Tuesday 5 August
As we left our village this day we stopped at the now derelict church that was blown up by the French Army during WW1 to stop the Germans using the tower as a look out post. It transpires that over 100,000 people lost their lives in this area during the first war. This area is also littered with military cemeteries.
We had a few miles of country road tarmac to traverse before getting back onto our route. I pedalled ahead in order to use a wifi hotspot that I had spied the day before. We had no accommodation booked for the next night, and this had to be rectified. The hotspot was at a tourist office near a large and popular 1st WW memorial. To my dismay, the tourist office and therefore the hotspot was not in action. This was Tuesday - we are finding that shops and services ( those that we need ! ) are closed on the 1st 2 days of the working week - we simply don’t understand this logic - most inconvenient to the intrepid traveller who needs things when he/she needs them !
Tony caught me up, we past the ruins of the Abbey of Mont Saint Eloi and continued our day in what was turning out to be another very hot day. We were heading for Arras, which, as we had been informed was a very beautiful city. All very well, but our main aim of the day was to get to the Orange ( mobile phone shop ) in order to sort Tony’s replacement phone out ( thanks Simon ! ). We had managed for almost a week with Tony being phone-less. He had coped very well ( outwardly ), and we had had no ‘ we can’t find each other in the French countryside’ disasters, but we would both give a big sigh of relief when he was back in the modern world.
We rolled and strolled along farm tracks and riverside paths towards Arras, and then through suburban parks and housing estates until we reached the city. It was indeed a lovely historical and clearly beautiful city. We did the Orange deed, and then found the city’s main square where Tony had a beer and I an Orangina to celebrate ( the city, the phone, life, everything ).
Our hotel ( no camping was to be found ) was on the outskirts of the city heading out the other side. We were both very tired at this point and it was still hot. We route-marched with great purpose and arrived doggedly at our destination. Tony went out on the bike ( yes, he walked all this way and I made him cycle - I will be struck down I’m sure ) to the local Carrefour and we had a banquet tea in our room.
Distance - 22.50 !
Distance since Helmsley - 615.85