Yesterday we crossed the English channel by ferry, like we always do. Andreas wanted to take the Chunnel train but I am not a fan of underwater travel. I seem to be in a small minority, because the port at Dover was nearly empty of travelers. I wonder how much longer the boat will remain an option.
Calais, on the other hand, is quite charming for a port town. It has beautiful buildings and interesting history.
Calais was under British rule for a long time (1346-1558). At the start of that period, during the Hundred Years War, Calais was under siege by the English. The citizens were getting desperate, and King Edward III of England offered to spare them if six of their leaders would give themselves up to be executed. The men came out with nooses around their necks and holding the keys to the city. Lucky for them the English king’s wife spoke up and spared their lives, but the sculptor Auguste Rodin made a wonderful bronze of the Burghers of Calais offering themselves as martyrs (all this I learned from another novel, A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny).
We were only in France for one day so we treated ourselves to some classic French food at Café de Paris.
and breakfast there again the next day:
When I’m traveling, I often fantasize about how I could contrive to stay in the place I’m visiting – which house I would buy, what kind of work I would do. My fantasy jobs are often in the food industry.
and if that doesn’t work out, I could buy this place and rename it
[2016 update: I discovered this summer while reading Notes from a Small Island that Bill Bryson made the Burgers of Calais joke back in 1995. Oh well, at least my sense of humor is in good company.]
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