Salutations! Or, should I say “Bonjour!” from my French adventure? My apologies that these pictures are not in order or incorporated into the story. Also, I apologize that this is so late to be updated. It’s from yesterday.
It started at an early wake up, but not early enough as we cut it way too close to missing our train to France. Once we were on board, however, everything was peachy. We transferred at Calais-something to another train, bound for our destination of Boulogne-Sur-Mer. No, I did not go to Paris for my one time in France. And I’m glad!
There was a little bit of trouble in France, since neither my friend or I speak French by any means beyond “bonjour!” “merci!” and “pardon.” But that was OK because most of the people in Boulogne-Sur-Mer spoke English, too, and were very nice talking to us (maybe those snooty French people you hear about are a myth, or a disproportionately obnoxious minority, or just somewhere else).
For breakfast, we found a cute little sidewalk cafe and had a baguette, quiche, and salad. All were yummy. Then we stopped at a patissiere for chocolate croissants – those were exceptional! We meandered along to our destination, the Nausicaa Aquarium. I read about it online, and it sounded phenomenal: one of the largest Aquariums in Europe, great reviews. Let me tell you, friends, that it is well worth the hype.
Now, the exhibits in some areas were small and simply designed, but beautiful with healthy animals, tons of live coral, and exhibit design out of this world. C’est magnifique! We ended up spending 5 hours in that Aquarium. The place where I work has some bigger exhibits and more/bigger sharks, but Nausicaa was so huge and well designed. We kept walking through, thinking we were done and then there was more! Education through the roof. Literally.
We stopped to watch a shark feeding and a sea lion training session. Training techniques there are pretty much the same as in the States; it was fun to watch. At the end, when I told one of the workers that I also work for an Aquarium in the States, he went and got us free books about the Aquarium. What a nice man! “For my colleagues,” he’d said.
After Nausicaa, we went down to the little beach. We collected shells and rocks as we walked along, but our true goal was to run and touch the Atlantic from this side instead of State-side. Goal accomplished, boots sandy and wet, we trudged along (heavy backpacks and all) to the end of the beach to hike up the bluffs.
The bluffs were beautiful. Grassy on top, with sharp little hills and dirt paths carved in. There were remnants of old buildings just sitting there. From up top, we could see most of Boulogne-Sur-Mer and the ocean. We also encountered some lovely little friends. By the time we reached the lookout point, though, it was dusk so we hiked back to town , center.
That’s when the trouble started. First, we could not find a little cafe/restaurant that wasn’t sketchy, expensive, or closed. Second, we walked down the wrong street and ended up pretty lost. We found our way; we hadn’t actually gone too far out of our way from our final destination, but by that point we had been walking for about 6 hours, so our feet were sore and backpacks heavy. We were also hungry and cranky. Finally, we circled back and went to the same patissiere from the morning and grabbed some tartelettes – delicious.
In the end, we ended up sitting in the train station for an hour before our transfer to our next destination arrived. It was okay, because we snacked and talked. There were also some soldiers carrying giant, like, AK-47s walking around (I don’t know guns). That was kind of scary! But we got to our next destination just fine, even though the dumbass taxi driver drove us to the wrong hotel, 6 km out of our way and across town. More on that later…
Thoughts on France:
-Oh, it’s drizzly
-Um, I’m sorry I don’t speak French, and I’m sorry I don’t even know how to say it in French!
-Baguettes for breakfast, baguettes for lunch, desserts always.
-THIS AQUARIUM IS AMAZING!
-They love to walk their dogs in this town
-Pretty beach, pretty hike
-Well, at least I’m warm from all this walking
-I need food, to sit down, and get a foot massage
-WHERE ARE WE?!
-WHERE IS THE FOOD?! What the heck
-Oh, good, more desserts 🙂