The coast north of Lille isn't as "azur" as in the South of France -
and probably called "opale" due to the clouds and rainy weather tainting
the waters from time to time. Still, it's a treasure trove of endless beaches,
cozy villages and white chalk cliffs and the reason you can see the Lillois pilgrim to
the beaches every weekend during summer.
Since the time in Lille for the first of our trainees (hey Saurabh!) was already
coming to a close, and none of our current group had been to beach yet, we
decided it was time for some last minute sightseeing. We were happy to see our
equipe self-organize tents (and not forget them) along with train tickets without
as we left for Calais early Saturday morning.
From Calais we headed towards the coast or more precisely
Cap Blanc Nez
- roughly a two hour hike - leaving behind a baffled train conductors, who seemed
to consider this too long of a walk and our international group a little odd.
We made good way, found out a Blackberry can pass as a boombox (in case the phone
business modell no longer works) and spotted the coast of England around lunchtime.
We had promised our trainees a lunch break with French Fries but alas, the shack
we had in mind was closed for summer leaving us with empty stomachs and the
second part of our hike along the beach. Still - the morale kept high as we made
our way to Wissant,
encountering local seafood (dead - but not eatable) and enjoying what turned out
to be a very sunny day.
Arriving in Wissant, we scrambled for food before scrambling to the bus stop - printed bus
schedule in hand. This however turned out to not be valid giving us some more time to relax on
the beach, attend to our sunburn some more and take snapshots before finally parting for
Making landfall in Wimereux late afternoon we still had a few hours to explore
the village and measure ourselves with the locals in a violent bout of bumper-car.
Without major injuries we finished off the evening over dinner before embarking
for our night-time campsite - yet to be determined. We evenutally settled for a
spot high on cliff, directly in the wind and close to the edge which was continuously
washed away by rain (risk: check). Tent construction went smoothly and soon after
we were treated to bonus fireworks in the town below making this a pretty decent
Unfortunately things changed during the night and some of us were in for
a rather wet stint as the tents weathered the wind and rain - but not the rain
covers. Plus we had to rise and shine early, pack up and make our way to the
station to catch our morning train to our next destination. We all failed the
"shining" part, but made it to the track on time only to find our
train to be cancelled...
Desperate for any train leaving nowhere we jumped on the first train back to
Calais and eventually found a connection to Le Touquet.
A quick breakfast later, we made our way to the beach and - re-evaluating the
situation .... set up camp again to sleep some more.
Things stayed like this (spell: calm) until late afternoon when we made our way to
the train station heading back to Lille - of course not without exploring
downtown Le Touquet a second time, grabbing a lunch along and posing for a team