Calais to Dunkirk

Calais is a great place for shopping because of all the ferry traffic coming and going.  There is a big combination supermarket/department store called Auchan and it’s a good thing we don’t know what most of the foods are because we would have gone on a wild buying spree.  I would bet there were over 100 different kinds of sausage and several hundred kinds of cheese available.  They had every fruit and vegetable imaginable.  France has the best green beans – we eat them constantly because they are so tender and never stringy.  It’s a mystery how the French stay slender.  Well actually, I think I know one of the reasons.  Portions are very tiny.  Some of the yogurt containers aren’t much bigger than a thimble.

Dunkirk

Dunkirk

Now we are parked a about 300 feet from the beach in Dunkirk in a park like area.  There’s a wide boardwalk that runs along the beach for about 2 miles clear to the port.  
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There are so many custom designed motor homes in Europe.  Many appear rough and tough as if they travel all over Africa or Siberia. 

Nine More Days!

After we left Holland we drove into northern Belgium which neither one of us cares for too much.  Southern Belgium is much nicer but was too far out of the way at this point.  So we did a flanking maneuver and drove to just a very few miles west of Calais, France. Actually, we are only 85 miles from the port in Zeebrugge. We are at an Aires in the country on a hill overlooking the English Channel and White Cliffs of Dover. It’s quite nice compared to the places we had been the few nights previous. We’re here for two days (no internet though) and tomorrow will go a little farther east. I think there’s another place to park at Gravelines right at the port watching the boats. We need to be in Zeebrugge either Friday or Monday to deposit the shipping funds into the bank account there. Then there’s two free Aires in Zeebrugge and two or more just west in Oostende that we will check out.  At least we are at the point of not having to buy any more diesel fuel. We did have to get a little more propane yesterday but must use it all up prior to dropping Tulip off at the port the 4th.  It’s chilly enough anyway that we run the heat in the morning.
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The sky is too overcast to see England and the white cliffs on the other side of the channel.  The countryside is just gorgeous with patchwork fields of wheat and little villages.
We started stashing and rearranging our things today. Also Steve spent quite a bit of time trying to repair damage from ANOTHER incident yesterday. He backed into a pole (after panicking because he turned down a one way street) and swore there was nothing behind him and it was impossible that he could have hit anything even though there was a lot of crunching sounds going on.  Anyway, that resulted in a broken tail light, two 6″ cracks in the fiberglass and broken latches on an outside cabinet.  I wonder if fiberglass can be repaired to look good as new again because we have a chunk of fiberglass missing in another place and more cracks from hitting a basketball hoop in Newfoundland.  When it comes to “coulda, woulda, shoulda” we shoulda been driving around Europe in a van.  This RV is so small in the U.S. but in Europe it has become a monster in size.

Resting

The last few days have been rainy and cold.  We were in the pretty Eifel forest region of Germany which is not very populated considering it’s so close to many of Germany’s  industrial cities.  Today we are in Kleve, just across the border from Holland, relaxing for a few days in a nice park that is inexpensive and has free internet.  I haven’t taken any pictures lately so I’m posting some random ones taken on this trip.
We are again shipping the motorhome from Belgium and hoping for the best.  However, we are shipping Tulip to Halifax because we have been told that is usually safer as far as theft.  Also, if we ship to the U.S. everything has to be out of the motor home and shipped separately.  We are allowed to have items related to camping remain in the motor home when going to Canada. Most everything of value was already stolen so we have less to worry about this time and less to hide.  I’ll write more about that when Tulip is back in the U.S. And if someone wants to steal the cheap plastic dishes we bought in Germany they are welcome to them.  We will fly to Colorado and start moving into our house immediately as our renters will already be out.  Then Steve (and hopefully my brother) will fly to Halifax to drive Tulip back to Colorado. 
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This farmer and horse statue are alive with ground cover.

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Is this what dry docked means?

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The dumpster at this Aires in France was full so look what the overflow is.
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The small print on this car says “Medical Face Remodeling”.  I can’t really figure out if it’s an advertisement for cosmetic surgery or what.

Monet’s Garden

Before visiting Claude Monet’s house and gardens we stopped for one day in Honfleur.  Many painters were inspired to paint scenes of the port and historical houses.  Also, many famous navigators explorers set sail from Honfleur to discover the New World.  The city is very crowded with tourists and I liked the sidewalk restaurants where each one had decorated their tables in different color schemes with the awnings giving them all warm hues.

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After four months in Europe you would think that by now we would have thrown our GPS out the window.  But no, once more we gave it our trust to get us to Giverny.  I know one of my readers has been there and would know about the tiny lane running through the tiny town where no cars are allowed.  Try extracting yourself from there with an RV!  Not to mention everyone that is pointing and smirking at us.  Why didn’t we just do Rome, Paris, London and get to these places on the freeways like everyone else?

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It was hard to fully enjoy the beautiful gardens and house because of wall to wall tourists.  We were allowed to spend the night in the parking lot and thought that by going to the gardens at opening time we would be ahead of the crowds. Not so.

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Giverny and Monet’s garden was yesterday.  Last night we stayed in Charle-M——-(can’t remember) but it’s close to Belgium.  So today we drove into Belgium (and wondered if we would be able to pass through this arch) and then made a detour to Luxembourg to get gas because it only added 3.5 miles to where we planned to stay tonight.  Right now we are in that little corner where Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany all meet.  I can’t wait to buy some hearty German bread tomorrow.  And we are not sure where to spend our last 3 1/2 weeks in Europe.  All we know is that we will stay north and cool.