Day 2: Caen to Bordeaux

After a fairly rubbish night’s sleep on the ferry (the reclining seats were far less comfy and warm then they first seemed), we arrived in Caen at about 7.30am local time. Unfortunately due to there being no one at Customs to check our passports and so having to wait 15 minutes, we missed all the potential hitching from the ferry traffic. Undeterred, we decided to start walking to Caen centre to find the main road out in the right direction. However, when the ferry claimed to be going to ‘Caen’, what it actually meant was ‘a small town near Caen’ as we found Caen is actually about 10 miles inland! So now we found ourselves very cold walking around in this small town with very little traffic at 7.45 in the morning…

Luckily we managed to hitch our first lift after only -5 minutes of waiting. Yes, we got picked up before we had actually started waiting (we were still writing our signs!) This was by a nice British couple who lived in Brittany and were currently touring around Europe in a motor home. It turns out they had been chatting with another group of hitchers on the ferry and so recognised our green hitch attire! They gave us a lift all the way to just outside Rennes, dropping us off by a junction onto the main road to Nantes.

After only about 10-15 minutes of waiting, a kind French (very French-looking!) carpenter stopped for us – although he wasn’t going all the way to Nantes he would be heading in that direction for about 35km. Kat sat in the front seat while I sat in the back of the van with all the tools! After this lift we had a coffee break (including a massive pain-au-chocolat) at the service station where we were dropped. Here we found French service stations are nowhere near as extensive or busy as those in Britain – there were very few people around. This led to our longest wait yet of an hour (still hardly a huge wait!) We were picked up by a Brazilian-turned-Frenchman called Octavio, who was visiting his daughter in Nantes, and was also a professor of Materials Chemistry. Very helpfully he took us around the Nantes ring-road to a service station just before the exit for Bordeaux, before heading into the centre. This took us to about lunch time so we… had lunch!

Having waited for so long at another service station this morning, our hopes were not too high for a quick departure. After asking around the vehicles at the site, we resumed our usual tactic of standing by the route to the exit. Amazingly after only about 20 minutes of waiting, we were offered a lift by a very nice Portuguese lorry driver named José, who was going directly all the way to Bordeaux! This was a very long stretch – about 350km – and took about 5 hours! Unfortunately due to having got next-to-no sleep on the ferry, we were very tired and probably not great conversation, but we were massively thankful to José! Once arriving in Bordeaux, we located a cheap hotel nearby as soon as possible!

2 Responses to “Day 2: Caen to Bordeaux”

  1. Catrin says:

    Trust you to get excited about tools.

  2. Roger Warmington says:

    Hey!.. Nantes _ travelling through Grandpas’ area!?!..

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