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Published: January 5th 2020
A last Bonjour to you all. We are on our way home. We have booked the train to come home. We were offered 1.40 am , 4.40 am or 7.50. We chose the 7.50. We were warned that it would be busy and to expect delays . We just need now to work our way up the coast to Fecamp and then Calais.
Our first stop was to try to see Etretat. We failed miserably as the parking was some way out of the town and not enough to the coast . The recent rain meant that the road ran like a river. We gave up and headed on this grey old day for the fishing town and port of Fecamp on the Valmont River. We had sourced out a parking spot which was free for five hours. Overnight stopping was available for the princely sum of 5 euros. The aire was opposite the railway station and a touch scruffy. Large boulders separated the car park from us. What looked like travellers had set up camp , people were standing about and a skate park dominated the top end of the area. We parked up next to a van which
was empty. Over a coffee we debated whether to stop or move on. It felt scruffy. It did not make us want to stop. A man walked past us and tried the door of the empty van. He walked off . We couldn't make our minds out if he was trying to rob the van. He came back later with his wife and his dog. We chanced our arm and decided to walk up town to the Benedictine Abbey.
Walking into town was odd to say the least. The pavement spongy. It had been made up with the soft floor covering used in childrens playgrounds. We bounced up and down on it all the way to the Palais de la Benedictine.
The abbey /distillery where Dom Bernado Vincelli together with the monks produced Brandy to a secret recipe of herbs and flowers. The recipe was passed down to the La Grande family. The building looked like a Gothic fantasy. All turrets and Gothic windows. A home fit for the Adams Family or a home for Dracula. We walked around the outside where various articles relating to the distilling process were artfully displayed. It cost between 12 and 18
euros to visit the museum of both distillation and to see the treasures of the abbey plus a snifter or two or three of the brandy. We entered the glass covered conservatory filled with massive green palms . Sitting beneath them were the customers of the café. A sort of 1920's feel hit us. The shop was closed from this end so we walked around the corner to try to find the proper entrance . We found it as did another couple . However it was all shut up for lunch . We did not want to see it that badly so made the decision to move back into town.
Fecamp seemed very down at heel.
We ended up driving to Wissant to stay overnight on yet another free aire we had found on Searchforsites. A bible for finding stopovers. The area is renowned for its white sands and its Museum of the Atlantic Wall. Its name came from the Dutch Wit Zand - white sand. It was a fishing port close enough to the Tunnel without the issues of migrants joining us. The aire was heaving even at this time of year . Did you know that
Julius Caesar planned his invasion of the UK from Wissant ?. He sailed his ships from Wissant.
We plan to come back again and see what Wissant has to offer.
Waking up early we set off for the Tunnel . It was black when we left our site . It was still black when we arrived at checkin. For once we got an earlier train . In fact five trains earlier . 35 minutes later we set foot back on UK roads. To UK weather and thoughts of being home.
It is au revoir now to France and this most interesting of short breaks . See you again in May !!!
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