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Flag of Calais

Date: 7/8/99

        It’s very hot and muggy in Luxembourg and we wonder whether our room in London is air conditioned. It’s a 4 hour drive from Luxembourg through Belgium and northern France and beautiful countryside before we reach Calais on the Channel, where Hitler thought the Allies would land on D Day. It was 5 PM and we could have caught a ferry but it was overcast and beginning to rain. After checking out the ferries (1.5 hrs to cross), I decided to buy a ticket for the hovercraft for 1 PM the next day. My run through the city was refreshing as I was also taking a shower at the same time. We found a great little French restaurant (Au Coq d’Or) for our last continental dinner.
Calais, though rainy last night, was bright and sunny in the morning, with skies full of fluffy cumuli. A good decision to wait the weather out. Drive the car to the Hovercraft landing and wait in line to watch this monster from the sea flying toward us at 60 mph. As it gracefully slides on to the beach the plumes of mist surrounding it change to those of dust. It truly is scary as it slowly appears as if it will engulf all of us. Then the propellers winds down and the balloons surrounding its base slowing exhaust their air and it settles to the ground. Its mouth opens to regurgitate all the cars and people. Now it is our turn to drive into it. We leave the car stored in its center and take a plush seat in the side areas as the propellers wind up again. We slide across the sand and in a few minutes we are literally "flying" over the waters of the English Channel (Mer di Manche).
We bumped and shook as we traveled along barely able to see out the windows due to all the mist blown up. We could just make out the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover as we passed them.
My stopwatch timed it at exactly 30 minutes from France to England. We drive off uneasily, fully aware that we must, for the first time, experience driving on the wrong (left) side of the road. We put the GPS system on and made the 80 mile drive from Dover to London and it took us to the front door of the Forte Posthouse without an incident. After unpacking, Marcia needed a glass of wine to settle her nerves and I had a Guinness. That is the last time I will have a Guinness before I have to do my run. What a killer running through Bloomsbury Park with that on my stomach.
We got settled in since we will be here for 2 weeks and then explored the Bloomsbury neighborhood before taking our first ride in the Tube (subway) to the Seashell for a repeat of those great fish (haddock) and chips. The Underground station is only one block from our door. The Tube back and our first day in London is done. Full circle London-Paris-Munich-Nuremberg-Milano-London. Where did the month go.

PS: If anyone has emailed us since 7/3/99, we were not able to open it. We can send mail out, receive email and see the subject line but are unable to open and read the letter. For the time being, until I can figure out the problem, send important info only in the subject line (Re: ) which is all we can read.
 

KJH                                                                                     Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #19 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

KHofferMD@AOL.com            RETURN TO INDEX

London, England

Sent 7-8-99

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