀😀

  2. Congratulations, you’ve got further than most folk, who plan a bit then change their minds thinking it’s madness. You will get to grips with everything quick enough, and sail the rest of the trip!

  3. Oh dear, Bank Holiday in France ! We once had that experience, had cycled 73 miles and nothing was open. Eventually found a bar that had Croque Monsieur as the only thing on offer, we don’t eat meat so had to take the ham out !

    1. Yup, it is a bit like that! I really thought we were going to have to do something similar or end up eating all the malt loaf bars……….😵

  4. Nice one folks, quite an eventful first day! Now you could not have predicted all that whilst you were munching your breakfast at the Harbour cafe this morning!

  5. Well done you two for being so brave and adventurous! Life is living 😊 Have a fantastic trip, you will learn a lot along the way no doubt about it. If you have a detour to Portugal, the spare room is yours! ️Xx

    1. Thank you so much! We are hoping to finish in Spain, but no idea how we will get back from there. Portugal not out of the question, so may look you up!

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