Wednesday, 13 March 2013

That’s not all folks.

So once again, huge apologies for the massive delay in getting these entries written and posted.  We arrived back in Blighty and in an attempt to quash the post travel blues we threw ourselves wholeheartedly into getting ourselves a slice of normalcy sorted.  I think we succeeded through as in less than a month we found ourselves a flat in Nottingham, moved and in have mostly furnished it.  We’ve also both started exciting new jobs.  And last but not least we’ve sold our beloved Van Diesel.  I won’t deny that it was a hugely sad day to say the least.  For the moment at least though we need our feet on the ground and save up some money for the next madcap scheme!

I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to read our blog and to those who got in touch, your kind words meant so very much.  This won’t be the last of the blog, I hope to get some content up every now and then with things we’ve learnt and any experience we can pass on to other travellers.  I must of course also thank my partner in traveling crime for keeping the wheels rolling with patience and humour and for giving me the confidence to hit the road on this crazy adventure in the first place.   

I hope you all enjoyed the ride.

Homeward bound.

Day 126 15.02.13 Dunkirk to Dover

We’re up bright and early to give me plenty of time to stress about getting to the port on time!  So much so we arrive very early and get put onto the ferry before our scheduled one.  We get Van Diesel on board and head up to the top deck.  I can get rather ill on the ferry journeys so the trip consists of utilising the onboard wifi in the lounge and then nipping outside into the freezing sea air to brush off the nausea!  It’s quite smooth a trip though thankfully and the bright sunshine over the sea cheers me up.   We arrive in good time and after the initial traffic snarl up on the way out of the port are on the road back to Chris’ mums and then end of our trip.  I must say it was nice to sit down on a plush sofa in a toasty warm living room and wrap my hands round a big mug of tea!

Belgian Goose alarm clock

Day 125 14.03.13 Ostend and Dunkirk

We’re woken up early by the riverside Geese, one of whom is particularly feisty!  We’re up and on the road sharpish as there’s a long drive ahead.  We’re aiming to get close to the ports to minimise the amount of travel and therefore Ali stress likely to occur before the ferry home!  We plot a course for Ostend where we spent our first night on this trip.  The drive gets very hectic around the major cities and some discarded bits of wood(?) lying on the jam-packed ringroad around Brussels make for a hair-raising experience!

We make it in one piece and pull up alongside a row of campers in the park beside town.  It’s a great spot and much busier this time around.  Ostend is however brutally cold!  The bitter sea air has frozen everything in sight, even droplets of rain on cars has frozen into an icy layer.  The morning dew freezing around the plant stems makes for a very attractive sight.  We walk into town and grab some lunch.  Some very bizarrely dressed men from a local tourist scheme give us a single red rose for Chris to give me as its Valentine’s Day.  How very lovely!  I get lots of jealous looks from female passers-by who clearly think I have a super romantic boyfriend (how little do they know haha ;-p).  We get rid of some of the last of the euros on ingredients for a nice dinner, nothing too spectacular but in comparison to our usual tight budget it’s practically haut cuisine!

After reminding ourselves of the town’s sights we head back to the van to defrost!  Looking up the distance to Dunkirk shows we still have a 50 minute drive to the port so we decide to move a bit closer and get to Dunkirk itself.  We park up in an aire beside the beach.  There are a couple of campervans there already including one I assume is there permanently and belongs to an elderly man and his two cats who leap in and out of the camper and scamper around in the sand.

We secure the van and head onto the beach front for a walk.  It’s nowhere near as cold as Ostend and the sun setting has turned the clouds beautiful shades of orange, pink and red.  It’s a gorgeous spot for an early evening stroll and a wonderfully romantic end to a chilly Valentine’s Day.

We settle down to a wonderfully filling dinner and some films for our last night in Van Diesel.  It’s a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions today! 

The long road home

Day 214 13.02.13 Namur

As the road tax is reaching its end and we’re more than a little fed up of being cold we decide to head back to Blighty.  This was the plan all along we’re just a couple of days ahead of schedule.  To break down the trip to the ports we plan a stop off in Namur, Belgium.  The drive is relatively easy and we get parked up along the riverside next to some rather noise Geese.

It’s a beautiful day with a brilliant blue sky and gleaming sun that makes us doubt whether our plan was the right one!  The spot we’ve parked up in is alongside some flats where one kind person has left their wifi unlocked.  We take the opportunity to get online and book ourselves some ferry tickets for two days’ time.  After a bit of online catch up time and lunch we head into town for a look around.

The walk along the riverside is very pleasant and the views up to the fort on the hill overlooking the town are very impressive.  The town itself is relatively plain but busy and the streets are filled with the glorious smell of waffles from the rows of street vendors (it’s almost like they heard we might leave!).  We get the ferry confirmations printed off at an internet cafĂ© and enjoy a stroll around the town.  There’s a nice church and a tall clock tower but not a great deal more.

With not a lot else to see we opt to walk to an apparently nearby (read 40 minute walk) supermarket to grab a few bits of food and drink for the last few days of the trip.  Along the way we walk along the comically named ‘Dave Road’ which gives us a chuckle!  After trekking the shopping back we settle into some internet time and watch some UK tv on catch up.  I have to admit we’re both very sad that our trip is coming to an end but it will be nice to have some of the luxuries of electricity, central heating and internet available 24/7!
Massive apologies for the big wait for entries.  We're back in the UK and throwing ourselves into getting a life back together in Nottingham.  More on that later though, here's what we got up to after Luxembourg!