Sirens blaring, horns blasting.....our welcome to Hotel Meurice

Dejectedly plunking our burdensome baggage on the pavement, seconds away from unapologetically  kicking it to the curb and just walking away, le Kid and I were beyond fatigued, hopelessly lost somewhere amongst the criss-crossing rues and avenues of a sandy beached fishing port.  Mentally preparing ourselves for the not so remote possibilities of having to spend our first and only night in Calais sleeping on a park bench, fighting the squirrels for a couple of nuts and shuddering at the prospect of having to now scrap with the birds for lukewarm bath water, we were in quite the conundrum indeed.  It was le Kid who initially spotted the police cruiser parked at the far end of the deserted avenue, a beacon of hope to two stranded foreigners who were clearly incapable of getting from Point A to Point B without incurring some form of haphazard roadblock. 

Clearly convinced that we were beyond clued-out, the kind gendarmes pointed us in the correct direction, indicating that Hotel Meurice was located a mere hop, skip and a jump away, just around the corner from where we were currently standing.  Yikes!!  Who knew?  Note to self – try to remember to pack that “oh, so handy” map on future transatlantic sojourns.  After all, having to rely on pure instinct alone is not the most reliable or desirable method of arriving at your destination, that is, if you don’t mind spending the majority of your annual three week holiday traipsing around foreign lands in a discombobulated state of aimless wandering. 

Hopes dashed that she wouldn’t be escorted to the hotel in a fleet of “sirens blaring and horns blasting totally cool” (her words, not mine) patrol cars, my niece was on the verge of tears, crest-fallen that her “once in a lifetime chance” of joy-riding in such a vehicle had been quickly squashed by an “unbelievably mean ol’ Auntie”.  Like seriously? Just wait Miss Kid, you’re still young, plenty of time in which to possibly finagle a way in which to accomplish said goal.

Stepping foot in resplendently charming Hotel Meurice (5 & 7 rue Edmond Roche) the exterior façade of this three star guest house does not do justice to the quaint and homey warmth emanating from the interior of this gem of a find.  Located virtually in the centre of town, the hotel is an affordable luxury in the middle of a nondescript ville.  Greeted by the welcoming bienvenues of the hotel staff and a leashed rescue dog, our Calais digs were one of the unexpected highlights of our one night stay.  The grand old sweeping staircase invoked memories of the old-fashioned kind and was a comforting leap back into the tranquility of a by-gone era.

Checking into our upgraded suite (in retrospect, I believe that that the hotel staff took pity upon us, two weary sweat drenched wanderers in dire need of a hot bath and a warm bed), both the Kid and I gawked in disbelief at the luxuriousness of our palatial French salon, grateful to finally stretch out our limbs and dreamily languish – that is, at least until supper time and our frenzied search for dinner on a Sunday evening in a town with early closing hours.

Who says that meandering aimlessly for hours on end doesn’t have its perks?

Next week – Discovering Calais – Come traipse with us on adventures unknown as we amble up and down the avenues (yes, once again!) in quest of sustenance and National Geographic digital moments.

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