Spending one on one time with Sofa is precious to me. I need a girl day every so often just as much as she does. We love the loud crazy boys in our house but having the occasional escape from them is our treat. Yesterday we had our first overseas girl day adventure. We went to Lille in France.
The trip was organised by the social club from my work and I’d booked the tickets back in the summer. I had a last minute panic when I realised Sofia needed a new passport. Massive thanks goes to my husband, Rolando, who braved a trip to the passport office with the twins in tow. Sofia’s passport arrived on Tuesday and she has been bouncing off the walls excited since I told her that we were going to France.
After the recent tragedies in Paris I did question whether it was a good idea to go to France. Especially when I realised how close Lille is to the Belgium boarder and there was security alerts in Belgium all week. Some people from our party decided not to travel. After talking it over with Rolando I decided we should carry on with life and to trust that security would be extra tight. I shuddered when I saw a poster at boarder security appealing for mobile phone footage of the Paris attacks.
We had a very early start to get a coach to the coast for a mid morning shuttle. The journey was long but it didn’t drag at all. We were too excited and played games on Sofia’s kiddy camera, watched the Minions Movie on the Ipad and worked our way through our stash of magazines.
I’d never been on the Euro Tunnel before. It was not quite what I was expecting. There was very little space between the vehicles and the side of the carriage and there is a noticeable change in air pressure. Going to the toilet felt like a bit of an expedition! The crossing was very quick and uneventful and we were soon back on the road again. We were excited to arrive just after lunch time and were ready to get off the coach and start exploring.
Five things we loved about Lille
- The Ferris wheel
Sofia’s eyes lit up when we spotted the big wheel in the centre of the city and the first thing we did was get in the queue for a ride. I was surprised that Sofia wasn’t even a tiny bit nervous. I on the other hand was holding onto the handrail rather tightly. We got an incredible view from the top and it helped us get our bearings of where to head next. Later in the day the wheel was light up in coloured lights which looked stunning.
- Super fast carousel
From the Ferris wheel we spied what looked like a big carousel and that was our next stop. I don’t think carrousel is really the right name for this funny ride but I don’t know what it would be called. We sat in a cart that went around a bumpy circular track really fast. Towards the end a cover came over the top blocking out the light. It seemed even faster and bumpier in the dark. We both loved it and my face was aching when I got off from laughing the whole time.
- Long leisurely lunch
We decided to go into a tiny little café for lunch. I noticed that it was full of French people rather than tourists which is probably a good sign. It was fun trying to decipher the menu and ask for our food in our very bad French. Sofia was actually better at trying out her French than I was. She proudly said “merci” and “au revior” to lots of people.
- The Christmas market
There was one square that was full of little wooden stalls selling all kinds of different things. It had beautiful fairy lights everywhere and instantly made me feel Christmasy (and forget that it wasn’t even December yet). It was quite compact and very busy. We took our time slowly looking at everything before we chose what to buy. We bought hand made soaps, some beautiful metal star Christmas tree decorations, a star shaped luminary and a turtle shaped magnet for Sofia. There was lots of shops in the central area but we preferred to wander around outside and take in the sights.
We found a stall selling crepes and hot waffles. It had a massive queue but it was definitely worth the wait. I had a waffle with Nutella and Sofia had caramel sauce. It had started to rain by this point so we took our sweet sticky treats into the covered area in front of the tourist office to shelter from the rain.
We were starting to run out of steam by the time we got back on the coach. It had been a full day and we had done lots of walking. We had another long drive to get back to the UK. We didn’t get very much sleep on the coach as we struggled to get comfortable but we got back to our drop off point an hour earlier than scheduled.
I loved spending so much time with Sofia. She is such a good travel companion as she is so enthusiastic and excited to see new things. It was a long journey but really worth it. It has got me thinking where we could go on our next girl day adventure.