Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nord pas de Calais, France - Our Family Vacation Part 4

I kind of feel like this past week I've been forcing our blog readers through a grueling old-fashioned slide show of the most mundane details of our recent family vacation.  I mean, how many photos of Gravensteen castle can I post, right? (Note: there are LOTS more in my iPhotos folder.  Want me to post them? Anyone? ... Anyone?... No. Ok, your loss.)  Are you guys groaning "Nooooo! Not more vacation photos!" For those of you who find this boring and painful to read - don't worry, this is the last one and we'll be back to regular, more exciting blog topics like how the Netto grocery store that I went to every day has closed and how this has ruined the flow of my daily life by forcing me to find a new grocery store within a reasonable walking distance. So, as you can see, this is the best we've got as far as exciting topics to write about.

Anyway, back to Calais.  I'm pretty sure we're the first people ever to spend 3 full days in Calais, France.  When booking the hotel, they gave us the 3rd night free, which we thought was great until we realized that - tricks on us! - there are not 3 days worth of activities to do in Calais.  If this part of the world was known for its spectacular weather instead of its spectacularly crappy weather, then 3 days at the beach in Calais would be perfect, but instead it's a bit disappointing not being able to enjoy the nice beaches.  This photo of Dylan about sums up the beach weather in Calais:

"Umm, Mommy, this is not how I remember the beaches from Florida. "
To be fair, the weather wasn't totally terrible. On Friday we spent the day driving from Calais to Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez, which are two large cliffs that overlook the English channel and where you can see England's "White Cliffs of Dover" on the other side.  We did have really nice weather this day (It was so warm for about 30 minutes we took our jackets off! Wow!) and enjoyed the high cliffs and sandy beaches.

First glimpse of the water, just as the sun is beginning to burn off the clouds...

My handsome guys...

White Cliffs of Dover ... the whole time Bryan was humming the Eric Johnson "Cliffs of Dover" tune that was his favorite to play in Guitar Hero.  Funny at first, annoying by the end of the trip.  

Beautiful views

We got in about 30-45 minutes of beach time before the tide came in.

Gorgeous beach.

Dylan was trying to make friends with the kids who had the shovels.  They weren't into sharing.

The water was freezing and Dylan would shriek every time his toes got wet.

Bryan tried to teach Dylan how to skip rocks.

It was so nice to have nice weather, even if it didn't last long.
Saturday morning in Calais was super rainy, so we went to the mall.  At least it was a big indoor place where Dylan could run around and get his energy out.  We didn't do a whole lot else this day because Bryan was quite ill from the gross sandwich he ate from a street vendor the night before.

For dinner on Friday night he ordered a monstrosity called "The Texan."  This sandwich was on a massive hogie bun and included: 2 or 3 hamburger patties, nacho cheese, slices of ham, scrambled eggs, spicy sauce, grilled onions and was topped with about 1/2 pound of French fries.  We guess that this sandwich had about 2,500 - 3,000 calories in it, and anyone would have gotten sick by eating the whole thing as Bryan did.  (Note: Here's a new rule of travel - don't order sandwiches named after America or have an American sounding name in a French speaking country. This backfired on us when we were in Liege, Belgium and ordered "The American" which was one of the grossest sandwiches I've ever had.)

The only good thing (for me) to come from Bryan's illness is that he stayed in the hotel room with Dylan while he napped and I was able to have a few hours on my own.  By this time on Saturday the sun was out again, and I had a chocolate eclair and a glass of wine at a local Brasserie, sat in the sun and read my book in peace.  Probably my favorite part of Calais.

Sunday morning came and we hightailed it home in about 4 hours.  More than anyone, I think Dylan was excited to be home.  By the time we got to France he had started to ask about home by saying "Mommy, home?" and giving me a quizzical look.  While we had a good time and got to see 4 cities we've never been to and experienced things we'll always remember, Bryan and I agreed that our next vacation will be a little more stationary and we'll probably rent an apartment or house and stay in 1 location for the duration of the trip.   


Rburns said...

I just got Cliffs of Dover stuck in my head after reading your blog post. I might just have to play it tonight!

Dana said...

Bryan was humming Cliffs of Dover for 3 days straight! Jealous you get to play Guitar Hero - we miss our Wii!

Alex said...

Looks like an awesome trip! I am actually surprised how beautiful the West coast of France is!