Sunday, July 29, 2012

Days 34 – 36 (July 26 – 28, 2012)

Days 34 – 36 (July 26 – 28, 2012)

            On July 26, we cycled seven miles from our place in the suburbs to Gare du Nord train station in central Paris, where we took a train to Calais.  On the train, Sho and Saya made friends with a cute 5-year old and her parents from Mali, who were visiting family in France (see pic).  We also met Marcy and Peter Carpenter, a brother and sister from the U.S. who were near the end of a cycling trip through Europe.  They started in Italy and cycled through Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France.  They were headed to London to watch their 22-year old cousin, Taylor Phinney, compete in the Olympic cycling competitions (Taylor came in fourth place (!) in the road race yesterday and will compete in the time trial on Wednesday, Aug 1).  We got along great with Marcy and Peter, and ate dinner together in Calais.  They were very sweet with the kids – I included a pic of Peter reading the book “Mr. Strong” to Saya. 
            On July 27, Sho, Saya and I took a ferry from Calais, France to Dover, UK.  We made sure to hang out on the deck near the end, so that we could enjoy the view of the famous white cliffs.  We fell asleep that night watching the Olympics opening ceremony.
            On July 28, we started the day cycling up a short, but challenging climb (with a 13 percent grade at one point) to Dover Castle, where we spent the morning watching a re-enactment of the 1216 siege by Prince Louis of France.  Louis was attempting to overthrow King John, and the actors included plenty of witty dialogue explaining the complicated political intrigue surrounding the event.  Then the mayhem ensued with archers sending arrows into the fortress and two catapults pounding the stone walls with exploding stones.  It was a lot of fun to watch, and Saya was especially enthralled.  The weather was cool and pleasant as we cycled from Dover to Canterbury that afternoon, riding along narrow country roads.  I told Sho and Saya about Chaucer’s famous epic poem The Canterbury Tales, but they were more interested in the various bugs they found along the road. 
            We’ll make our way through Southern England over the next few days and hopefully catch a glimpse of Taylor Phinney in the cycling time trial on Wednesday.
            Here are some pics:

Saying goodbye to Eiko when she returned to Libya:

Sho and Saya with new friend:

Peter reading to Saya:

Marcy and Peter Carpenter:

Cycling onto ferry from Calais to Dover:

View from ferry into Dover:

Saya on beach in Dover:

Siege of Dover Castle:

Saya the warrior:

On the road from Dover to Canterbury:

Canterbury Cathedral:

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