An Afternoon in France

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Hello, hello! I am feeling very refreshed and chirpy after a very full weekend across the channel.  There is lots to tell you about and show you, and I have had the nicest time today, sipping coffee in the conservatory (enjoying some solitude for the first time in two weeks) and going through all of the pictures from our trip.  Let’s start with Friday afternoon.

Very stormy seas!  Pretty exciting, and I am thankful that none of us get motion sickness.

We took the ferry across this time, and arrived around noon in Dunkirk.  Jeff had looked up a sweet little town to visit, Bergues.  It was said to be very Flemish, so we thought that would be fun to check out.  We drove straight over there, and it WAS cute.  But the wind was so strong (remember the stormy seas?) we couldn’t stand to be outdoors for more than a few minutes at a time. So, we ate lunch and then drove around a little.  It would have been great to spend a lot more time walking around, but we just couldn’t do it– that wind was crazy.

 We had a really nice lunch.  I love ordering the prixe fixe menu!  For lunch, we paid 15 euros and enjoyed four courses!  All Amelia really wanted was frites, which she has become quite the afficionado of, but I made sure she ate some ham as well.

 Here’s something pretty adorable– a waffle cone of chocolate whipped cream came with our after-meal espressos.  Awww…

More cuteness.  I like to imagine waking up in the room behind that top window and throwing the shutter open to greet the world.

 After seeing a bit of Bergues, we headed over to our very cheap hotel to check in.  Imagine my surprise to find it located inside the parking lot of a huge warehouse shopping center!  Here’s a glimpse at our view from our very glamorous lodging.  But it was clean and the price was right, so no issues there.  We had gotten up at 4 a.m., and I had hardly slept the night before.  We all passed out for an hour or so, then were ready for the next thing.

We quickly realized that there was not much to see in the area where we were staying.  We headed to Wimereux, a tiny coastal town that we had stopped at on our way back from Boulogne-Sur-Mer last time.  The sun had come out, and although it was still incredibly windy, it was beautiful.

We tried walking around a bit, but we had to just find shelter– time to eat again!  The last time we were in Wimereux, we had a very memorable lunch.  I had the most incredible mussels– they were so fresh, cooked perfectly with lots of vegetables.  We had made a small scene there, since our card didn’t work when we tried to pay the bill, and we had to enlist fellow diners to help us translate.  Plus, the meal took a really long time, and we were worried about missing our train– and did something unheard of in France– we asked for our dessert to go!  Then Jeff ended up having to jog down the street to find an ATM, came back panting that he had the wrong card and needed mine… Yeah… I probably wouldn’t have gone back, except that the food was so good!  When we walked in, they recognized us immediately and were super nice.  The chef spoke English, and translated for our waitress, “You had a problem with your card last time!…  Are you in a hurry today?” (It was all with a friendly wink.)  I’m glad they were laughing with us about it, and it felt so nice that they were glad to see us and treated us so warmly.

I ordered the mussels again, and they were incredibly good.  (Don’t be surprised if I write about mussels and this restaurant every time we take a trip over to France!)

 We also had a really wonderful calamari and chorizo appetizer.  Amelia went straight for the prawns.  We all left happy and full.

We went back to our hotel very satisfied, but completely exhausted from the travel, the sun and the wind.  We slept like rocks, looking forward to a whole day in Belgium.  I’ll post about that tomorrow!


P.S.  As always, I am posting more pictures on the And Here We Are facebook page.

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11 Responses to An Afternoon in France

  1. Marisa June 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I just LOVE your enthusiasm today Ariana! So infectious – your energy is just popping right through my computer. I especially loved your comment about wanting to throw that shutter open to greet the world – talk about joie de vivre! And I could so relate – that is exactly the type of thing that would pop into my mind too 🙂 As much as I am an Anglophile I have to wonder if you are living in the right country. You just seem to come alive when you visit France – and now Belgium 🙂

    So glad you had such a wonderful and restorative visit – and to think it was all just spur of the moment!

    • Ariana June 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Marisa, you may be on to something! I know so many people who are, like you, Anglophiles and have always wanted to live in England, or have followed the goings-on with the royal family, etc. Ironically, I never, ever thought about England. There are so many places I have wanted to live, but England (and Germany!) never made the list. Ironic, isn’t it? I was very pleasantly surprised to really love and feel at home in Germany. We still miss it. And there are so many great things about England. But I am not completely sold on living here long-term yet. Sometimes I feel pretty sheepish for not being 100% in love with the UK, since I do know plenty of others that would be over the moon to move here. I would still prefer to live here than the US. But if a chance came for us to move to Italy, France, Spain, or several other countries, I would have a hard time turning it down!

    • Great Scott June 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      I agree with Marisa – I don’t know if it is France or just traveling and enjoying new sights/food but your energy is soaring in these sorts of posts. Love every photo and am just dying to travel more broadly once we are home from our visit to America later this month. And, if Jake can’t come, maybe you wouldn’t mind letting me and Maren tag along with your family. I know we’d both be thrilled to pieces! And…that darn mini waffle is the cutest thing EVER!!!

    • Marisa June 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Hey ladies – Germany – in September/October? Meet up?? Ariana – I’ve been chatting with Sarah about a possible meet up at that time. You should both come!! I hope to be in Bavaria visiting family.

      Also, I have to make a teeny confession here. As much as I am a HUGE Anglophile – I have never felt more alive than I did in Rome. There is just something about the energy on the continent – and for me especially in the south – it is just vibrant and electric! At least to me – I feel something very palpable.

    • Ariana June 13, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Ooh, great idea! Where are you going in Bavaria? I remember you mentioned before that you went to Regensburg recently. I would love to meet up, but of course I will have to wait and see what’s going on closer to that time. We are all wanting to visit Amberg again, so Jeff would be pretty easy to convince!

      I also loved Italy. We were just in Lake Como for a few days, but I picked up immediately on the warmth and sense of connection between people. I didn’t have any incredible food experiences because it was winter in a summer resort area, but I can’t wait to go back!

    • Marisa June 14, 2012 at 4:37 am #

      My aunt and uncle live in Weilheim which is a little ways southwest of Munich. And I loved Regensburg so much I’d just love to go back there! My mom and I both agreed it is the favorite German city either of us has been to. It just has a special charm I think! We were there at Christmas so it was extra delightful with all the Christmas decorations everywhere. I will keep you updated! Wouldn’t it be so fun if we could all meet up? Just love that idea 😀

  2. Kristy Caver June 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Fun!!!

  3. Grandma Seelye June 12, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    What beautiful countryside! Loved the soaring birds! We crossed that channel in a Hovercraft several times. Glad you’re having so much fun! Love you.

    • Ariana June 13, 2012 at 8:49 am #

      I didn’t know that, Grandma– I wish you had kept a blog back then!

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