We set out from Calais towards Béthune at about 8.30; a bit late while adjusting to the time change. And great breakfasts take time.
Today’s version of Via Francigena is really for walkers but of course, medieval pilgrims didn’t follow one particular route. And nor will we. We followed Euro Velo Route 5 much of the day but the Komoot app often suggested ‘better’ paths. ‘Better’ can also mean ‘over’ so there were some hills. Apple don’t yet advise cyclists, Google suggestions were a useful cross check but what really matters is the street signage. And generally speaking, the infrastructure for cyclists today were excellent. Puts the Hibernian Isles to shame. Anyway, we’re on Our Francigena.
Highlights: the morning hazy light in the rolling Pas de Calais, after crossing the steaming, flat Marais water-world. Second breakfast was a chocolate brioche (the first had provided the three double espressos needed to restore me).
Challenges: the route to Béthune was 96 km – sure, lots of it was canal-path flat but five bags are heavy and were very resistant to the headwind.
Outlook: there will be pain tomorrow (all puns intended) since it will 25 C (at least). Can we make Péronne?