Fr. Matthew Cashmore

Priest in the Church of England. Trustee SPCK. Father, husband, son. "Small acts of Good change the world."

Tag: europe

France, really?

850 miles to Dieppe. Easy enough, 400 today then the balance tomorrow. The budget has got a bit tighter as I realise I’ve left my credit card at home and I plan how to get to Dieppe in the most fuel efficient, toll efficient way. Fortunately it’s easy. Via the toll roads it’s 890 miles, avoiding the toll roads it’s 770. So the short, but long way it is.

I’ve never wanted to thank my Tom Tom more,  today it showed me parts of Spain I had no idea existed, as we drew closer to the foothills of the Pyrenees, I rode through village after village that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a post card for the alps. I started riding at 7am this morning and by 1pm I’d just about crossed the border – a mere 180 miles in 6 hours riding.

I don’t care, I’ve stopped, I’ve appreciated, I’ve taken photographs; and no one has asked me for money (not counting the petrol station attendants).

By lunch time I’m nearing the border and decide to dash into a little shop before I do and grab some bread, cheese and salami for lunch, on my way out I notice that the jam is on special offer – how can I resist!

50 miles later and I’m sat on the beach of Saint Jean de Luz, pen knife in one hand, jar of jam in front of me and a baguette, smothered in the contents of said jar in the other hand. I try to ignore the fact that the jam has dribbled down my chin and threatens to drop onto my last clean shirt, because wiping it off would mean disturbing the perfect balance of salami on one knee and cheese on the other.

Utter bliss.

I hit 450 miles and decide enough is enough, I start looking for cheap hotels, remember this is France and hit the Tom Tom of the nearest Formule 1. Done, 50 miles to go and then sweet, cheap sleep. It’s not to be however, the hotel has shut down and my only option is the 39 euro a night jobbie I spotted 10 miles earlier – ahh well there goes the budget.

Dropping bags, coats, tent etc in the room I pause only to note the free wi-fi, grab the laptop and head into town to write up the last couple of days and to enjoy good French food and wine – a success on both counts. I’ll be here again.

I love France. Or did I say that already?

National Day

Red & WhiteHere in good old GB it’s National Day – I’d say it’s a riot of colour, but actually it’s a riot of red and white – everywhere. You can’t turn around without seeing the colours balzened over people, shops, animals and even the drinks. The Gibraltarians take this very seriously!

I’ve spent most of the day joining in the party, drinking red drinks and laughing at the very few people who didn’t get the message that today you had to wear red & white – it’s a bit like playing spot the tourist – oddly I don’t feel like a tourist – not sure why.

I’ve made a lot of friend here and I’m going to be quite sad to leave. The day before Yesterday I met a couple of polish backpackers on their way into Spain and a chap called Ed who had just come out of Morocco. It was my duty of course to purchase him a beer and get the very latest intel. Yesterday 4 new people joined me in the Youth Hostel dorm – 2 backpackers from Brighton and 2 German chaps – very nice people who are all 7 years younger than me but can’t hold their drink – inexperience.

Tomorrow I leave for Morocco. Wish me luck.