A 400k run across 4 countries. We had covered three by our morning tea break. None of this 40 days in one country stuff. The addition of Holland and Belgium were not on our original list of visited countries, so this pushes the tally up to 19 with four additional countries we would have added if we had climbed the fence that we were skirting around: Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Serbia.
It was cool and wet again today. I even needed a light jumper over the T shirt. And the forecast is for more rain, just as they seem to be ready to harvest the wheat over here and we are heading to England to do some walking in the Lakes District after Abingdon is reached tomorrow.
Despite some interesting places to stop and explore, such as Brussells, Ghent and Brugge, we kept to the autobahns for most of the journey as we had stopped in these towns on our bike ride to Paris last year. Instead we headed for Dunkirk just to the north of Calais for lunch.
One of the things that has stunned me on this trip, is that we have watched wheat been grown from just to the south of Beijing across most of the two continents we crossed, to the edge of the Atlantic where we passed fields today, ready to harvest and the Garmin told me we were at an altitude of -6 metres. There is a lot of wheat grown in that area, most of it used in bread and noodles.
It was grey, blustery and spitting with rain in Dunkirk. The brightly coloured changing sheds were empty and the beach was deserted. Loris sat in the car to eat her sandwich, I sat on a concrete bench to savour the elements. Some may have been tempted to immerse their bodies in the Atlantic, just to say they had done it, but with a less than inviting mid-summer picture, I resisted. Instead we lined the car up on the promenade for a photo of it next to the sea and a fitting bookend to the journey from the Pacific near Shanghai to the Atlantic.
Tomorrow we board the train at 0850 for the short run under the Channel to emerge at Folkstone. Our hotel for the night is the Holiday Inn just up the road from the rail terminal. On our way to the hotel, we took a detour past the railway line. Its surrounded by a high barbed wire fence and guarded by a number car loads of Gendarmes.