Tuesday, 12 May 2015

May Holiday: Days 9 and 10 in the sun

The weather on the Sunday couldn't have been a greater contrast to the previous Sunday in Sens, where it had rained all day.  Today, we needed sunblock!  It was a lovely warm day.  I went out after breakfast to the Carrefour City, which is open on Sunday mornings, and stocked up on what we needed for picnic lunches for Sunday and Monday, and then we went out for a scenic drive to Lac de l'Orient, one of the five big artificial lakes in France used for flood control - and, of course, for sailing, fishing, etc. 
There was a pretty stone pier, so we walked out to the end and back again,
and then drove off to find somewhere quiet and attractive to have lunch, which we did. Unfortunately, after that I fell asleep, and missed most of the rest of the drive, and being able to add ideas of where to go.  We got back to Troyes in time for a cup of tea, before heading out for a final walk round the town, to look at the Cathedral,
and the Hôtel-Dieu (now part museum and part part of the university):

Neither of us was starving hungry, so a crepe and an omelette, respectively, in a café on the main square did us excellently, and so back to the hotel for the final night.

Next morning, I was actually allowed to drive, for once, and drove the first 120 km or so towards Soissons, which we had decided to look round before heading home.  We stopped at a hypermarket and bought some fruit, and ate our picnic lunch in the car before heading into town proper, which was very pretty, with the usual cathedral and market hall (closed, naturally, on a Monday - we were delighted to find we didn't have to pay for parking!).

We would have gone for a longer walk, but I started to get a blister and begged off, so we decided to drive to Calais via a small town with beautiful walls called Coucy-le-Chateau-Auffrique, which was lovely, and worth it, and then, a slight but minor mistake, to shop at the Cora outside Cambrai.  This turned out to be very slightly out of our way and, fatally, we spent ten minutes more than we should have doing our shopping, which meant that, although we were not going to be pushed for time to make our crossing, we were not going to have time to eat in the Buffalo Grill first.

So we drove straight to the Eurotunnel terminal, hoping to get an earlier crossing as we were 50 minutes early, only to find that there were "perturbations du service" due to a freight train's having broken down earlier.  It was gradually restoring itself to normal, but there was no hope of an earlier crossing, and we weren't at all sure whether we would get on at our booked time of 20:20.  So we went into the terminal building, now know as the Charles Dickens Terminal, and found, to our relief, there was another place that served food apart from the usual burger joint (which has been McDonald's and Quick over the years, and is now Burger King), and we had a pie, mash and peas, which was lovely, but shockingly under-seasoned, and I couldn't find the salt and pepper until I'd finished!  Nor, alas, could I find the coffee ices (Café Zero) that I knew they sold in W H Smith's there until after I'd bought and paid for my Solero!  Oh well, that was good, too, and then finally they called our crossing, and a couple of hours later we were home, having, on balance, had a lovely time. 

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