The French Roads Were Quick and Empty But at a Price

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August 5th 2011
Published: August 6th 2011
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The centre of Baden Baden
We left at 5.00am in order to make sure that we had ample time to get to Dover to catch our 8.15am ferry, allowing for predictable road-works and other “issues” on the M25. Respect to Sea France in that they sent us a text letting us know about some road-works on the M20 so warning us to allow some extra time to get there. In the end we got there with plenty of time to spare, which meant that we needed to sit in our “lane” and wait until the ferry arrived.

There was also an added bonus that the tolls for the Dartford Crossing do not start until 6.00am, so it is free up until then. I know it was only £1.50, but since we crossed the bridge and got to the toll booths at 5.58am, it was getting a little stressful when we inevitably joined the slowest queue. We got through just in time.

The ferry crossing was as expected. Nothing noteworthy – just enough time for a fried breakfast, a browse around the shop and a quick stroll on deck before we arrived at Calais.

Rather than driving all the way to Austria in one go, we decided to stop half way at Baden Baden to split the journey. It was motorway all the way so it was just a matter of following the satnav and counting down the miles until we got there. The only hindrance was stopping at the toll booths on numerous occasions. There was no escaping it this time however, €20.80, €5.60, €14.80, €9.80. Ouch! Actually there was another hindrance: the rain, which came and went constantly, but at some points was so hard we had to slow right down to stand any chance of actually seeing where we were going.

The roads were full of GB labelled cars around Calais, but they gradually dispersed the further we got away from Calais, so by the time we got to the German border, we seemed to be the only one.

We arrived at Baden Baden and checked into the hotel, and then we set-off for a walk to find somewhere to eat. What we saw of the town is beautiful, especially the main “drag” which is a long strip of parkland and trees alongside the river. We’ll check it out more thoroughly tomorrow.


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