This morning we drove to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais,
France. The English countryside was pretty, I was surprised to see
all the signs for distances marked in the English system and not
the metric. At the ferry we got French stamps on our passports
(hurrah stamps!). The ferry was like a freaking cruise, with
restaurants and fancy overpriced shopping venues and video arcade.
I took a token picture of the White Cliffs of Dover. It was cloudy
which ruined the contrast between alabaster rock and blue sky and
gray water, but made up for it by making the cliff look like a
stormy place where ruined damsels may have decided to end it all.
After we got to Calais we met our tour director, Joe.

We are very lucky to have Joe. He used to teach history in both
the US and Europe. He speaks six languages. When we do our local
sightseeing with local guides they always repeat some of the
stories and facts that he tells us on the bus, and he always tells
them orders of magnitude better. There is a way to tell stories so
that they actually make an impact on people, and he’s got it down.
Plus he is nice and all the other things a good tour director is
supposed to be.

This night we could have gone on an optional paid excursion with
the tour but it didn’t seem particularly interesting and they
allocated only 1 hour for dinner. Instead, we went to Grand-Place
and found a hopping local favored place for dinner.

You can tell it’s not a tourist trap because:
a) They are not offering a ridiculous amount of food for a
pittance.
b) There isn’t a guy standing outside accosting passersby with
offers of yet more food and drinks if they will please eat there.
c) The waiters must have had serious endurance training to still
be standing, the place was so busy.

Before.

We had two local specialties, shrimp croquettes with side salad,
and House mussels with fries. The most ridiculously delicious,
fat, succulent mussels ever. In a white wine cream sauce. With
perfectly fried fries. It was amazing. Plus the pot of mussels was
gargantuan, I don’t even think it would have been possible to buy
this many mussels for the price we paid at any market in America.

After.

Then we took pictures of marvelously beautiful lit up buildings and
went back to the hotel.