In a last minute change of plan, I actually left home on Thursday night, stopping overnight in a cheap hotel – the one in the motorway service station at Maidstone.
As a result of that I had very little driving to do today, so I feel like I made little progress – but actually, crossing the channel means I’m now abroad, and I’ve got a week to travel at my leisure before I need to get my next ferry.
The Port of Dover has not been subject to the same chaos as the Eurotunnel this week, which meant that my ferry left on time, with me on board. Passport control and check-in were busy, but otherwise nothing too difficult. (The 20 minute wait before they opened the lane for passport control before check-in was the worst bit).
At the other end, a simple 45 minute-ish drive to my first overnight stop on this side of the channel: Boulogne-sur-Mer. Easy!
Slightly annoying though was that my car’s GPS tracker stopped working at Dover and has now decided to text me my GPS co-ordinates every 30 seconds, instead of uploading the data to the online tracker. Stupid technology!
This being the height of Summer, with hot sunshine as well, Boulogne was busy. The car park opposite the hotel was full so I parked half way up the hill going out of town, in a car park virtually empty (the hill might have something to do with that).
I arrived a good 2 hours before I could check in to the hotel, and after being in a hot car all morning there was just one thing I wanted to do: Go for a swim. The English Channel (or is the French Channel when you’re in France?) was surprisingly warm – almost like having a bath (albeit a cold one).
After I’d checked in to the hotel I walked in to town to find a small café – I was hungry! I found a place on the square in the old city with a cheap and simple menu – so I ordered a croque monsuir and a cold drink. At the hotel I had a half hour rest before leaving for the beach again at 5pm (when I say “leaving for the beach” – the beach is opposite the hotel).
Boulogne’s beach is big so although there were loads of people there, they were spread out. It’s a long way to the water once the tide has gone out though (to the point that I couldn’t see my chair from the edge of the water) – when the tide is out, you can walk for miles along the beach! It was quite enjoyable to sit and watch people playing with their dogs.
It started clouding over at 7 – by this time a lot of people had already left anyway, so I packed up and decided to move the car a little closer, now the car park in front of the hotel had some free spaces (as I write – at 11.15pm – it’s virtually empty).
Boulogne is sort of West facing so the sunset here would have looked good…Unfortunately once I got back in to my room it started pouring with rain. That’s it – summer over!
So instead of watching the sunset, I went in to town. Thanks to a work colleague (he shall remain nameless) who stank the office out with a ready meal curry, all I’ve wanted all week is an Indian. So tonight, I went for a curry…French style. My Poulet Tikka Masala avec Riz Basmati and a Naan Bread (didn’t know the French for that) was a bit more up-market than that damn ready meal.
So that’s day 1 – country 1 (France) done. Belgium tomorrow, and I’m off to Antwerp. If the weather’s good I’ll go to the beach in the morning, if it’s not so good I’ll just head for the city.
Bye for now.
Today’s Mileage: 70
Accumulative Mileage: 215