We arrive in France at 1930 (french time, an hour ahead). We drove off the train and on towards the outskirts of Guines, and just about 5 kms from the Eurotunnel, sits this wonderful Auberge. It is a converted farm with the outbuildings serving as accommodation, bar, restaurant and cafe. The farm house is actually grander than a ‘house’, it is more chateau in appearance than farmhouse. The rest of the auberge consists of high pitched red tiled roofs, stone walls and of course shutters. In the middle of the car park is a tower like structure built of grey stone with a pitched roof, which looks like it could have been an old windmill. We also had a bat, this evening, for company.
On arrival, we had to find the hotel reception. No signs were obvious so a visit to the restaurant for help was in order. The receptionist, having endured my french, engaged us with her sweet english accompanied by a little arm waving to aid comprehension. Les deux fous ont arrivé! The restaurant was in full swing (this being France) and of course a priority agenda item for us will be food.
However, about two hours ago back in England we mistakenly ate from Burgerking in a room as soulless as well, a Burgerking. I would rather drill nails into the souls of my feet than again experience that purgatory. The queue was long and slow and was accompanied by the low moan and whines of bored and hungry children. One can feel the disdain of the designers and owners of the ‘Eurotunnel Shopping Experience’, who only care for your money and not for your sensibilities. That’s capitalism for you. However, what can one expect?
I am glad to have left the grey skies and the rain in England. Here we do have cloud, except it is a little higher, high enough for it to be quite dry for once. The ‘summer’ of 2012 in England being so far a complete wash out and daily confirms the wisdom of abandoning JOGLE for France.
The crossing was quick. That is as exciting as one can say for it, but here we are in France at last and we have had preview of the sorts of roads in store for us. Hedgeless, car less and straight, with views for miles. I have even spotted my first poplar lined road. Glad to see the French landscape living up to its stereotype. However, as the days progressed the plane tree is a far more common site lining the roads and avenues than the poplar. It has a variegated, brown and grey scaly bark not unlike eucalyptus and provides a good deal of often welcome shade.
So, after a litre carafe of vin rouge, a rather ordinary vin de maison of the Gamay grape variety, a carafe which each one of managed to spill when pouring, and a simple repast, we are off for sleep before the exertions of tomorrow. We look forward to about 75 miles to our next destination in Arras. Will our arses to Arras hold up?
Au revoir et bons nuits, mes enfants.