Friday 2 November
The last day of this adventure has been jam-packed with activity. Firstly, we popped into Étaples so that my passport could be updated (I had to have tape-worm medication too, as is the norm for canines entering the U.K.). We then strolled through the town which, unlike yesterday, was superbusy; it really was a totally different experience to yesterday’s visit where the absence of people gave it a ghost-town feel.
Maybe because today was a normal day (not a bank holiday like yesterday) where people were going about their everyday business, plus the shops and a buzzing street market were operational, we were seeing Étaples at it really is? I was disappointed in the place yesterday but today I enjoyed visiting; I would describe it as, ‘French-France, typically shabby-chic and traditional. Ooh-la-la’. Yelp!
Calais was a surprise too. We have driven past and through this town many times but never bothered to visit. I’ll do my best to describe Calais – especially as it appears to attract bad press in the main. The Town Hall is very, very impressive from the outside. It is far bigger and far more ornate than most Town Hall’s I have seen – with gleaming-gold decorations on the pretty clock tower. The surrounding garden is neatly planted out with (mostly) winter pansies and the lawns are very well maintained, as are the trees.
We did struggle to find what you would call the ‘heart of the town’. There appear to be two ‘Town Centre’s’; neither of which would draw any of us back but who are we to tell anyone what to do, really. Yelp! The area around the wonderfully ornate theatre houses a few pretty buildings, a huge modern shopping complex and perhaps one or two traditional eating places.
The area to the north of the Town Hall offers a lovely park – which was dedicated to Chinese Festival of Lights and full of allsortsofwonderfulthings – and many restaurants and street cafes.
We found a lovely place for lunch. Leigh’s fish dish was amazing.
From Calais we drove to ‘Majestic Wines’ so that my humans could stock up on Christmas drinks. I won’t tell you how many bottles they purchased. Yelp!
Then we decided to drive through Boulogne-sur-Mer on the way home. Time was getting on so we didn’t have time to really explore this town but it’s on my list for another year. It is apparently Frances largest fishing port and specialises in herring. Tom took the coast road back from Boulogne and seeing a sign for some sand-dunes decided to stop the car so that we could take a walk.
Oh my. The dunes were wonderful; grassy, hilly and wild. The beach beyond them was huge – broad and wide and sandy. There were several canines – all off-lead – so I managed to socialise with a rather bigboy which was fun.
The sea air was good for all of us. After about a thirty minute walk – Leigh and I did some running too – we wound our way back to the car. Before doing so I cleverly managed to write a message in the sand.
Approaching our campsite we realised our neighbours were heroes. We are situated next to a huge Commonwealth Military Cemetery where over 11,500.00 soldiers, cut down in the prime of life during both World Wars, lie sleeping. It is, indeed, humbling.
I am left with nothing else to tell you apart from this is the last adventure in ‘Travels with Martha’. I have decided to retire and rest my pounding paws. So, I leave you with a final photo and a huge woofy-thank-you for coming along on my European Adventures.
Woofs, Martha xx