Monday, 2 August 2010

• Norwich-to-Aylesham via Marriott's Way (I)

"Today's ride was intended to be the first leg of a long weekend cycling round the North and East coast of Norfolk. Our plan for the day was to take the train from Cambridge to Norwich and cycle from there to Cromer, on the North coast. After some initial difficulty finding our way out of Norfolk City Centre, we found our way onto the Marriott's Way cycle path which runs along the route of a disused railway line. We followed the path almost all the way to Reepham. Having learned that we would be unable to spend the night in Cromer, after all, we took to the roads and headed due East through Aylesham to North Walsham. At North Walsham we boarded a train on the Heron Line back to Norwich and returned home." -- Steve

Ah, well. We really planned this trip; this, our first ever attempt at doing the 'B&B Thing' (as opposed to the 'Camping Thing' which, although almost flawless in the dependability department, was heavy on the panniers)  In my view camping also lacked a certain breathy sense of risk and adventure...

So we packed carefully but kept our panniers rather light in weight; after all, we would be sleeping in a bed and eating in a pub (or so we thought!)

For a start, getting out of Norwich itself was a real hassle as we hadn't thought to bring (or find) a Norwich street plan! Navigating in a fairly substantial town/city with an Ordinance Survey map is not advisable. Neither was the offering from Google Maps (which was flawed only because Morrison's wasn't on it!)

Anyway, truth-be-told, we erred quite early on - taking a wrong turn and having to double back on ourselves to set on course. By the time we made the Marriott's Way we were nigh on knackered. But we carried on anyway deciding to take our first break just beyond Drayton. We cycled another hour or so before realising that our initial estimate of time of arrival at the B&B was (having started out 2 hrs late and lost 30 minutes in Norwich) more than somewhat inaccurate.  We would have to 'phone the B&B to advise them of our delay. This task fell to Steve - only because he had made the reservation (and because I wasn't in the mood to volunteer...). So, at our scheduled lunch stop, Steve did his duty...

What should have been a simple 'phone call to confirm our reservation and revise our time of arrival turned out to be a very different affair indeed! The B&B end of the 'phone was in crisis - there was a family emergency and the host at the end of the line to Steve was doing his best to funnel B&B guests like us to other guest houses - whilst maintaining his composure. In our case, he was not successful on either count - we needed to make 'other arrangements', which  - all things considered - meant that we were pretty screwed.


We decided to have a go and cycle on, in hopes that we might find a random place along the way which might have a vacancy...

--- ...To be Continued... ---

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