From Paris - 'Snowed In?', 'Snowed Up?'

Yesterday was a day we had been waiting for... Swee’ Pea was coming home for Christmas, directly from LA.

When we woke up on Sunday morning, snow had been falling all night long - crazy isn’t it? Snow for Christmas in Paris, Brittany, Brussels. (And in other parts of Europe, so we heard but we were feeling a little bit selfish then and there.)

Swee’ Pea was scheduled to land in Roissy (the BIG international Paris/France airport, northwest of Paris) around noon.

Since the Paris area had already known dreadful snow problems two weeks ago, we figured that this time, our so  incompetent Meteorological Office had sent warnings to whoever was in charge of traffic (both road and air) and that everything would be allright, for a change.

Driving through Paris was very hard around ten and it was still very bad around noon when we left to pick up our dear son in Roissy.

The freeway had been cleared of snow but it still was quite slippery.

When we got to Roissy, we were feeling so elated that we kind of became very stupid. We should have noticed that there were no planes in the sky at all. We did not. The only planes we could see were covered with snow and they looked terribly stranded.

The airport was filled with thousands of people. This was supposed to be a departure day for Christmas holidays... We went to the arrival gate where hundreds of people were waiting, some of them looking awfully tired and worried.

We were not worried because you see, we have iPhones and the ‘Flight Track’ app.

At the arrival gate, the noon flight from LA was already posted on the board. 12:02. And then nothing else.

We checked our ‘Flight Track’. The plane was said to have landed in Roissy at 12:02. (Good.) The weird thing being that it supposedly was still up there, flying. (Not so good.)

Previous flights were shown as ‘Landed’ so we thought that there had been some computer bug.

It was quite impossible to ask any question to an Air France clerk. There was only one at the desk and about 200 people standing in line with the same idea: trying to know what was going on.

I sat down while Popeye was walking around. It had been quite hard to find a seat. But Popeye found one. This man is precious. Next to me, there was a young man, looking truly bereaved. No suitcases, no bags.

I realized that almost no one was coming out from the arrival gate. Roissy at this time of the year being an extremely busy airport, weird, very weird.

Then two guys came up to the boy sitting next to me.

‘Do you want something to eat?’

‘No. I’m so f-g tired, man.’

American travelers obviously lost in the airport. But since when?

We kept waiting and waiting. No announcement made whatever. Except that they were closing the boarding checkpoints for the day. So weird. Because by then, snow had stopped falling.

It was 1:30 p.m.

Still waiting for information.

Then a miracle happened. People with hand luggage came out, looking exhausted. And then people with no luggage at all...

I overheard a woman calling her husband. (Wow, those cellphones are great, after all.) She had been coming out with no luggage and two teenagers wearing sneakers. She was asking her husband to come and pick them up at the station (?) since their luggage had not been delivered and wouldn’t be until a couple of days. ‘They were very cold and with no shoes fit to walk in the snow’, she added.

I asked where she was coming from.

‘New York.’

They had landed at 9:30, right on schedule but they had stayed in the plane ever since until their pilot was allowed to taxi along the runway... four hours later.

I don’t think it was really funny but there had been no snow in New York when they left.

Then my cellphone started ringing. Swee’ Pea’s picture on the screen. Great!

‘Hello, where are you?’

‘In Marseille. We were running out of gas so the pilot decided not to wait any longer circling above Roissy. We are supposed to fly back to Paris in the afternoon.’

Marseille is by the Mediterranean Sea, about 500 miles from Paris.

Great. Then he hung up after telling me that he’d call again as soon there would be some news about their departure from Marseille.

We then left Roissy because we knew that many hours would go by before his plane would make it back to Paris.

As soon as we were back on the freeway, it started to rain. A stormy kind of rain. And no black ice. The temperature was going up like crazy.

It was -1°C when we left Roissy. When we arrived in Paris, it was up to 6°C. Crazy. The snow was melting so fast it was incredible.

We started waiting for some news, hoping that air traffic would resume.

3:30 p.m. A new phone call from Swee’ Pea.

‘We’re still in Marseille. They are letting some people out but without their luggage. Those who live nearby or who can catch another flight from Marseille to wherever they are going to, South of France or Africa. We’ll probably be leaving in a couple of hours.’

4:30 p.m. (It does sound like ’24’, I know.)

‘We are leaving the plane. It will fly back to Paris at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Is there any way you could get me a train ticket for tonight? I want to come home so badly.’

In France, we have TGV (high-speed train). 3 hours from Marseille to Paris. Yes, I know, quite incredible! Planes grounded and trains still running (almost on time).

We booked a seat on the 18:35 TGV from Marseille. Swee’ Pea called us when he was aboard. He’d be in Paris at 9:31 p.m. I love train schedules - so accurate!

We resumed our long wait. But what’s 3 hours compared to one whole day. We were going to pick him up at Gare de Lyon (the Paris station where all trains from Southern France arrive).

By then, we were feeling very sorry for Swee’ Pea who had left his apartment almost 24 hours ago. (He had made a point to book a direct and expensive flight from LA to Paris since last year, he had had so many problems in Chicago due to heavy snow falls. Good for you, Swee’Pea.)

We made sure to get to the station well ahead of schedule. But there was no snow left in Paris. It was kind of warm and very windy, totally contradicting the Meteorological Office, once again.

When we got to the station, all the trains from Southern France were delayed. (Long delay too.)

So we waited and waited, trying to find a warm spot in the station. Train stations are so scoured by drafts. 6°C are allright when you are in a warm car. Quite a different feeling when you are waiting on a platform (the waiting rooms being used as a place of refuge for homeless people) plus the North wind factor.

10:02 p.m.

The train finally came in.

We spotted Swee’ Pea at the same time (the platform was quite dark). Our third eye, I’m sure. Parental instinct.

He was smiling. And he did look dead-beat.

‘I’m so happy to see you. By the way, do you happen to have an extra pair of gloves, please?’

Popeye very gracefully took his off and gave them to his son.

Fatherly love.

I felt a little bit disappointed my gloves wouldn’t fit.

Next winter, I’ll make sure to get XL gloves. Just in case Swee’ Pea feels like flying from LA to Paris for Christmas.

You won’t believe it but it was a good thing he decided to leave Marseille by train. This morning, his plane is still stranded there and will be for a long time.

Snow has been falling over the Paris area since 5:00 a.m. contradicting, etc. Very heavy snow too.

Whoever wrote ‘Let It Snow, Let It Snow’ was having a very romantic view of life, sitting on a cosy armchair, by a warm fireplace. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Wikipedia says that the song was written in July 1945, in Hollywood, during one of the hottest summer day ever.

Go back to California, Swee’ Pea!

This morning, while discovering the thick coat of snow in the gardens behind his building, we heard a sigh.

‘This snow is amazing. I had totally forgotten what it looked like.’

I wish I had.

*Good Luck, and Good Night*


A bad IHC (I Hate Christmas) crisis

My many distressing symptoms have finally been diagnosed as a bad bout of SAD.

Good. No cancer this time. Simply SAD. SAD as in SADness... Almost.

You see, it is Christmas time... I hate Christmas.

I did not always hate Christmas. I even have very good and cherished memories of Past Christmases.

Some dating back to the time when I was living in Canada and the States and we’d go carolling to resthomes and we’d bring food to families who were badly off. There was such a very warm Christmassy feeling of sharing.

There also were Christmases with a young child, then Christmases with a much older child and friends whose life was lonely and forlorn. Great Christmases filled with love.

I just read a blog about Christmas written by someone I love. It was filled with melancholy. Just like a mirror to my feelings. Except that the writer did not go as far as saying that she hates Christmas because she does not. And good for her!

I hate Christmas.

You see, I’ve been travelling back and forth from Brussels to Paris. Big cities are harsh places to be at Christmas time. You’d think that lights and Christmas trees sagging beneath golden decorations would fill anyone with joy and happiness.

They don’t. At least not me.

Every time those lights are on, I start feeling worse.

The lights are beautiful but where is the feeling of ‘Christmas’ in cities like Paris and Brussels? The lights are sparkling and they conceal what is so evident during daytime. The homeless shivering below the subway underpass, the jobless who is getting more and more desperate, the lonely old woman on the third floor of the building, the neglected children next door.

At Christmas, we want lights and rich food and merriment and GIFTS.

There is this festive atmosphere everywhere. Festive? Shopping-friendly atmosphere, let’s say. The stores are crowded. People buying and buying. Ok, buying helps the economy. It may even create jobs (temp).

But isn’t it wrong though when people ask: ‘What do you want for Christmas?’

‘What do I want for Christmas?’ Well, a lot of things, but not necessarily for Christmas. A lot of things, but not necessarily material. And maybe not those many things after all.

A friend of mine with whom I share cancer (and now recovery on its way) wrote a very interesting thing the other day. People, she said, have so many/too many wishes whereas sick people have only one: Life.

She is so right.

Do I really hate Christmas? All right, maybe not this much after all.

Life is life and seasons are seasons. So rejoice, people.

It’s Christmas. Our nights are already shorter and the days are getting longer. We are on our way to Spring! That’s it!

Would I love Christmas if I was living in the Southern Hemisphere?

Merry Christmas to all of you!

*Good Night, and Good Luck*


Our sweet French Corner in Belgium or all about the renewal of our I.D. card

Last week, we received a note asking us to renew our registration to the French Consulate expat list.

Our consular I.D. card is still good until the end of 2012 (election year in France). But going through our I.D. cards (the Belgian residence permit, the Consular I.D. card and the French I.D. card), we realized that we no longer had a valid French I.D. card (since March).

In France, the I.D. card is the only valid identification... And you have to carry it with you all the time, just in case.

And it’s no use to try to show your (valid) passport nor your (lifelong) driving licence either. I know. I’ve been through a couple of identity checks.

Since we had to go to the Consulate to renew our registration, we decided it would be a good idea to renew our I.D. cards as well.

I googled the French Consulate website to make sure we’d have the right  papers and pictures with us because they make you wait an awful long time and Popeye is a very busy man.

I found some old I.D. pictures for Popeye (who hasn’t aged too much, I have to admit). But I was smiling on mine. This is strictly forbidden now. I have a hard time to understand why but it is not good at all to start thinking when dealing with the public services.

I went to the nearest camera store to get my picture taken. Since I haven’t been feeling too good lately, I do look awfully tired. I knew I was not supposed to wear make-up. I thought I’d look a little bit better if I wore a red scarf over my shoulders with matching earrings (not showy but red).

Popeye got home around noon and off we went to the French Consulate in Brussels.

Getting into the building is hard enough (worse than airports, just imagine) but once you are inside, you think that nothing worse can happen.

Wrong. There was a lady at the ‘welcome’ desk. She took one look at me and I understood right away that I was in trouble. Funny how many (fake) blond and oldish women are disturbed by grey short hair.

She took one look at my ID pictures, shook her head in complete disbelief. You see, she didn’t like my earrings. So she gave the pictures back to me. I couldn’t help but say: ‘I’m not wearing an Islamic headscarf, am I?’. Bad move.

Popeye looked at me, looking real mad! Oh, oh! Then he gave her his pictures. Not the legal size, thank you. Ah, ah, ah. Maybe he should have been wearing a tie. (I kept my mouth shut but no one can prevent me from thinking.)

We left. And then I heard something like: ‘I hate it so much when French people act stupidly when they are in a foreign country! And this is what you just did in front of the clerk. She was doing her job after all.’

Foreign country? We were in the French Consulate, for goodness sake, i.e. we were in France! And I had been polite even if a little bit sarcastic. Men are so different from women. Bad day anyway.

We went back to the picture store. No earrings. No scarf on my shoulders. Still no tie for Popeye.

And yesterday, we went back to the Consulate with pictures, our old I.D. cards, without forgetting all the papers mentioned on the consular website.

Popeye almost had to get his clothes off before being allowed to get in. I was already inside... (I had learnt the tricks the day before but as I said, men are different from women.)

And then my good friend, the charming blong clerk, started sniggering: ‘Some people do love to get undressed, don’t they?’

‘I imagine you are not aware you are talking about my husband, are you?’

My turn. Fair backlash.

She turned very red. But when we showed her our pictures, she inspected them very carefully. I guess her job is really boring. Alas, the pictures were obviously totally in line with the instructions.

We then went to the waiting room and we waited and waited until our number was called.

We met with another clerk. She was a quite nice young lady. We started renewing our registration. Just imagine, we had been summoned because the first time we were there in 1998, they had forgotten to ask us about our height and our eyes color.

The eye color stuff really bothers Popeye a lot. You see, when it’s sunny, his eyes are green. When it’s getting dark, they turn to brown.

The cat had got my tongue. I had learnt my lesson. I did not ask the clerk whether or not it would be possible for him to have two consular I.D. cards - one for the day, one for the night. But it did go through my mind.

‘Dear Franz Kafka, I’m writing this letter to you to let you know that bureaucracy has changed since you wrote The Trial, etc. It’s a lot worse.’

Renewal of the registration - Over.

I.D. card renewal - Next.

The pictures were allright.

Then the young lady asked: ‘May I see the copies of your birth certificates, please?’

Birth certificates? The cards only needed renewal. They were not our first I.D cards. We are getting old and I.D. cards have been mandatory ever since we were 18.

We had our passports but no birth certificates. I was waiting for Popeye to say something, which he did - more nicely than I would have, I admit.

‘Why do you need our birth certificates? The website does not mention it’s mandatory for renewal.’

‘The website was not updated, Monsieur. I’m sorry but there is a new law. We have to make sure you are French.’

Popeye looked at me, quite appalled. Weren’t we French? Our old cards came from this Consulate.

And then the girl added:

‘It won’t take long. It says here that you were born in France.’

‘Then what?’

‘Sir, we need your birth certificate, that’s all.’

I.D. card renewal - To be continued.

Once we were outside, we looked at each other in total disbelief.

And then we remembered what our dear friend N. had told us a month ago. She’s French, born in France but her parents were born in Algeria when Algeria was French. Their birth town archives have been destroyed during the independence war. No proof they were French. But they’ve always had French I.D papers without any problem.

Last month, N.'s sister could not get her passport renewed. Yes, this is what I wrote: ‘renewed’. Because she could not prove her parents were born in French Algeria. Both her grandfathers have fought Germany as French soldiers. To no avail.

Not funny. Not funny at all.

When I got back home, I checked  our I.D. file. There they were. Copies of our birth certificates. Yes but they were 11 years old. You’ll think that they should be good. I’m not sure any longer.

So I went to the French Government website and applied for new birth certificates. I wrote Popeye’s name and surname and then one question popped out: ‘Were you born in France?’  Our family name is so Frenchy/French. I just couldn’t believe my eyes.

And then an instruction popped out on my screen. ‘If you were born in France, click here’, which I did and found myself on a completely new page.

Georges Orwell was laughing loud and clear over my shoulder so I did not try to stay on the previous page... I was so sure that the following question would be: ‘Are your parents French?’

We were upset and critical when the so-called National Identity Survey was launched by the government. We felt so much better when they stopped it, under many pressures, especially from the Civil Rights movements.

They stopped the survey. But you have to ask for I.D. papers to realize that a new law has been voted anyway, a very shameful law.

This is France once more.

The country of the Declaration of the Rights of Men. My dear, dear country.

But are we really French, after all?

*Good Night, and Good Luck*


Facebook, I Love You

© - yes, I know!

A few years ago, my son Swee’ Pea asked me to become his ‘friend’ on Facebook. I was resting in Brittany after a long fight with cancer. I was tickled to death (well, this is a very inappropriate expression as far as I’m concerned) . Anyway... his ‘friend’ on ‘Facebook’! Wow.

I opened my account and started using it, as well as I knew at the time... which means not well at all. I loved finding ‘friends’, most of them being my son’s friends. I loved adding my very witty ‘comments’. But more than anything else, I loved to create pictures albums.

I really enjoyed every minute I spent working on my computer, adding stuff to Facebook.

Adding stuff? Well, adding pictures all the time. Flower pictures, summer pictures and... Swee’ Pea’s and friends’ pictures.

Very bad, I was told. This was a very bad breach of trust and etiquette because I had not asked prior permission to put the pictures on line.

I did not know there was some kind of etiquette on Facebook concerning pictures, especially since those pictures were very nice, I thought and since they were mine too.

I am very uncomprimising and since I was asked to take those pictures off from my account, I decided to quit. Just like that.

I desactivated my account, which was quite interesting at the time. ‘Facebook’ didn’t take it very easy.

I did though and I resumed my life without Facebook. Detox wasn’t too painful. Real life friends were still there. And some ‘Facebook friends’ kept in touch.

Then Swee’ Pea left France to go to work in faraway places. He asked me to open a new account so that we’d feel closer. Please notice that he asked me to. He didn’t beg me to reconsider my position. Too happy to comply!   Detox, did I say detox?

For a while though, I did wonder how close Facebook could make me feel to my own son. Skype could do the trick. Phone calls and mails would be nice too.

He convinced me. I opened a new account. I got my ‘friends’ back (most of them - the ones I cared about anyway). And then I started to make new ‘friends’. I found through Facebook old ‘real life friends’. Very easy... But then some of them turned out to be only ‘Facebook friends’ after all.

I’m glad to say that most of ‘my friends’ are real friends and that I only share half of them with Swee’ Pea. Of course, my ‘friends’ are not as numerous as his, because whenever I travel to and from Brittany or Belgium by train, whenever I meet someone, I do not ask: ‘Do you have a ‘Facebook’ account? Do you want to become my friend?’

I guess I am too old for this or maybe too French - old and French - French and old.

I no longer post pictures with or without permission. Because I have discovered ‘Mobile Me’ which is very convenient and quite private too. Gee, I’m really getting old. Not true. I've discovered the blogger's world too.

I enjoy looking at my Facebook friends’ pictures and even my Facebook friends’ friends if they are careless enough not to secure them.

Am I turning into a Peeping Tom? Thank you so much, Facebook, for revealing the dark sides of my nature.

Well, anyway, I probably enjoy Facebook very much because my life is not very exciting most of the time and rather lonely... and so your pictures, my ‘friends’, help me travel around the world, live vicariously your happy moments. Thank you so much for enlightening an otherwise very dreary life.

Please, keep posting pictures. Don’t let my candor stress you out. I love your pictures! I do! And I never gossip about them!

Another thing I love about Facebook is the background ‘diversity’ of my ‘friends’.

(By the way, the quotation marks are not at all derogatory. They help make a difference between my real life friends who are getting fewer and fewer due to age and sickness, and my Facebook ‘friends’, who mostly thanx to Swee’ Pea, are young and healthy! End of digression.)

My ‘friends’ background is most interesting. Sometimes it gets very frustrating though.

Let me explain. On my ‘News Feed’, I get messages written in French, English from GB, Ireland and India, American English (well it’s all English since you can’t talk on Facebook or can you? Anyway it looks impressive.).

I'll add Spanish, Portuguese (from Brazil), Russian, Azeri (probably), Tamil and what else. Well, of course, Arabic - classical, Lebanese and Syrian. Let’s not forget Chinese (Mandarin).

Amazing when you realize I’ve been living most of my life (half of it, I’d say) in a world when picking up ‘Voice of America’ through the shortwave of my transistor was a remarkable feat! A totally split and paranoid world!

Imagine my frustration when one of my ‘friends‘ writes a long message in his/hers native language and gets like fifty answers to it while I’m home, scratching my head, a little bit bewildered but mainly amazed! This is the real world out there on my computer screen and I’m part of it. Thank you, Facebook.

Thank goodness, most of you, my ‘friends’, speak and write English... which means that sometimes, I do send you a very shy ‘I Like’ sign... Wow, I love being part of such a world!

One last thing I love about Facebook besides keeping in touch so easily, with you, my ‘friends’...
(Another digression or rambling about my ‘friends’. You wouldn’t be on my list if I did not like you a lot - there are a few exceptions though because I am so polite. Ah, ah, got you there... ‘Who is she talking about?’ Don’t even worry about that. You’ve got hundreds of other ‘friends’ and besides, I was just joking. ‘I Like’ you all.)

Back to the last thing I love, bla bla bla...

Facebook helps me keep track of global time. Let me explain. I do not spend all my life on Facebook but when I do, let’s say, it’s noon in Belgium. Some of you have been awake for a long time while some of you are still asleep. It’s so much fun to watch the first American messages coming in... I’m moving along with the earth. Well, I always do, of course! I’m not that dumb. But Facebook has a nice way to make it very tangible.

One last, last thing: Thanx to you, my ‘friends’, I no longer loose a lot of time on the web. Most of the time, you provide extremely interesting posts or links. It does save me a lot of time and I feel like I’m forever learning. This is extremely enjoyable.

The universe is expanding! Thank you so much my dear friends/‘friends’. Real ones and virtual ones as well!

Thank you so much, Facebook. Swell idea after all!

But watch out, you guys. Remember Aesop's fable about the tongue!!! What’s great can also be very bad! (I’m also a George  Orwell’s fan, sorry. Can’t help it! 'Big Brother' is always looming in!)

Remember - shortwave transistor and paranoid world!

*Good Night, and Good Luck*


My Travel Book - Brittany - The day Popeye and Olive Oyl never made it to Saint-Malo

Last May, Popeye and his beloved Olive Oyl spent a few days in Brittany. The weather was beautiful. Sunny and crisp, maybe a little bit chilly once you were at sea.

‘A perfect day to reach Saint-Malo by sea’, said Popeye.

Olive Oyl thought that maybe it would be better to go by car. There are days when she likes boating but the weather has to be perfect, sunny and warm.

When Popeye gets his mind set on putting out to sea, there is no way to have him change his mind.

So out to sea, they went.

Saint-Malo is a very famous harbor in Brittany. It is an ancient fortified town as well as a modern sea and sailing resort. It’s also a ferry terminal to go England.

Its ramparts were built by Vauban, King Louis XIV’s military architect.

Jacques Cartier sailed from there on his way to discover Canada. It also was a haven for many privateers and pirates.

Saint-Malo is surrounded by several military forts, no longer in use, all of them built by Vauban, to protect the privateers and the riches they brought to France.

So back to Popeye and Olive Oyl.

They decided to go to Saint-Malo along the coastline.

Great sandy beaches
Dinard and its huge old mansions
Popeye had forgotten one thing. Very surprising but he did. They left their port of registry without even realizing it was low tide.

That’s what you get for being moored in a deep-water port. You're no longer in  touch with reality.
Saint-Malo has the most important tidal range in Brittany, if you consider that Saint Michael’s Mount (Mont Saint-Michel) is in Normandy: a 46 feet difference from high tide to low tide. Impressive.

Of course, Popeye and Olive Oyl did not get stuck on the sand bar which sprang up very suddenly in front of the boat, quite an obstacle to their trip to Saint-Malo.

They could have turned round and resumed their journey by using the ferries path.

‘Too risky', said Olive. Popeye agreed. Besides it really was chilly. They would try it again during the summer. There would be plenty of time and beautiful warm sunny days ahead.

(How wrong they were! About the warm sunny days, that is.)

So they turned back and enjoyed the many islands, rocks and forts around Saint-Malo and along the way back to Saint-Cast.

'Ile Harbour'
'Fort de la Conchée'
'Fort National'

How lucky they were. At low tide, most of the rocks rise out of the water. At high tide (all the time actually), sailors are advised to focus their attention on the beacons and buoys. No rocks to be seen any longer.

It is absolutely essential to know that you have to sail to port (on the right side) when the beacon/buoy is red which means that you have to see it on your left.

When it is green, you do the opposite and sail to starboard (on the left side). And of course you have to see it on your right.

What happens when the sailor is color blind?

Very easy... The red beacon is cylindrical while the green one is topped with a cone.

If you fail to follow the rules, it will be your problem. You'll probably hit a rock and sink.

But no problem for the other 'landlubbers', outstanding sailors and fishermen. They will see this buoy.

They will know that your boat is lying there, at the bottom of the water.

Easy to understand why poor Olive Oyl never got her boating licence...

*Good Night, and Good Luck*


My Travel Book - Brittany - 'Cap Fréhel' and Wave Shoaling


In Brittany, not very far from Les Tertres, there is a very beautiful place, called ‘Cap Fréhel’.

It is the biggest and highest headland in the area. Very impressive. It boasts two lighthouses (one from the XVIIth century and the new one which was built in 1950).
At night, we see its revolving beacon from our living-room picture windows and it feels very safe.

Whenever we can, we go boating there because it really is breathtaking. The cliffs are 70 meters high in the air and plunge 60 meters down into the sea. The water there is so clear that you see the cliff almost down to the bottom of the sea.

It also is a famous bird sanctuary.

It’s a lot of fun to go boating as close as we can to the cliff but it’s impossible to berth there. At some time, we have to make a decision... go back where we came from or round the cape.

This can be very tricky because the deep waters become quite choppy even on a very nice day. Of course, going round a cape means strong currents. But ‘Cap Fréhel’ is also surrounded by rocky shoals which leave a very narrow way to round it.

Either you round it quite far away from it or you have to get as close to the cliff as you can, which is an easy thing to do when the sea is calm because close to the cliff, the sea looks like a lake. It gets absolutely crazy when the sea is rough.

This summer, the sea was allright, even for me, Olive Oyl. So we went many times to ‘Cap Fréhel’. As I said, it is breathtaking.

One day, we went there during a spring tide with an impressive range.

It was a first but we did not regret the experience.

Because we witnessed some great  wave shoaling.

As usual, we were boating very close to the cliff because there are always birds to be spotted. Popeye loves boating. I love watching birds.

It was low tide time. If we stuck to the cliff, the depth there was still about 30 meters. If we moved away to the right, a mere 100 meters away, the sea was only five meters deep. And very quickly, it became worse. Rocks were emerging, some of them quite impressive. The sea was coming out in goose pimples. Seamen will know what I’m talking about...

We decided to stick to the cliff after all.

On our side, the sea was very calm. We were watching the cape when I kind of glimpsed a huge wave on our right. It flattened and disappeared before Popeye could see it.

A huge wave. This had to be a joke. The sea was as calm as it could be. The goose pimples were still there of course...

We turned the boat around, facing the open sea. Another big wave broke out. I was right. Out of nowhere, there were waves. The goose pimples were turning into waves but only at the edge of the shoal.

It was so amazing. Waves from nowhere breaking out on a very calm sea.

I had to take pictures. Enjoy.

A wave from nowhere?
Another one that didn't seem to bother the fishermen
This one was quite a surprise for those kids!
They decided to move away but...
Yes, the first boat disappeared completely behind the wave!

This really was an amazing experience. Very beautiful too.

Something that we'll still talk about on long winter evenings.

During that afternoon we spent boating along 'Cap Fréhel', I almost loved being at sea. Well, not almost. I did enjoy thoroughly being on a boat. 

Quite a feat for Olive Oyl!

*Good Luck, and Good Night*