The uneventful, yet fairly cool, fast ferry ride to France had me feet dry by around 6:45pm. Riding through the docks I kept waiting for some kind of passport control or something- anything indicating that I’d crossed one of the most historically contested bodies of water in the world and into another country. Nothing. Just a sign remiding me to keep to right. Fine, be that way.
I hit the road, heading towards Caen, and started considering my plans. As usual, I had nothing booked and no clue where I was going to stay. Perfect.
Not so fast there, bucko! Europe isn’t North America. It’s motoring culture came well after the land had been settled- highways avoid towns and are built in order to keep traffic moving while not disturbing the locals. North America’s development via the roads, where settlements grew to service the roads (and rails) and it’s travellers, naturally lead to the motel and the whole Route 66 style experience where you never leave to road- it’s all right there for you as you ride through. Europe doesn’t really work that way. Sure, some patches do, but in general you won’t pass somewhere to stay on the highway; you take the turn-off to the nearest town and hope they have a hotel of some sort. I did, and they did.
Here is when I know I’m in France. With a capital F. I end up in Carentan and find a hotel right on the main square. As I walk in, they’re closing the restaurant, but I saw another place a few doors down, so no worries. At the front desk I’m given 3 room options- room, room + breakfast, and, the capital F- room + breakfast + a bottle of wine. Just add a certain little Belgian and I’d be set!
Crap- I’m out of Internet time on the ferry. We’ll hopefully return to our regularly scheduled broadcast shortly.
I chose door #3.