The Retirees go Abroad – Farewell and Hello Calais and Beyond

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A beautiful day greeted us for our trip to Gatwick. Our new hood rack and carrier had been fitted and we got underway on time. The weather blessed us and the traffic took a holiday. We travelled without incident to Gatwick where we rendezvoused with David and Veronica. We have known them for over 25 years and in my case 35 years but had only limited contact during that time. Now travelling together may raise some issues but we would have to wait and see.

We changed over the luggage had a bite to eat and farewelled Rod and Kerry who were off to Norway and the Hurtigruten trip up the Norwegian coast. No time to waste we had to be at Dover for the ferry at 4.40pm. Again the traffic was kind even on the dreaded M25 and we reached Dover with a half hour to spare. After lining up we went to the terminal kiosk for a nature break and over stayed our time returning to the car to find the traffic by passing us to board the ferry. A salutary reminder to me about timing.

All’s well though. We boarded and landed in Calais without problem and stayed at our favourite Hotel Meurice – an older hotel in a classic style and a great breakfast.

Calais looked very different from the windy and cold place we saw at Xmas. There were clear skies and late evening sunshine to entice us into the old city for dinner, a red beer for David and me (Grimbergen Kriek) and a walk around the square. We even got to see Notre Dame Calais before circling around back to our hotel.

The next day we were on the road early to drive to Reims or Rheims the pre WW2 spelling in the Champagne region. The day was misty rather than overcast and everything appeared grey and a little fuzzy. We caught up with gossip and shared some memories as we travelled along finally arriving in Reims right on 12 noon Saturday. I went to the hotel to book us in and to my dismay found that the reception closed at 12 noon on Saturdays. After calling the hotel number we gained entry and the keys to our rooms on the 2nd floor.

That afternoon we did a little exploring but the travel had been exhausting, so after dinner it was off to bed for a big day tomorrow.

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