Viva La France

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DeeGee, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Another trip th missus and I did last week, we crossed the Channel from England and did a whistle stop tour of the Normandy beaches, and a few memorials.

    Right folks here we go!
    Bike ready to roll
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    We got down to Folkestone a bit later than we had expected due to a minor detour through London Town :scratch:
    I was getting a bit giddy with my right wrist :bounce: and ............ Erm.............. :arrow: Well we(I) were going a bit too fast and I missed the turning :augie So after a few choice words we ended up riding past the millenium dome and ended up going through Blackwall tunnel :eek1
    Anyway we managed to get to our hotel in one piece! :1drink
    We were sat having a beer and this woman came in carrying loads of luggage which she had to put all her bags onto a poor trolley and wheel it all of 5 yards to the reception desk :huh :huh
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    Up the next day and after breakfast we were off on the tunnel, managed to do it without getting lost :D :D
    We got there and there was a bit of a queue :eek1
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    On the train
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    Half an hour later we were on French soil! :clap :ricky :ricky :thumb :thumb :thumb
    A couple of bizarre bridges and a few snaps of us on the road :super :super :super
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    My best Darth Vader impression :huh :bite
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    And many roads were just very, very very long and not a lot of traffic on them :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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    We stopped here for some food and something to drink :D :dutch
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    But they'd stopped serving food! :becca :becca :becca So we had a coffee each and carried on hungary :waysad :waysad
    Now I'm not one for Micky Dee's, but on this trip they were a Godsend!
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    We trammed on and it wasn't long before we started seeing relics of the war with large concrete gun turrets built ito the hillside just a stones throw from the coast. We kept away from the toll roads and we travelled a great road running alonside the coastline. The views were beautiful.
    But we stumbled across this large war cemetary and it kind of hit home what we were going over to France for. This was at Etaples and the graves were primarily from the 1st world war, but there were soldiers burried here from the 2nd world war, some total of almost 12000 bodies. :eek1 :huh :huh :huh :cry
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    Another stop off and we reached our hotel. That's all for today. I'll post some more tomorrow :wave:
    #1
  2. Wout67

    Wout67 Long timer

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    Thanks for posting all the pics. I'd love to get to France & ride some day.
    #2
  3. zadok

    zadok Long timer

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    Nice.:lurk
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Vive la différence!!

    Great start..... keep it coming please :thumb

    :lurk :lurk
    #4
  5. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    A few more snaps of the cemetary at Etaples.

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    Back on the road with a few thoughts asking myself if I was actually ready for all this? :defend It's only recently that I've shown any real interest in the goings on in the 2nd world war and what the soldiers actually did for not only our country, but probably the rest of europe. But hey ho I'm no preacher by a long shot and I just figured that it was about time I paid my respects to the fallen soldiers.

    Once we got to the hotel we did all the checking in and things and we went for a walk and a beer. Sadly on our way back the restaurant was closed so we had to make do with this

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    Next day after croissants, cheese, fruit, coffee and cake We went to find Pegasus Bridge.

    This is the original sign

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    This is the one we crossed as the original that was at the centre of one of the first conflicts of the 2nd world war has been erected in a nearby museum.


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    And this is the original one (complete with bullet holes in the metal!) in the grounds of the museum.

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    This is a replica of one of the original gliders that were involved in the transporation of the troops to the bridge. They were only made of wood!

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    And inside

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    This is a memorial to the soldiers in the exact spot where each of the three gliders landed. The closest was only 47 yards away from the bridge!

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    This is the first building that was liberated by the allies in the war. The lady that runs the cafe is the daughter of the gent that owned it during the war.

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    Back on the road we next visited the Merville Battery, again the original concrete bunkers were there to walk through.

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    I couldn't resist one of these though!

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    And it wasn't all doom and gloom, we did manage to have a bit of a laff and keep it a bit light hearted

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    A bomb, not sure which kind but it was a big bugger, Jack's stood at the side to give you an idea :eek2

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    Onwards and we did a quick tour of a radar museum

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    And then it was on the road again, this time we visited Most of the beaches Sword, Juno and Gold.

    These were taken overlooking Juno Beach, This mainly involved the Canadian Troops.

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    And I managed a quick spurt on my own :D :D :D

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    Then we moved along the coast to a town called Arromanche, overlooking Gold Beach, this was the job for the British troops. It looked so peaceful now it really was difficult to try to imagine what actaully happened on these shores only 60 odd years ago.

    The large objects in the sea are the remains of Mulberry harbour, this was an artificial concrete harbour which was "floated" over the channel then pieced together to make a working harbour to offload equipment from the large boats.

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    A memeorial overlooking the harbour and sea.

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    We stummbled upon this place en-route to our next stop. This was the batteries at Longues-sur-Mer menacingly overlooking the beach and sea.

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    And it was here we had our first tiff! :thumb :thumb :bluduh :bluduh

    As you can see

    I think the heat had got to us both :scratch :scratch

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    Back on the bike after a truce and an Ice cream

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    Next one along the coast was probably the most infamous of all due to the opening scene in the film Saving Private Ryan. Omaha. Again very peaceful and kind of eary at the same time, there was definately an aura about this place. We sat for a while again just trying to imagine the carnage that once was. :defend

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    The memorial at the beach

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    More tomorrow folks!

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    #5
  6. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa AA Zoom Baby

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    :clap

    Enjoying your first RR, DeeGee. Keep it coming'.
    #6
  7. aurel

    aurel Cheese&Wine!

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    Vive la France ! :clap

    Thanks to all the guys from USA who crossed half of the world on boats to give their life for Europe and save our ass... Even if relations between US and France are not at the best we don't forget their ultimate sacrifice.
    #7
  8. Extreme Velcro

    Extreme Velcro Vegan Junk Food Addict

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    I can't help but think of all the blood that was spilt on those beaches - its the most horrific thought. Again, what did those guys think while lying there...

    My Dad was on the other side of the world in Russia (German) and had the scars to prove it. It all seems so sad that so many had to die because of power mad fools. Mankind will never learn !

    Anyhow, hopefully more pics evocative of our history - pity those whose land all these battles are fought on as well and yet of course, it ends up being fascinating for those of us who follow in the footsteps of the dead.

    Especially Europe - a long and bloody history....

    Whoops, sorry, went off on a bit of a philosophical path there - please more pics and thanks for the RR so far. Super interesting !
    #8
  9. Le Dahu

    Le Dahu Katse rider

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    "Allons enfants de la Patrie..."

    Great shot, Thanks!
    #9
  10. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    After Omaha beach we headed for the American Cemetary at Collville St Laurent. We got there just before 6pm and they were just closing :(: :(: :(:

    We headed back to the hotel and since it was my birthday that day we decided to head off into town for a slap up meal and a few beers! :beer :beer

    I felt robbed after the taxi fare cost us 30€ for a five minute taxi ride :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 into town!

    Anyway we found a nice restaurant and ate! :D

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    Now look at this!! :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 :eek1

    I was testing my tastebuds and I decided to have Moules Mariniere for starters. :wink:

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    After I ate a good few I wondered what the "crunch" was and I decided to investigate a little further............:brow :brow

    I found this!!! :eek2
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    Look closely and you can see a tiny crab. I looked in almost all the mussels I ate and they all had a tiny crab in each one :eek1
    Here's another

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    Anyway I ate up and we both enjoyed the rest of our meal

    Cheers! :freaky

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    Next day after our usual brekky

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    We headed off for The cemetarys'

    First up was the British One in Bayeaux A total of 4868 soldiers are buried here. :eek1

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    This is the memorial at the roadside

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    And I hope that this works ok, it should be a 360 degree video of the cemetary. Fingers crossed! :huh

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    When I was a few years younger I sometimes did wonder why we went to all the trouble of the rememberance Sunday with the poppys and the church service and wondered why we couldn't get on as it was all in the past. (Obviously my views have changed now!) I read this plaque at the memorial in the cemetary and this hit the spot. :(:

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    A couple more shots of us at the gates

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    A few pictures from inside the museum

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    Back on the road with a few more quiet thoughts. Then I couldn't miss the opportunity. :D :D

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    Then we visited the American Cemetary in Colleville St Laurent here there is a staggering 9386 soldiers buried here :eek2

    This is the sight that greeted us

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    And as we walked around

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    And there were many of these! Read the inscription on the cross

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    And hopefully this is another 360 degree video.

    More tomorrow folks :D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Y5EwpUPHI
    #10
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    A beautiful but sad sight indeed :cry

    :lurk
    #11
  12. Extreme Velcro

    Extreme Velcro Vegan Junk Food Addict

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    Magnifique....keep it coming !
    #12
  13. greengoose

    greengoose n00b

    Joined:
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    West Jordan UT
    Thanks for sharing the ride I have always wanted to go to these places
    #13
  14. jhuth

    jhuth Been here awhile

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    Northern VA-DC
    :devildog


    :lurk
    #14
  15. seriousracer

    seriousracer be a man dodge tree bark

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    i am not f***ng stupid,but i used too. niles mi.
    when we were there a few weeks back i was amazed at that there was some houses/building that still had battle damage. some were abandon . but some looked like bullet holes .

    good stuff .

    i was torn between which way i wanted to go when i was there. i felt i did not have enough time to and see everything on that side so i choose the med side. but probably will go back next year for this side.

    not to hijack but here is my thread, picture and video links.
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=377509
    #15
  16. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Here's a few more snaps from the American War Cemetary.

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    I was quite suprised at how close the cemetary actually was to the sea? But I guess it was the most practical place. The grounds were immaculately kept.

    These were taken at another memorial map overlooking the sea.

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    And a quick video of the beach

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    This is the statue of peace at the entrance of the Cemetary

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    And looking at the entrance on our way out.

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    Back on the road we visited the museum just up the road from Omaha Beach

    One of the original landing crafts

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    Some artillary

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    I was quite suprised at the next picture! :eek1 :eek1 All the fighting that took place the soldiers still made time to kick back with sports and other recreational things. Check out the football boots! :D

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    This is an original door of one of the landing crafts that was dug up in 2003

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    A bit more light hearted stuff :D I like this one :thumb

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    And this is even better! :D :jack

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    Now for some food! :tb :tb :tb Quiche and french fries

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    Getting ready for the road :ricky

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    We moved along the coast and visited Pointe du Hoc This was the area where the Canadian Rangers climbed the cliffs and took control of the large guns at the top.

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    Some bomb holes

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    To give you an idea of the depth this is the same pic as the one above, but I'm in it :wave

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    A bit of damage from the allied bombs. :eek1

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    Back on the road and we took a look at Utah Which was the last beach of the tour, this was occupied by the American and Canadian Forces.

    Overlooking the beach

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    Next up we went onto a town called Saint mere Eglise. This town is infamous for an American Paratrooper who landed on the steeple of the church. In memory of the soldiers poor fate the villagers decided to put a manakin paratrooper on the church roof.

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    And the stained glass window from inside the church. A tribute to the American paras.

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    Time to call it a day and I'll finish it tomorrow :D
    #16
  17. Extreme Velcro

    Extreme Velcro Vegan Junk Food Addict

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    Please do - I'm loving this slice of history...
    #17
  18. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Fantastic, especially for those of use on the other side of the world! :thumb

    :lurk
    #18
  19. koncha

    koncha .

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    Pointe du Hoc was taken by the men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, US Army. As far as I know, no Canadians on that operation. However, your pictures are great.

    My wife and I were there in June. That part of France is just beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing.
    #19
  20. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Yes you're right :rolleyes I stand corrected.

    On with the rest of the trip guys! :wink:

    While we were having breakfast I picked up a newspaper and as I was flicking through it I came across this picture (Not literally you understand! :(: ) I don't know what they're doing............................ You can draw your own conclusion! :wink:

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    We had a quick look at the huge memorial in Caen before we headed off, this large artifact was imposing on the front lawn.

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    And a few snaps of the British Memorial garden

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    Outside the entrance to what was a huge imposing building.

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    On the road we headed for a town called La Cambe, this is where the German Cemetary is.
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    At this Cemetary there is a mindblowing :kboom 21,160 YES! 21,160 German troops buried here :eek1

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    The huge statues at the top of the mound

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    Looking at the entrance from up top.

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    And to the rear

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    A few more snaps of the cemetary and the graves

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    We noticed that all the cemetarys' from each of the countries involved were very different in their own right, but there was two common factors that was shared with each one we visted; A lot of the soldiers were very young men, 17/18/19 years old and there were many un-named soldiers who lay to rest.


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    The rest of the day we visited a couple more museums and we enjoyed the sunshine and the open roads, this was a much welcomed novelty as we are almost gridlocked every day here in England where I live.

    When we got back to our hotel we had to pack up as we were leaving for Calais the next day. So our wardrobes had to be packed. :D

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    After we packed we strolled across to a local restaurant (the one that had a stopped serving food a couple of nights prior!)

    We had a pizza each and it was gorgeous! :D :D :D :D

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    Now I don't know what they put in mine :scratch :scratch :scratch

    But it tasted great, but it had some weird effect! :eek1
    This is before :D
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    This is during

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    And this is after :stoned :stoned :stoned :stoned
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    Next mornig it was raining :cry

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    We wanted to take a leisurely ride back up the coast and stopping off a few times on the way.

    But the only stops we made was this kind

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    After getting lost a few times with the satnav, the most bizarre one was it telling us to cross a bridge over a big river on a bridge that didn't exist :bluduh :scratch :scratch :scratch :bluduh

    Anyway on we pushed and again thankfully our friend Mickey Dee came to the rescue as we had a bit of a rest from the rain and filled up with hot coffee and a bite to eat :D

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    We eventually got to Calais around five, we had a much welcome shower and changed into some dry clothes and went to eat and drink!

    The next day we were back on the channel tunnel early doors

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    Once we were back in old Blighty we were invited to a friends who was visiting his parents in Folkestone for a bacon butty and a brew. We obliged, but I didn't get any pics unfortunately.

    The long ride back up to Leeds was pretty uneventful, I just hooked up my ipod and enjoyed some tunes while tramming up the boring A1 in horrible windy conditions.

    But we eventually made it home safe and sound!
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    Thanks for all your comments and views folks :clap :clap :clap

    It was a short trip in all, but we managed to cram loads in and pay our respects to the fallen troops.

    A big Thanks to my missus who paid for most of the trip for my birthday! :D :feelgood
    Cheers Hun.
    #20