Saturday 21st July 2018
After yesterday’s grey and misty day it was a pleasure to see the return of the sun. Neither of us had ever visited Boulogne before and I knew it as a major ferry port. I have checked online and it looks like this has now stopped, but other aspects of the port seemed to be in full swing when we visited. The photo above shows how adventurous you can be with a car park. The theme was bringing the countryside in to the city, and I think it worked beautifully. This particular car park was outside the local town hall, which had about 3 weddings just whilst we were watching!
This area of Boulogne is the fortified old city and it is a relative oasis of calm amongst all the other busy parts of the city.
This is the Notre-Dame Basilica which was built between 1827 and 1866 and this huge building stands high above the old town,
We walked all around the walls of this town, I think they had been recently renovated and it was great to see people enjoying a stroll in the shade of the trees that hung over the ramparts. They even had play parks for the kids, places to picnic, and benches just to sit and people watch!
Hidden in amongst these walls was a geocache. I had been introduced to the wonderful world of geocaching many years before by my very good friend Kevin Heard, and if Jane lets me I like to have a go when visiting somewhere new. It’s great when exploring a city to try and find a “treasure” that a like-minded person has hidden. We have found that it takes you a little off the normal beaten track to see lesser-known parts of cities and other tourist attractions. I think secretly that Jane really enjoys it and it does have the added bonus of keeping me amused whilst she is shopping. The one thing I find the hardest to do, is that you are meant to do it discreetly, so while I’m ferreting around looking under benches and behind signs I do get some strange looks. Sometimes I do feel obliged to let them know that I am not mad, and that I am just a grown man looking for treasure, and then funnily enough those strange expressions on their faces don’t disappear! Visit http://www.geocaching.com and have a look, it just might transform your walks!
The moat around the castle (which is now a museum) looked splendid with all the lilies in bloom in the moat.
After our trip around Boulogne we decided to retrace our drive from the previous day and see the Opal Coast in the sunshine. First stop Ambleteuse, and a stroll along the prom!
Monday 23rd July 2018
Our last full day in France and a visit to Audinghen, which is close to Cap Griz-Nez, where on a clear day you can see the white cliffs of Dover. Well it was a lovely day but I couldn’t see them!
We had seen and smelt this place when we were out on our bikes so on our back from the coast we stopped by to get some strawberries for our tea. They were delicious, so much so that we returned to take some back for dad and tea the next day! (There is a joke about a fraise book, but Jane said it was too silly for the blog……..I’ll tell you later!)
After a great day out I enjoy an interesting read and its not every day that you find out your next door neighbour is an author. Steve Foster, my neighbour from Huntingdon Gardens, has written the true story of his dad’s exploits in the 2nd World War. He explains how he escaped from a German prisoner of war camp in Poland and then caught several trains to Switzerland. It is a great story which I’m sure will be made into a film, and it only came about when Steve retired and started researching his family tree and found an old suitcase full of his dad’s old letters……………………………(the book is published by Mirror books and can be found on Amazon. It’s well worth a read!)