Crossing the channel
The M25 was filled with its usual joys, traffic jams and a slow ride. Tiredness was becoming an issue by this point but not enough to stop us pushing on. We made it to Dover just in to time to catch the 6pm ferry, partly through using the passport control and other gates designed for European cars. Panda discovered there was a problem with the booking he had just made for the ferry and so we had go go to the company offices at the port and he went to sort it out. He had booked us as a camper van and managed to blag us through as one, despite having no windows and in no way resembling one! Anyone opening the back of the van may have been met with a cascading wall shoes, clothes and ping pong tables so it’s probably lucky they didn’t! Once on the ferry we headed for top deck to check out the culinary delights they had in store for us. The food was surprisingly edible but that’s about the best i can say, fish and chips from me and in Panda’s words “amorphous lasagne” for him. We got ourselves some wine and had a blast on some of the arcade games. It was all a bit much for me so i went for a sleep in the kids play area. I had a beautiful little nap before being tricked by Panda into believing we had arrived so he could plunder my sleeping space.
A little lie down sorted both of us out and we got back on the road. Driving on the French roads was a bit of a shock. A real lack of lights and multiple potholes. The headlights in the van aren’t great which makes night driving challenging. Panda did this leg of the journey and I tried to find us a hotel to stay in. It was particularly difficult because midnight had already passed and so we couldn’t search online for a hotel for that night. French truck drivers seem rather impatient. Panda was being flashed by one to speed up when we were pretty much hitting top speed. 70mph is about the best it can manage but that’s a struggle.
After quite a while of stressful searching we found an IBIS hotel on the edge of Charleroi Belgium which was still open and had a room. We’d have liked to push on but it was looking like if we did we would most likely be sleeping in the van. Not sure if you have traveled in a Luton van before but they were not designed for comfort, even when just trying to sit. Sleeping in the van would not have been the rest and recuperation we needed. We are just finishing off the night with a few lovely Belgian beers and a pizza. We have a big drive ahead of us tomorrow so hope to get off early. If this morning is anything to go by though that is gonna be a challenge. Our final saddening realisaiton of the night is the Belgian TV is as bad as ours. I’m not sure who decided it was a good idea to dub Geordie Shore into French but they should be shot!
Next Stop Ravenna!
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