Wow. We’re on holiday! First time since late 2019, before the Great Covid Pandemic. So much missed time, especially when you’re old and you can’t afford to let 3 years go astray.
Overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, having cancelled our P&O booking as a protest at their shabby treatment of staff – fired without notice to bring in cheap Labour. And they go and announce a profit. Scandalous.
Heading for the Canal du Midi we have two stops, the first in a most elegant house in Reims, run by a lady who (1) speaks perfect BBC French so we have a chance of understanding and (2) books us into a great restaurant, Le Crypto. We’re in heaven. Since it’s pretty much the centre of the Champagne region, we kick off with a glass of local, small producer Sadi Malot blanc de blanc – just made from Chardonnay grapes, if you didn’t know. The restaurant is full, mostly with French people (who know a good thing when they see it) but next to us is a far eastern/American couple. They look at their (large) phones THE WHOLE TIME. Conversation? Dead. Photos taken (by both of them) of each course, no doubt uploaded to the inter web thingy as they eat. Actually really disgraceful (we’re old) and frankly we were shocked. Ok maybe only a little, as we’ve seen this thing several times before. Doesn’t make it right, mind.
We had a little table for 2 and enjoyed a splendid 2 courses. What a celebration of a return to Europe. How could we possibly leave? Whose demented, selfish, xenophobic idea was that? David Cameron. Pillock.
…and another thing. We stayed at a very lovely B&B in Reims – Demeure des Sacres. Very comfortable rooms, delightful breakfast and very close to safe underground parking [2 minutes]. Great restaurant recommendations.
and on the way south from Amsterdam along the Autoroutes we stopped at a service area. Quite frankly it was a good deal better than Waitrose and put our shoddy service areas to shame. Excellent soup, quiches being baked as you wait, fresh [and we mean fresh] fruit and vegetables. Goodness know why we can’t do this sort of thing in England.