To day was a very interesting day the distance was 87 kms and the climb was only 135 meters however the tail wind was around 25-35 kms out of the SW and as we were headed East-North-East. It was a real kicker. In fact there was no turning back to go look at something you missed. The couple of short stretches where we did have to go into the wind around some were tough as the dust and sand were flying right into your face.
We were off at just after 9:00 Am and were cruising along through a lot of side streets until we got out of Calais. Once out of Calais we spent a lot of time travelling down a busy 4 lane road. Fortunately we were on a separate bike path which was separated from the highway by an 8” high curb. This lane ran all the way into Dunkirk, which was at the 43 kms mark.
The route took us straight to the Dunkirk museum which honors the soldiers who were trapped in the Dunkirk pocket and were evacuated in the days of May 1940. The museum is housed in the bunker which was the British Headquarters. It was a very interesting museum and presented a much different perspective from the one I had always heard. They told the story how the British secretly started the evacuation without telling their allies and it wasn’t until the secret was out did they announce it. They also told the story how many of the French soldiers who were evacuated were returned to France only to be killed or captured. After we left the museum we cruised along the beach at Dunkirk and visited the dunes which the soldiers were evacuated from.
Right after Dunkirk we came to the Zuydcoote Military Cemetery. In it there were close to 5500 soldiers. There were approximately 2100 British and 2200 French soldiers plus about 1200 from other nations including 200 Canadians, 900 German. These were all soldiers who died in the Zuydcoote field hospital in 1917. The graves were organized into British Commonwealth, French and German each with their own style of marker. It was a very touching remembrance of a tiny part of World War One.
We turned onto a bike path which followed a long a large cannel and took us almost right into Neiuwpoort. The cannel path was great to cruise along as it was totally flat with perfectly smooth pavement and the tremendous tail wind. While on the path I crossed into Belgium, saw some great scenery and rode through a flock of sheep who were out by themselves enjoying the sunshine.
The cannels ended right at the ocean where there is a huge monument to one of the Belgium Kings and the WWI war memorial to the Battle of Neiuwpoort. It is somewhat unusual in that it is three sided and has these huge lion sculptures on each corner.
The final few kms into the hotel were down some back lanes befor we entered the resort town of Middelkerke Belgium where we are staying.