This was the only day on the journey when we had to get somewhere at a certain time. We had 70km to cover and needed to check in by 4:00 pm. So we were on the road soon after 7:30. The forecast had said the day would start windless and get stronger in the afternoon. What we had not expected was fog. Not quite fog but a heavy morning mist – enough that we were concerned not to have useful lights.
The road was busy with people going to work, but we soon began a long gentle descent. Not enough to stop peddling but enough to make the work very easy. Eventually we were able to turn off into lanes that promised to take us down by the river. We were nervous of getting lost but it was worth it to be out of the traffic.
All went well and before noon we were alongside the Seine and underneath the Pont de Normandy.
We went up the ramp to be met by a sign saying – no way for pedestrians or cyclists and pointing down a couple of flight of steps to get to the walkway on the far side. Leaving the bikes and Elaine where they were, I went across to be met by an identical sign on the other side.
We discussed the situation with a non English speaking French couple and eventually decided that the sign saying – pedestrians please stay on the pavement – took precedence and that we would walk over together.
At the far side we followed a blue path for almost a km to the toll booths. The path ended at a long stairway climbing to a footbridge over the roadway. So we cycled back to the bridge because at this end there was a tunnel underneath the road that we could cycle through. Then back to the toll booths. At this side there was a ramp to the footbridge. And blessedly a lift to take bodies and bikes down to ground level. I still have no idea what they were trying to achieve.
Immediately past the bridge we joined a bike path which turned left and led us alongside the very busy main route for trucks going into the port. Then being French it stopped. No choice but to dice with death for 5 km till we could turn right towards the city. After that we were mostly able to avoid the trucks by riding on the pavement.
We made our way into Le Havre elated that we had actually done it. We thought we would have a nice lunch and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. We did not choose very well. We had the worst meal of the entire trip and the did not even serve champagne.
Once on board and in our cabin we feasted on cheese sandwiches and half a bottle of bubble bought in the ships bar. As usual within 20 minutes of eating we were fast asleep.