On Sunday afternoon, FPB7 paid a visit to Chaseracer Towers. Neither of us was especially busy work-wise this week, so talk turned to the idea of a day trip to Calais.
Ah, Dover. Tuesday, awaiting the 1200 DFDS sailing to Dunkirk. This was a good start but, as you see, the plan had changed already. From Dunkirk, we struck out across Europe in the faithful Blingo and before we knew it were in Belgium. This was evidenced by the abrupt change in the quality* of the road surface, which now resembled something from a war zone. Or Staffordshire.
Antwerp was reached by around 5pm. Superb forward planning. Every car in Belgium appeared to converge on the orbital motorway which, naturally, had roadworks and lane closures at various strategic points clearly designed for maximum impact and inconvenience. A satnag-led attempt at a detour proved abortive but did at least lead to cheap refuelling in an anonymous suburb.
Dispatching Eindhoven and Venlo with barely a glance, we were across the German border and into the industrialised megalopolis of the Ruhr valley. Duisburg and Essen flashed past in the dark before we turned north toward Munster and Osnabruck. The three of us were properly in the groove now, so we pressed on to Bremen hoping to find rooms at the Ibis near the airport.
Er, no. Full. And it was now 11pm. The satnag suggested a couple of alternatives but one no longer existed and the other was way out of our price range. We decided to get back on the A1/E47 autobahn and try for a motel at a rasthof. The one we looked at near Hamburg - complete with protective fence - put us straight off that idea and we finally pulled into a rest area 40km short of Lubeck to kip down in the car.
More to follow...