(Natalie writing)

Happy Fourth of July, America!

Today’s ride was the longest segment of the trip: 85 miles. But it was also one of the best so far. We really had perfect weather, some clouds for about half the day, becoming sunnier in the afternoon, a nice breeze, and temperature in the low 70s F. The route itself was very enjoyable, perhaps our favorite thus far. It was one we adjusted rather late in our planning, so we weren’t sure how it would turn out. We had only a few climbs at 10% grade or higher, which were briefly painful but manageable. We only had minor routing problems. We rode on lots of small farm roads, some bike paths, and through some especially beautiful forests. As we got closer to Berck it became just a bit more touristy but much less busy than most beach destinations. 

Our biggest disappointment has been that we didn’t schedule a rest day here! It is a quiet but quaint beach town and we really like it! (I’m sure it’s much busier on the weekend…. We’re here on a Tuesday evening, after all.)

We’re in an excellent Airbnb, too. 

Dinner was from a grocery store again, to give us more time on the beach, but this time it was honestly delicious: Pete found some microwavable tofu rice lentil dishes. Really yummy! We added some fresh produce and nuts to our meal as well.

Then to finish the evening we walked to the beach where we snacked, strolled in the sand and tide, took photos, and enjoyed the setting sun. We even saw a seal playing in the water near the shore.

A few more notes in general about the trip:

It has been delightful for me to be able to have all sorts of little conversations with various people in French! Of course our bike and our trip usually are part of the conversation, but all kinds of other things come up as well, like politics, family, and education. I am so happy I have strengthened my French in recent years so that I could use it and benefit from it on this trip.  

Pete and I have often remarked to reach other that we have experienced an amazing variety so far. Each day, each ride, each location has been so different from the others. Pretty cool!

And finally, as we anticipated, we are definitely having an atypical European vacation. But that’s exactly what we wanted. It is a great adventure!

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