Monday, August 10, 2009

About Dunkerque

We ended up spending three nights in Dunkerque, mostly taking it easy, but also sightseeing a bit. In keeping with our tower-climbing tradition, we toured the belfry. This was an easy one as an elevator takes you most of the way up. Unlike our other tower-climbs, this one included a guide, which we appreciated.

View of the harbor from the belfry. Our marina (the Grand Large) is in the distance toward the harbor entrance and difficult to see in the haze.

Of course, Dunkerque (Dunkirk) is most famous for the evacuation of allied forces in 1940 as the Germans were closing in. The war museum was near the marina, and we visited that too. All of the Flemish coastal towns were hard-hit by the two world wars, but Dunkerque was nearly completely destroyed. The old buildings we saw there were all restored or rebuilt in significant measure.

War museum in a bunker

These days Dunkerque is primarily a beach resort, and that was to our advantage as a free bus runs along the beach in the summer. We used it to go shopping at the Carrefour, a huge supermarket, that isn’t really within walking distance from the marina, but is certainly worth a trip or two. Now we have lots of French cheese in our refrigerator.

Children picnicking in the sculpture garden

A boules tournament was going on by the marina, and John couldn’t resist this photo of Fred’s snack place.

Sunset view from the boat in Dunkerque

We’ve been in contact with our Dutch friends Lex and Maria, who have been visiting the English south coast aboard Anaconda. All summer we’ve been looking forward to meeting them in France. The weather hasn’t cooperated for their plans to visit northern France, but it looks like they will be able to cross the channel to meet us in Boulogne or Dieppe. We’ve also been in touch with Laurie and Sue on Princess Sue in Cherbourg, and we’re looking forward to seeing them again too.

Unfortunately, our friend David won’t make it to France on Ventura this summer. Jim from Orinoco and Liz and Paul from Aphrodite are all in Gosport, England, now, David tells us. These are the people who left Fort Lauderdale last year with us. Except for David, we haven’t seen them since Horta. David plans to visit England in September, but by then we need to be in Portugal. There is a ferry from Cherbourg to Portsmouth, so maybe…

We aren’t doing much in Calais, and frankly, there doesn’t seem to be all that much to do here. The excitement here is getting into the marina at high tide and timing our departure for tides and currents tomorrow. We have quite a few boat chores that we could work on if we get motivated later today.

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