France 80 - the end of the journey and the facts blog.


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Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Calais
June 5th 2014
Published: June 12th 2014
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Our last night was spent at Guines. We had an early start to make the train. Waking up at breaking light we unhooked Suzy and set off for the half hour drive to the train terminal. Sally Sat Nav picked yet another route from Guines to Calais. Along pretty roads through the village of Guines, along the river full of wildlife including herons on the banks fishing.

As usual the overhead gantries recognised us and welcomed us without the need to put our details in. Much better than standing in front of the machine and trying to punch the numbers in. The French police pulled us over, checked our steering wheel and doors and then went off to talk leaving us sitting there. After a few minutes they let us through and we passed through a very cheery British passport control. We went wrong and instead of parking up at the rest and wait area we went straight to the embarkation area where we were let through and we waited for the train. This must be the first time we have gone wrong. The train came in on time and we loaded and headed over from a cool France to cold and dreary Britain.

Half an hour later we drove off the train into rain and a coldness we hadnt felt since we left home four weeks ago. Everything looked green and the grass long giving us a clue to what the weather had been like whilst we were away . London traversed via a busy M25 - well it was the morning rushhour so we changed to the M11 and headed for Cambridgeshire. The journey took a little over 4 and a half hours from the tunnel to home. We probably will use this route for future trips.

And so it is we reach the end result of the trip - the figures .

We were away for 33 days. On average the temperatures ranged from 33 at the hottest in Spain to around 25 degrees in France. At night it fell to a muggy 28 degrees at night in Spain and 11 at its coldest in France. We had four periods of rain most of which fell at night. Snow covered peaks in the Sierra Nevadas and Pyrannees and low cloud.

We travelled a little over 4000 miles. Diesel varied greatly with the cheapest at 1 euro 31.6 cents and the most expensive 1 euro 44.4 still a lot cheaper than back home. Diesel costs 811 euros 01 cents plus one fill at £86.09 before we left home. mileage per gallon was a normal 25.7.

We didnt eat out much as Spain eats too late for us . Most of our meals were either bought out at lunchtime or were eaten in the motorhome. Shopping was difficult as always in Spain and we only found decent supermarkets when we got back to France.

We stayed at 23 campsites a combination of municipal and private but most were paid through ACSI. The cheapest campsite was 14 euros 10 with tourist tax and the most expensive 30 euros without ACSI. Most were around 16 or 18 euros .

We used washing machines four times during the trip. Wifi was paid for mainly in advance using our Europa sim. We did pay for 5 euros worth of Wifi at one site. 173 euros and 10 cents covered our entrance fees to museums and castles. We spent 17 euros 20 on train fares , two taxi fares at 32 euros. The remaining money 41.euros and 60 spent on bus fares.

Favourite destination has to be Cordoba. Most disappointing Teruel and the crowds at Granada. Best campsites Colliure and Duex Valee at Beynac for the views from Suzy and the tiny campsite Camping St Nicholas with its fizzy cider and home made chips. Worse campsite Reina Isabel in Granada where we were shoehorned into a tiny tiny plot. The smallest we have ever been squeezed on to in two years of travelling in Suzy. It was impossible to swing a cat in the plot, the awning wouldnt come out as there wasnt enough room and the plot was in shadow all day.

Biggest surprise was Valencia . Loved it even though we were sceptical at first . Second surprise how cheap the public transport becomes in all European countries.

Best memory - the cakes, the churros and the chocolate and the most fabulous Moorish architecture.

Things I wish we would have done - tried Africa for the day - a one day trip was possible to Tangiers. Gibraltar -wish we could have slipped in but unless things improve then it becomes awkward. Things I would have missed - none really. Even the disappointments are still fun and life changing experiences.

And so it was to home and settling in. Suzy is booked in for next Wednesday to have a new windscreen fitted. She needs a good clean out and a wash. . We both felt ready for a bath and a return to normality. The washing machine was on for days just trying to get up to date with dirty washing. The garden is overgrown. Life goes on.

However from the ashes of this trip the next one is in the first stages of organisation. Like a phoenix rising we have started to plan the next trip.

We have finally received our Tesco vouchers and exchanged them for Eurotunnel rewards. Worth waiting as they are worth three times more than if you use them in store for food. We checked on line and because we are late booking this year many of the slots were already sold for the Saturday we planned to travel. However with a bit of manipulation we are going down to Cambridge the night before. Setting out early we should be able to arrive at the terminal for the 10.50 train. Cost £188 for the return trip from Folkestone to Calais and back. We had to pay £8 towards the cost so not a bad use for my clubcard tickets. We have booked in at the Caravan Club site at Cambridge at a cost of around £24.

The trip has moved from Plan A to Plan B already. So it is going to be through Belgium to our first overnight stop. On through both Holland and Germany before arriving in the Czech Republic for a visit to Prague where we have identified a suitable campsite with bus stop outside. We can get the bus into the city centre from there easily . . Next stop Krk in Croatia and over to one of the islands. After that back through Venice and the Veneto to Aarchen. We plan less mileage and driving in September but then this might change .

77 days and counting ..........................

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