On May 28th 1972 I was in Bayeux in France.
I remember thinking as we drove off the ferry in Cherbourg that there probably were not that many others who were planning such a long journey - to be going to India. It seemed a very big moment, an ordinary ferry, the 12.30 from Southampton.
This was not really the first night of the journey. We started off by driving north to Durness in the far north of Scotland where we had friends. We wanted to test the Land-Rover and the camping gear before leaving the UK. We actually spent the first night pitching the tent free somewhere near Keilder Forest, on a branch of the North Tyne. But crossing the channel was the big moment.
We spent that night on the Camping Municipal outside Bayeux. It was just a convenient (and cheap) place to stay the night. We had covered about 86 miles that day from a campsite above Southampton, plus the Channel crossing. We wandered a bit more the next day, shopping in Putanges for lunch which we took at a green and sunny spot off a tiny road by the River Orne. That night we camped in a free site by a canal outside Chartres. We didn't see the Tapestry in Bayeux but we did visit the cathedral in Chartres. The pattern was set for cheap living, simple camping, self-cooked meals, minor roads.
It would be another three months before we reached Asia.
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