August 25th: We start our journey home

Although the thunder and lightning stopped, the torrential rain which started late afternoon yesterday continued all evening. We collected a takeaway from the campsite restaurant and ate it in the van, rather than sit outside.

This morning it was still raining. John had washed and dressed but decided to change into a pair of swim shorts to sort out the awning, electric hook up cable and all the other jobs that needed doing outside the campervan before we left, rather than get his clothes soaked!

In spite of the rain, which continued all morning as we drove up through Germany, the journey went well. John decided he was happy to drive further than Aachen, where we’d originally planned to stay. We don’t have details of campervan stopovers in Belguim so this meant we had to continue to France. After 11 hours, at 7ish, we arrived in Gravelines on the French coast.

After some driving around, we found the stopover site but decided to go into the town centre first to find a restaurant. It was deserted! All the restaurants were closed: only a bar and a chip shop were open. After finding the food in Germany uninspiring, we were looking forward to a lovely French meal after our long journey and were really disappointed.

Gravelines is a tourist town so, although it was Sunday evening, we thought there must be somewhere open. I had a look on Tripadvisor and found a restaurant with good reviews a mile away. John phoned and discovered they were open. We were very relieved. Now to get there. We ended up driving round in circles 😦 The information on Tripadvisor seemed incomplete and the map function on the iPhone didn’t seem to be working. I had a look for the restaurant’s website and found a more complete address and finally located the restaurant.

12 hours after leaving the campsite, we were finally settled. The meal was delicious… the best we had had all holiday 🙂 We both had seafood starters, then I had veal for my main course while John had fish, followed by tart and profiteroles, washed down with a litre of wine 🙂

This morning we have woken up to blue skies and a lovely view of the port, which we couldn’t see when we arrived in the dark last night. John has called Eurotunnel immigration and we will be able travel without our passports. The only downside is that our passports will have to be cancelled because they’ve been in a unsafe location so we’ll have the expense of ordering new ones 3 years early, and it may take us a bit longer to get through immigration.

So we’ll spend today in and around Calais and get the shuttle early tomorrow. All being well we should be back in the UK at 7.25 tomorrow. With a stop to see family who I haven’t seen for a few years on the way home, we should be home early evening 🙂

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