24.05.2013 - 27.05.2013
The weather improved as we approached the French shore. Although there were nice fancy buildings the beach did not seem very interesting. It appears that the old architecture and housing has not changed in ages. Arriving from England as I viewed the hills, cliffs and beaches; a thought crossed my mind that this must have been the view that the British saw when coming to fight for the expansion of their territories. We made it in about an hour and a half. Juliana, a classmate from grade school to high school, picked us up from the Port.
Calais is the name given to the northern most rural part of France. On a sunny day the fields, the roof tops, and the yellow flowers make a very colorful scenery. This is the perfect place to chill before moving forward inland into Europe.
We stayed in a lovely country side home with rocky walls, a gravel, and pretty gardens. A typical French couple, Oli’s parents, are living out most of their retirement years in this settlement. Not bad...not bad at all. They are building enough rooms to host their two grown up children and their families when they come for holidays. They also use one of the apartments as a Bed and Breakfast, the one we stayed in.
Patrick and Monique kindly invited us over for an aperitif. Champagne and Rose wine before dinner is a tradition that is religiously kept on this side of the world. Despite the fact we didn't speak French, Juli translated for us, and we were able to communicate some basic facts about America, Peru, and France. "The French language is not logical," they said. Their 4 year old granddaughter makes the same mistakes conjugating as a foreigner trying to learn because it doesn't really make sense, they pointed out.
In Calais we basically went out for a meal, took a couple of short walks by the beach and the fields and did a lot of catching up. After a couple of relaxing nights -Ylla had a crib for herself, score!!- we left to Lille. It was mother's day that Sunday in France so we went out for a nice lunch in an Italian restaurant. This year I have been congratulated twice for being a mother: SWEET!
Lille has some beautiful parks with lots of facilities for children. Juli and Oli have been remodeling their house in Lille for quite a while. We had the chance to visit the place. They are actually redoing everything. After seeing it in paper and visualizing in situ we have no doubt it is going to be amazing once it is finished.
We had a nice dinner made by Juli in Oli's parents apartment that night. The next we went out to explore the city. Both Jay and I were amazed at how beautiful and cozy Lille is. If I could speak French, I would probably like to live here. It seems like the perfect place to raise children, and the locals are nice for the most part.
Even though this was our second time in Lille we hadn't walked around the downtown area and enjoy the atmosphere of a small northern France city before. We walked pretty much everywhere for about 7 hours. Went to check out the free zoo, went to play in a couple of parks and had lunch with Juli. Both Juli and Oli were good hosts and spent a lot of time with us amidst their busy schedules.
Once in the airport things became ugly. Not only the people at the counter did not speak barely any English or Spanish but they tried to charge us for the stroller and our bags. They made us waste so much time... at the end the only lady in "town" that spoke English figured out that we actually didn't need to pay! but we had to run into the boarding gates. Thank God we were still able board the plane!
We are in Greece now. We will be chilling in this beautiful country for a couple of weeks before heading back to the U.S.
In the next entry I will write about the great time we had in Spain. Stay tuned and til then!