France in 35 minutes

Dijon mustard field
Mustard Fields

 

That’s how long it takes to cross from Folkstone in Britain to Calais in France through the Eurotunnel. It’s an interesting experience considering we’re travelling 30 miles inside our cars in a shuttle train below the English channel without feeling any different from a ride on the MRT.

Out off the tunnel, we’re promptly reminded to drive on the right side and the last English words left us. Bonjour! Bienvenue en France! and with that greeting, the miles of French countryside stretched out with open arms before us on this beautiful spring day.

Miles and miles we drove. Town after town we passed. After the early excitement, we’re getting tired having driven over 100 miles and definitely feeling hungry.

My brother Stanley and my sister-in-law Sally are familiar with this route. They are taking us to a sweet little town Lille to a sweet little square with lots of cafes where there are not too many tourists. Finally we arrived just in time before the last orders for lunch were placed and customers turned away. Thank goodness they have set lunches and we could order our food without speaking a single French word.

Didn’t have time to explore Lille, we headed straight back to the road to cover another 300 miles to the mustard capital of the world Dijon where we will spend the night.

On and off between wakefulness and sleep, passing signs to Belgium and Paris, fields and fields of freshly turned earth, wind turbines pierced the cloudy sky, churches, villages, oh have we passed the Champagne region? and Troyes seemed nice but the sun is setting, a big shining orange ball beyond the flashing landscape.

By the time we got into Dijon, it was dark and quiet. The town seemed to have retired into the comfort of the warmly lit little rooms in the cold old houses.

Stanley wanted to bring us to the great mussels restaurant he found on Trip Advisor. It’s a quaint corner place in a quaint empty street like a scene from the Jackal on a night mission. It was a delightful place but the drivers were really tired and we had to turn in early to get ready for another day on the road.

Joan Yap

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