High-speed ferry for Ouistreham departs Portsmouth at 7am. As a result, we had to wake up at 5:15am to pack, cycle 5km to the ferry and be there ready for boarding 45 minutes before departure. Dianna was very surprised to see her parents wake up before she did for once.
Once packed, we cycled over to the ferry terminal. It was quite windy, SW at 30-35km/hr. Once boarded, we were told that the seas will be rough for the crossing. Normandy Express takes 3.5 hours to do 170km Channel crossing. According to my GPS it averages just over 60km/hr, quite fast for a big boat like her. First 2 hours was quite a bumpy ride. Once we got closer to the French coast the seas became more calm. Dianna slept for about an hour on the ferry. There were a lot of kids on the boat and everyone had trouble putting them to sleep 😉
We disembarked and took the voie verte (dedicated cycle path) along the Ouistreham – Caen canal. It is just over 17km and leads directly to the centre of Caen. There was a strong headwind all the way to Caen and it took us more than an hour to get to our hotel. The cycleway is a dedicated path going from the port direct to Caen. It’s smooth tarmac all the way.