Froglet in Saint-Omer

16 12 2006

I have wandered over to Saint-Omer. Thanks to its locations on disputed borders, the French, Flemish, English and Spaniards have repeatedly subjected it to sieges and military actions. Must be something in the River Aa’s water, because even the two local monasteries indulged in a bitter rivalry!

As a traveling froglet, I am interested in one of the men who had lived here: Alexandre Ribot (1842-1923), who was Prime Minister four times. Ribot! Ribot! Must have some frog ancestor somewhere…. 😉

I don’t speak French, but I found this site had some lovely representative photos of the Basilica, Abbey Ruins and other local sites. Also interesting was this bit about the fortifications.



14 12 2006

Niftiest discovery from my online travels: old postcards of Boulogne!

Other things I learned that I did not know before virtually visiting:

  • Boulogne is France’s biggest fishing port
  • The Boulogne Cathedral of Notre Dame has the second biggest dome in Europe (after Rome’s St Peter’s)
  • In about 633, when St. Omer was a bishop, legend has it that a mysterious boat carrying a luminous statue of the Virgin Mary appeared in the estuary of the river Liane at Boulogne – without oars, sails, or sailors! Townsfolk carried the statue to their church on the hill, and soon miracles were attributed to it. Later embellishments of the story had the boat pulled by a swan – which became the emblem of the town.

Tiny Froglet hops over the Straight of Dover

5 12 2006

I’m crossing the Straight of Dover today.  Or the Straight of Calais.  Depends on one’s perspective, right?  I’m wondering why, of all companions I could have had, I chose Annika.  After all, there aren’t hummingbirds in Europe.  Who knows–maybe she just wanted to come along for the ride.

(more at

Day Three – Froglet’s Itinerary

4 12 2006

I have an open-ended cyber ticket, so I will not assign dates to my itinerary, but I plan to visit the following cities in order, with possible unforeseen side trips thrown in:

Dover, Calais, Paris, Geneva, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, Innsbruck, Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, Potsdam, Munich, Holland and Flanders.

For now I will ponder the significance of leaving the most secure fortress on the British Isles for the open waters and uncertain future on the Continent.

 (for details, plus tidbits about Dover, visit

Tiny Froglet’s Luggage Labels

2 12 2006


Golden Mosaic Piece – Day One of Grand Tour

2 12 2006


In my backpack:  binoculars, notebook and pen (purple ink!), lots of chocolate and an Indian blanket.