Day 17: Le Return! We spent one night at Camping Municipal Les Ajoncs at Audresselles, just below Cap Gris Nez. Cost per night €14 including EHU and access to all the campsite facilities….a bargain and only 20 mins from the Euro Tunnel terminal. Next stop was the pre-tunnel booze run. We located a “Majestic” near to the terminal and spent 45mins buying booze, as only the brits can…no finesse, no culture, all based on price! Job Done.
We then moved into the tunnel terminal, again the process for the uninitiated is very simple and very slick. The crucial bit was getting the Mutts through Pet Passport Control, which was completed quickly and without fuss. The Tunnel is definitely our preferred method of travel between Blighty and mainland Europe, its simple, slick and hassle-free. The driving on and off the train is a doddle, much easier than getting on and off a ferry. They also offered us the opportunity to travel on a slot an hour earlier after we checked in….happy days. 40 mins after driving onto the carriage, we were disembarking at Ashford, ready to face the delights of the British transport network.
Before embarking at Calais, the “Other Half” in a rare moment of generosity offered to drive the journey from Ashford – North Wales! Foolish girl….I of course readily accepted, having half a clue of what she was going to face. All was tickety-boo as we thundered up the M20, heading towards the London Orbital.
As we hit the M25, the satnav piped up “90 Min Delay in 6 mile”…..Surely not?, there must be some mistake my dear, nothing on the traffic bulletins…the problems are at Dartford, not on the clockwise route?…So thats how we spent the next 2 hours, stop/starting along Britain’s biggest white elephant. After 16 days of hassle free motoring in France, this was a reality check. Its also what faces foreign visitors to our shores. Not a great advertisement for our tourism industry. I honestly don’t see how we as a country can be investing in HS2, when the real issue is the lack of capacity on the existing road system and high prices on the current rail network. Other than a couple of broken down cars we didn’t actually see what was causing the problems.
So glad I wasn’t driving, instead I had full access to the music controls, sweets, internet and a comfy chair with arms….zzzzzzzzzzzz
So lets summarise the last few weeks.
Distance Travelled = 1300miles
Nights in Van = 20
Nights spent off hook-up = 2
Gas used = Less than 1 6kg cylinder.
Arguments = 5 (All Map/”Where are We” related)
Inter-Famila Murders Committed = 0
Overall this has been a brilliant trip. We’ve spent nearly 3 straight weeks living in a metal box and haven’t committed murder. We’ve been introduced to the joys of touring in mainland Europe and we got to have a good look at Northern France. The country is so easy to travel through, it’s a motorists dream and the fuels much cheaper (€1.27 for a litre of diesel). The French were generally friendly and warm-hearted, the language difficulties can always be overcome, but they do appreciate the salutations in their language…A “Bonjour” and “Merci” go a long way . They have a lifestyle that we as a nation can only envy, try getting any service between noon and 1400hrs…not a chance, the country closes for lunch.
On future mainland travels we will try and visit other areas of this vast country, we loved it.
A big thanks to all who have responded to the blog, its quite nice to know that someone somewhere is reading your work. If anyone wants beginners advice to touring France…just shout!
Next stop….Elan Valley…Thursday