It seems likes ages since I actually ticked something off my bucket list (which you can read about here). However, yesterday, I conquered a real fear of mine….enclosed spaces and, goodness, I had such a brilliant time!
When I’m driving and I see that I’m about to drive through a tunnel, I get incredibly panicky. What if the tunnel is going to cave in? What if I don’t make it to the other side?! Yes, it’s ridiculous as these tunnels have had millions of people go through them without incident so why should it be any different with me! However, yesterday, I went on the Eurotunnel which is just over 30 miles long and links the UK to France by going under the English Channel. Now, you don’t actually drive through it but you board a train from either Folkstone or Calais and then find yourself at your destination in just 35 minutes. Some trains take lorries, etc. whereas the one I was on had two decks for regular cars. As you board at one end, you drive through until you’re directed to stop and the doors close forming several compartments each holding around four vehicles. Inside, it’s really lit up and there’s even wifi which is rather impressive to still have under an expanse of water when it’s hard to get in other less bizarre locations!
Now, I was going over just for a few hours and I’d been rather undecided about what to do. Should I just shop locally before boarding the train back home? Should I seek out a pretty French town, ideally on the coast? Should I even drive to Belgium or Holland…..because I could! I decided to base myself in France and head to the beautiful commune of Le Touquet which is about a 50 minute drive from Calais. There was something really lovely about the place as I drove in with beautifully manicured lawns, some really large houses and it turns out that, since it’s development in the early 20th century, it was really designed to be a playground for the rich with it being a golf and gambling resort. Some of its visitors or residents included HG Wells, Noel Coward and P.G. Wodehouse. Even Emmanuel Macron votes there! The town’s casino even provided Ian Flemming with the inspiration for James Bond’s Casino Royale! The town is beautiful with some really interesting architecture but it’s also on the most fabulous beach. With easy parking too, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone from the UK thinking of a day trip to France or anyone who just finds themselves in the area.
Next stop was Boulogne-sur-Mer which is about 20 minutes away from Calais. I remember coming here for a school trip when I was in primary school as it’s somewhere you can head for the day but rather than go around the fortified old town, I really wanted to check out the aquarium which is the largest in Europe housing 1,600 species. In many ways, it’s not hugely different to the one in Saint Malo (Brittany, France) I visited about 18 months ago although there seem to be two important differences. One is that the larger one in Boulogne is significant in terms of scientific discovery of marine life but it also has the most incredible ‘tank’ of animals where you feel as if you’re watching something spectacular on a huge TV screen! I love my photo below as most people come out like silhouettes and it depicts people of all ages marvelling at nature’s show!
Before I ventured home, I had to stop off at a hypermarket (I mean, there is a rule!) although I accidentally found myself back in the queue to reboard the train and had to quickly establish how I could get to the huge shopping complex within my sight! Cite Europe has 140 shops, a cinema and a huge hypermarket with the most impressive cheese counter…..and many foods that you really don’t know what you’re buying! Placed right next to the EuroTunnel, I guess some people probably venture over just for the shopping and I can see why but, after not blogging for a while, I’m REALLY glad that I rediscovered my sense of adventure!
My next trip away? Liverpool! I’m SO excited as I’m going to be meeting my childhood TV heroes from the series Fame in just a few weeks’ time. I’m going to both of their concerts where I’ll be in the front two rows, have dinner with the cast, attend the Fame Family convention, watch them rehearse and even go to an after show party! And whilst I often find myself going upstairs at home not remembering what I’ve come up to get, I’ll be singing along to the songs that, despite first hearing them 30 years ago, I still know all the lyrics to!
Happy weekend everyone xx