France 187 - Calais/cheese flan, hock and chicken followed by the cheese board /Cite Europe/an earlier train home


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April 25th 2022
Published: April 25th 2022
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Gabby the motorhome is parked up on the grass at the campsite La Bien Assise. Well plans changed again as they do. We were going to split the journey to Calais but in the end woke early and decided to do the whole trip today. It would be relatively easy . A motorway part of the way. We will end up with a larger toll bill than we expected . This trip was meant to be a gently rock across France ,. Instead we headed hot foot to the Med and had dates with Concorde and the Minotaur that could not be moved. Hence more motorways than we would have liked . More cost than we had bargained for .

Our first stop was a motorway aire . It gave us our last taste of the french motorway aire . As always the long distance lorry drivers particularly the Slovaks headed down to the trees for a pee. They past the much closer toilet as if it did not exist . They walked to it and filled their water containers for the journey . But use the toilet . No they preferred to dangle their bits out in the plein air.

We drove on with the new intention of arriving at the campsite which is a favourite as long as it is not a Monday. Gabby ate the miles up. We wondered if we would be coming this way again . Had we reached the end of our motorhome adventures . Glenns knee was playing up and it was difficult to use the clutch on Gabby. We sort of talked about it but skirted around the subject . Let us see what we feel like when we get home . We still have the M2, M25, the M40 and M42 to battle with before getting home .

We rocked up to La Bien Assise and we said as we always do - "Why do we never come here the same way ?" It seems the sat nag has the unique feature of being able to find many roads into Guines. The campsite looked the same, felt the same and probably was the same . The staff spoke less English than last time . But then last time was probably well over three years ago and things change . I paid the 21 euros and 70 cents handing over a 50 euro note, a one euro coin and 70 cents expecting 30 euros change. I got 20 and had to question it . Apologies over we booked a meal at La Ferme Gourmande for 6.30. This would give us me time to get a swim, we both could have showers before getting our last french feast of the holiday .

Did we want a quiet spot ? We were asked . Didnt really matter . We were only here a night . We were taken to a quiet corner amongst the holiday rental bungalows that seemed full of the English Easter holidaymakers . Things had changed . There seemed more chalets for rent . They seemed new . The swimming pool was almost empty as I arrived . Just two enfants in the shallower end . I managed a handful of lengths of the small pool before two more enfants arrived . It was quickly becoming crowded . When the two larger older boys with their snorkels arrived it was time to give up on the swim and go for a shower instead .

The restaurant had changed over time too. Service was as always polite . We were brought four small canapes two meat , two fish . The wine was brought to our table with the bread . The facelift had taken away the rustic french look . The place was more open . Gone were the small booth like areas separating one diners table from the next . Missing were the white cotton sheets that separated each booth . It had more of clean empty look . A chipboard desk , pale wood tables and chairs . More swedish than french . More IKEA than ye olde french look . We chose the 25 euro meal - a meat selection and a choice of vegetarian . We started with a flaky pastry cheese flan with salad which was worthy of a main meal . Glenn followed with a hock and I chose a chicken . The chicken was odd in that it was round shaped like a sausage and shiny. The vegetables were half a jacket potato with the skin exceptionally crisp. The potato scooped out and creamed before being returned to the potato skin . Cauliflower mashed with cheese . There had been a choice of three starters and three main meals so naturally there were three puddings . Glenn chose a tiramisu mixture with a raspberry compote . I chose the cheeseboard . Four small pieces of cheese were artistically placed on the plate . In the corners were dried fruits . Cranberries, dates , sultanas and mixed nuts . I remembered the cheese board always looked like this for years. Softer cheeses more like Gouda or Edam . I did not know the varieties nor was I offered any explanation . On our first meal here we were brought a huge selection of cheeses and told we could pick four varieties . Not knowing the varieties I always said give me any four please . Just pick me out two harder types and two soft varieties and please tell me what they are . How times have changed .

We spent a quiet night . English TV worked . Our morning plan of going to city Europe went belly up. Height barriers everywhere and no sign of anything open for an early breakfast and a purchase of a few bottles of french wine . We drove to Eurotunnel. Did we want to go on an earlier train ? Of course we did however Eurotunnel wanted another £61 to change the booking so we opted for the next train which went for no extra charge . We went through French customs and were stamped out of the EU . Through British customs, our gas was checked and we were boarded to see if we had any illegals on board. 35 minutes later we were back on home soil. The holiday over . It's been a long time coming . Here's to the next one .

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25th April 2022

At least you got the travel bug out of your system...
and the weather was good most of the time. But if you are going to Turkey, I suggest flying. Scandinavia is still reachable with Gabby. I look forward to reading about your next holiday.
26th April 2022

turkey
Turkey is a bit of an odd one for us . We fancy a lot of travel around the country as there are so many interesting things to see out of Istanbul . Istanbul though is a nightmare in a van . Bit like Athens having to leave it out of the city and get a hotel for a few days . So we might have to fly to Istanbul just to get our Byzantine itch out of our system . Trouble with flying there is only Turkish Airlines flying out of Manchester and apparently Manchester is getting bad for hold ups due to check in and security . Heard of quite a few people who have missed their flights despite being there four hours or more early . jApparently one guy I swim with said he went to Iceland a few weeks ago and had to be pulled out of the queues for security to board the plane . He had been in the queue over four hours and had they not pulled them out he would have missed the flight . It is awful at the moment . Are you still on for Scotland ?
27th April 2022

Scotland...
I don't fly to Scotland until Aug 22. On 4 Sep I will fly to Stockholm and onward to Uppsala for a day...to visit some ancestors in the Viking Mounds. I hope that I don't have to put up with long lines at security!

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