France? Why not…
The first time I went to France was a fleeting day trip. On this occasion, in 1997, Rob had found a deal in the newspaper for a car to cross on the ferry. So Rob, Andrew ‘Chef’, Caroline and I bundled into the car and made the trip from Harpenden to Dover We left the night before as the ferry left early in the morning, so we stayed in a backpackers near the docks to save us the hassle. We got to Dover around 10 pm and we were in no way ready for sleep. What we wanted was a beer.
This was easier said than done though. By the time we got to the pub they were closing and didn’t want to serve anyone new. If you’ve been to the UK then you’ll know the closing time is 11 pm for most drinking establishments. We were on a mini holiday and couldn’t even have a drink. It times like these that you make some really dodgy decisions and this was no exception. Rob decided to try our luck and see if the pub would sell us a bottle of something. We were in luck as they did, the only thing they had enough of was scotch.
Whisky and what?!
We left the pub making for the hostel and the vending machine. Back at the hostel, we cracked the bottle and I went to get mixers. Only a minute later I returned empty-handed and disheartened. The vending machine was broken. There was only tomato soup available. Soup? Really? Well, you can only use what you have available….
We woke slightly hung over and jumped in the car. We made the ferry with plenty of time to spare; this was the first ferry trip I had been on. As exciting as I found it, I haven’t exactly got sea legs. I didn’t feel like vomiting but my head was feeling fuzzy and being inside just made me want to sleep. So I spent the time on the deck looking back towards the white cliffs of Dover receding. It was a cold winter morning but I loved it. A couple of beers on the ferry made it a little easier to bear too.
The ferry from Dover (south-east England) goes to Calais (north-west France) which is not much to look at so we decided to road trip it down the coast a bit to Touquet. Mostly we wandered around the town looking at shops and just being tourists. There wasn’t a lot to do, but we did find a shop that sold fireworks all year round. Rob bought some, they were about the size of a ‘C’ size battery and all they did was go “BANG”. But they did that well. We went to the beach and built sand castles and mounds of sand then took great care blowing them up from the inside.
Dinner in France…
We ended the day by going to a restaurant and made a deal with each other to try something different. Had a crab starter and rabbit for main with proper creme brulee for desert. Rob had snails in garlic for starter and monkfish for mains. To be honest, Ican’tt remember what Caroline had and I only remember Chef having frogs legs for a starter. The only reason I even remember the others food is that I got to try it too. The food was amazing and with full bellies, we boarded the ferry for Dover and a long drive home.
It was a fantastic day even if it wasn’t a real chance to get about and experience the country, it was a wonderful taste.
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