11/03/2017 Back To France


Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th November

Transition back to other side of the road looked easy (from the passenger side) and soon we were well away from the port of Calais.

Had passed through this part of France previously so the aim was to go through this part quickly to new territory.

The countryside here is just so special.  Green rolling hills and beautiful fields dotted with cattle here and there – mostly white cattle not the brown we are used to back home.  Their hides also seem to be thicker with fur and from a distance sometimes look like large sheep.

This must be the potato capital of the world as everywhere we travel, there are acres and acres of potatoes growing and then occasionally beside a ploughed field – mountains of freshly harvested potatoes which are loaded on to trucks by bulldozers – quite a sight seeing a line of several mountains – all potatoes.  Reminds me of a Beatles song “Potato fields forever” or is that “strawberry”.

Camp for two nights:  Boulogne-Sur-Mer

The campsite is set high at the top of the hill with views across the Strait of Dover and the seaside town of Boulogne-Sur-Mer.  Great spot with only a short 15 minute walk down the hill to the harbour front which is a Mecca for tourists with a beautiful harbour front boardwalk leading to a new aquarium and currently under construction next door is a massive new casino. 

View of Boulogne harbour from our camp site

It is really cold today drizzling with a strong wind making it even colder so we are fully decked out in warm coats, beanies, gloves etc.

Boulogne harbour front with fish markets on the left

We walked for miles along the boardwalk past fisherman selling the ugliest fish we have ever seen and the French buying them.  Then into the town centre with every second shop being either a patisserie (really tempting with all the delicious pastries in the window) or a restaurant.  Really busy and interesting town.

Boulogne street art

Headed back up the hill tired and with mildly sore feet (had our new fur lined waterproof boots on).  Turned on the heater and sat in the front seat and watched as daylight went to darkness.  Such a lovely view with the town and harbour-front lights on.

it was nice of the locals to put the welcome sign out for my Navigator

Rain again next day so took time out to read and relax.

Sunday 5th November

 Camp for tonight:  Parking, Cayeux-Sur-Mer

Another great Aire adjacent to the beach.  The beaches in France seem to go forever and the distance from the edge of the beach to the water is huge particularly at low tide.  Tides changes are of around 9 metres so there are warning signs on most beaches.

The boats bob up and down about 9 metres

We are on the Bay of Somme where the largest colonies of seal lions are reported to be.  We saw rubber duckies taking people out around the headland but did not sight any seals ourselves.  Not a nice day again so no reason for them to be basking in the non existent sunshine!

Only a very small village consisting of a few houses, two restaurants and a pub so did not take long to do the “must do” walk we try to do at most destinations.  They did however have a stall on the waterfront selling more of those “ugly fish”.  Didn’t buy any!

Checked out the menus at the two restaurants.  Seems like they all specialise in Mussels cooked any way you want – tomato, cream, curry and many other ways.  We want to try these but only on a nice day so we can sit outside.  Oysters were a cool $40 a dozen so – not today thank you!  White bait is also popular and could not help watching someone eating a plate of these micro small whole fish crumbed – heads and tails included! – not today thank you.

Typical of this area – bunkers and pill boxes left over from the war

When we arrived it was high tide and the yachts in the harbour were fully visible above the dock.  By the time we had lunch and a walk, only the tops of the masts were just visible – massive drop in the tide.

Monday 6th November

Bit of sunshine today – certainly feels good to get a bit of Vitamin D for a while – though still cold.

It is a real pleasure travelling through the countryside and not on the motorways.  Certainly the country homes are huge and most are of three storeys.

Camp for tonight:  Aire de Camping-Car St Valery en Caux

 Could have thought we were at the “White Cliffs of Dover” as this Aire is at the base of the white cliffs and similar cliffs everywhere along the coastline as far as we could see.  

Oceanfront Casino at base of white cliffs with bunker in cliff face on far right

Interesting town, again on the oceanfront, with just a couple of minutes walk to town.  All the buildings on the harbour front were three storey townhouses, interesting and colourful (for a change) and most renovated.  The town is separated by a waterway and a bridge with yachts on the inland side requiring the bridge to be raised and lowered to allow the boat traffic through to the ocean front.

Unusual architecture

There are communal hard stand areas with hydraulic cranes on both sides of the waterway allowing boat owners to carry out repairs and anti-fouling etc – these areas are not even cordoned off.

One of the many interesting lane ways

Only a small town square with a few shops.  There is however a casino at the far end of town and this was the only place with signs of life – the car park behind was full.

My Navigator wasn’t very cold at all – glad it is not winter yet

High on the hill above the casino, lay a well secluded bunker left over from the war.

Tuesday 7th November

Not a good day today.  First selection for a camp spot was not what we wanted for the night so selected another about 50kms away.  Keyed in the co ordinates and set off for the next destination.  About 10 kms from our destination, we discovered we were heading in the wrong direction.

This navigator certainly did not read out the incorrect coordinates and my driver certainly did not key in the incorrect co ordinates and our new Garmin NAVIE has not yet let us down – so who’s to blame!

What should have taken 2 hours took nearly 5 hours. Both driver and navigator remained calm and headed for the nearest spot to spend the night.  After all, we had travelled through some magnificent country roads and scenery, which we would not have seen otherwise!

Camp for tonight: Parking Vieux Port

 One hour of daylight left when we arrived here, so stretched the muscles and went for a short walk.

The town must have some sort of building caveat and all houses look like something out of Hansel and Gretel.  Beautiful big homes all with thatched rooves on large blocks with sculptured lawns and gardens.

Unusual architecture

We are right on the bank of the River Seine now and boats are passing by only 15 metres or so away from us.  The beautiful town’s stone church is the only building towering over our waterfront spot, with a few houses just around the corner.

The not so beautiful River Seine where we are camped on the banks near the river mouth

Had the most peaceful night here only to be woken up to the sounds of church bells followed very closely by quack, quack, quack.  Three families of ducks were just outside our steps, obviously used to being fed by the motorhome visitors and were loudly telling us it was feed time.

More unusual architecture