Sunday, 28 June 2009

Un jour dans Boulogne-sur-la-mer

Bonjour mes amis et merci pour visiter mon blog!

I'm still in French mode! I accompanied Alex on a school trip to Boulogne on Friday & had to draw on my very rusty schoolbook french to encourage him to 'have a go' - he didn't, but I was pleased with myself for making myself understood & more importantly, being able to understand!

Alex had been very keen to go on the trip when it was announced back in January, & school asked me to accompany him as it was very much an 'unknown' as to how he would cope! He did find the day challenging & we were our own little 'splinter group', which enabled us to avoid things he finds difficult, like the inevitable crowds. I took a lot of flack from him as he tried hard to cope, but I'm glad he got to go. The children all had tasks to perform, to help them practice their language skills, & we managed only a portion of these, but we did other things instead!
We set off from school at 3am on Friday morning, by coach, & drove to the ferry port at Dover. Alex was excited about the Ferry & we spent most of the crossing on deck, watching the white cliffs of Dover disappear & the coastline of Calias come into view!

Our first stop off at Boulogne was a Hypermarket - a HUGE affair!! As we arrived a few spots of rain fell & by the time we had parked it was a full blown torrential thunderstorm!! We were all dressed for sunshine - in cotton T-shirts & sandals - so got soaked!!! I had packed a fold away rain jacket for Alex - force of habit - but not for me, so I spent the day with hair like fuzzy rats tails, very attractive!

We bought an umbrella in the hypermarket, along with some cheese to bring home for Daddy! Alex chose 'mousetrap' cheese - Emmental. We also bought a baguette to nibble on through the day! Most of the groups found various places to eat lunch in the hypermarket building, but Alex & I returned to the peace & quiet of the coach!

Once we had arrived at the old walled town of Boulogne-sur-la-mer, the children were given their tasks & we set off to explore. Our first task was to ask, in french, for a town map from the tourism office. Alex took charge of the map & we set off to check out the narrow streets inside the walled town.

Within moments I knew we would be branching off on our own, as there were hordes of school children in the narrow streets, all chatting & squealing excitedly! Alex's hands went straight to his ears & i took my cue & we set off down the hill away from the noise!

We passed through one of the towns gates & Alex was fascinated by the thickness of the walls & we made up stories as we walked about how the town would have defended itself back in history - Alex is fascinated by all thing military, so we checked out arrow slits in the wall & where the portcullis would have been! It all served to distract him from the stress of a new place & noisy crowds!

We walked down to the main town square & after some persuasion, I got Alex to sit at a street cafe & I ordered a coffee & a coke - "Une tasse de cafe noir et d'un Coca-Cola s'il vous plait" - & we sat for a while watching the world go by. There were some tantalising boutiques in a street nearby but I could not get Alex to agree to pay them a visit!!!

We returned to the old town & made our way up onto the old town wall. We had great views over Boulogne & decided that we had time to complete the wall circuit before it was time to return to the coach. Alex enjoyed this as it was very quiet & we met only one or two people coming the other way.

The cathedral was so beautiful & there was mist all around it's high central dome. I could not persuade Alex to go inside, but he was fascinated by the moat & I did get him to agree to walk through the now quieter cobbled streets.

We stopped off at a fabulous Confiseurs & bought a lollipop & bon-bons, before making our way back to the coach. We passed through a square where there was a fantastic display, using old cars, bikes & motor parts, all planted up & made into mobiles. There was even a greenhouse made out of car windscreens, ultimate recycling!

Our journey home passed uneventfully! Another smooth ferry crossing, if a bit blowy on deck! We arrived back at school just after 10pm - tired (well OK exhausted!) & glad to be home! By now my ankle was very swollen from sitting so long after so much walking around Boulogne! We picked up Nathan from my friends house & came home to fall into bed - no bath, no shower, I think we did manage to brush teeth, but that was all!!!!!

My darling hubby is away this weekend, playing golf, so the boys & I slept in till almost noon yesterday - how decadent!! I hate to waste a day like that, but boy, did we need it!!!

Yesterday afternoon, with Alex happily ensconced in front of the X-Box, & Nathan out on his bike with friends, I spent some time on a LO for the 'Oodles of Doodles' on line workshop I'm taking part in at the moment. I've been downloading the Classes, but have already fallen behind in the assignments!
This was a LO to use the squares of doodling completed in the 'warm up' lesson - I like the way the black & white patterns contrast with the colour photo's. The next assignment uses background & edge doodling - so watch this space!


Anna said...

We must have crossed the channel on the Dover - Calais route at least half a dozen times, but we've never visited Boulogne. Would love to go - the old town looks fascinating!
So glad Alex enjoyed the trip ... and that you were able to manage with your poorly ankle.

Love your LO - and the doodle patterns in those squares. :)

Lisa T. Howard said...

I would so love you to be my personal tour guide. And I can easily be persuaded to visit the lovely little boutiques! LOL! Sounds like a wonderful day. However, the entire time I was reading I was wondering how your ankle survived.

Love the layout...especially love the block pattern! Hope you are doing well! :)