Not on the bike but in the car.
It was Claire's friend, Elizabeth's birthday recently and a trip across to France seemed like a good idea. She's not been for a while and we don't need any excuse to get the bike or car packed for a day away. We chose the Tunnel, it's not cheap but split three ways it's not bad for something different.
We were booked on the 0920 shuttle out and there didn't look to be too many vehicles ahead, but nevertheless we weren't offered an alternative crossing. Often when you arrive in good time, they offer you a chance to go earlier. Not today,
After a coffee in the terminal we made our way to the first queue, passports, surprisingly the UK Border Agency waved us through and the French took little interest either. The crossing is pretty quick and we were driving off on French soil just before 11am. I got in the wrong lane and we had a tour of Calais to get on the coast road, the D940. Once there we had the dunes to the right. One of them is where Louis Bleriot landed called Blériot-Plage.
There were probably fewer people about when he took off from France on July 25th 1909 and landed near Dover Castle.
Our first stop was at Cap Blanc Nez. Since we were last there they have wiped out the car parks at the top and built a new one of the approach road to create walking paths and some lookouts across the sea that incorporate some on the German "Atlantic Wall" concrete edifices. At one point away from the Foch Memorial, the path is actually the top of a bunker. Information boards give an insight into the occasion when Goering and Hitler stood up there to look across at England, plus information on the Atlantic Wall itself.
The reason for crowds and delays was that there was a cross country running race taking place. The route of which seemed to zigzag back and forth across the D940. A further detour to avoid an inexplicably closed Wimereux meant we lost a bit of time. So we arrived in Boulogne only a little before the planned reservation. Parking is mercifully free on Sunday, and this added no doubt to the number of people in the restaurants and cafes.
We opted for a starter of fish soup and then the moules and Elizabeth had the roast duck. Not that expensive at Chez Jules in Place Dalton.
|Moules by E Barr|
Once we had paid the bill there was time to walk up the steep hill to the Haute Ville. Here we found further evidence of change. The parking by the Mairie has been removed and replaced by two gardens, both based on Spanish Moorish architecture with a perfumed garden and one based on the Generalife Gardens in Granada. It is all very new and needs to bed in properly. We had a coffee there before beginning the walk down.