World War II, Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, Dieppe
We set off from Dunkerque using Johanne’s extremely detailed Google directions to get to Calais. Amazingly, they took us out of town and onto the A26 without a bother. A quick stop at a service area to top up the car (the fellow at Avis Dieppe did say gazoil, didn’t he?) and then off to Calais. We by-pass the car ferry and get to centre-ville. We’re looking for Place d’Armes street but the signs are small, faded, and on the side of the brick buildings. We drive for a bit and Johanne says we must have passed it. She tells me to turn up a street to see what’s up there. I have a flashback to the Dunkerque fiasco and refuse. I make a U turn and pull over. “You’re too impatient,” she says. “I’m sure it’s just up there somewhere.” I walk back to the road to confirm that Avis is not just up there somewhere. We drive back from where we came and come to the road. We turn down and there, across from the square, is the red Avis sign. Johanne looks at me with an “I told you so” smile. I park, get the paperwork ready and my explanation as to why we are dropping the car off here and not in Dunkerque. Wouldn’t you just know it. The office is closed. A sign on the door explains their opening hours, during their vacation period. Of course, it couldn’t all just work out, could it? Okay, I’d better call them. As I walk back to the car to get a paper and pen, a woman approaches the office with papers in her arms and keys in her hands. All Right! She explains that during the vacation period, only one person serves the 2 offices in Calais and they shuttle back and forth. If we had been thirty minutes earlier or later, we would have missed her. I explain what happened and she just nods her head, asks if I filled the car, and we’re done. What an angel! She calls for a taxi and ten minutes later, we are at the Calais ferry terminal. The process is much the same as an airport – tickets, security, customs & immigration, and wait in lounge area for a shuttle bus to take us to P&O’s Pride of Canterbury. We board. Johanne settles in, making sure she knows where all the exits are in case we hit an iceberg and sink like the Titanic. I leave her pondering where the lifejackets are and go above decks to take some photos.The crossing is very smooth and I can see the famous white cliffs in the distance.