Monday 8 October 2018
England – France – Belgium – The Netherlands – Germany.
It’s been a bit of a day today, but before I explain why we appear to be dashing through Europe like someone ‘on the run’, I’ll re-cap on yesterday’s journey – which was the start of our 4th European Adventure.
Although we had planned this trip a while back, Sunday 7th October was the soonest we felt we could leave Blighty for a few weeks travels; Leigh’s aunt was 100 yesterday and had a family party organised – and what fun it was too? The whole event was a fun one, good food, great company, super venue, and Auntie Ve enjoyed herself immensely. The entertainment (D-day Darlings of ‘Britains Got Talent’) was simply brilliant and Auntie Ve could be seen singing along to many of the songs, remembering every word too!
Knowing that October was slightly later than preferred for a trip over to Bulgaria (our destination) I thought we would have an early start but, no, – Leigh had a 10k race to run first – meaning we eventually set off around 1.30pm.
We had gone no more that a few miles when Tom realised he hadn’t replaced a perishing valve on one of the caravan wheels, so he diverted to Stratford-on-Avon to get the job done. Being told by an employee of the tyre company, ‘Sorry mate, there’s a 2 hour wait’ (was he a poet I asked myself?) we then drove to K-F in Leamington Spa where we were met by a super-helpful guy who changed the valve in a few minutes flat and then refused payment! Tom gave him a ‘drink on us’ and we embarked on our journey towards Folkestone.
With delays and diversions the anticipated journey time of around 4 hours turned into around 6 hours; we arrived at our camp-site in the dark but found our pitch fairly easily. Tom drove into Folkestone to ‘Del-Boy’s’ take away to buy my human’s usual firstnightfishnchipsupper and Leigh checked the Champagne was chilled and walked me so that I could stretch my legs. It was a pretty short walk because her legs were tired from her morning run – although she probably won’t admit it. Yelp!
My humans always have fish and chips and Champagne on the first night of an adventure yet I have my usual wet and dry mix of food. I think I need to lodge a complaint and request smoked salmon or fresh rabbit in future (apologies to any veggie canines reading this).
This morning was one of those mornings where you think you have lots of time, but in reality you don’t, meaning we had zero time to fill up with diesel before catching our train to Calais. Now, you may be reading this and thinking fuel is cheaper in France so why fill up here? Actually the price is about the same as in the UK so it would have made sense to fill up first. Instead, we arrived at the Euro-tunnel by a whisker (dog, not cat) and I swear we drove off the train and into Carrefour in Calais on fumes!
Now, back to my opening paragraph: as you will know we have spent three years or thereabouts travelling through Europe previous to this adventure – two countries we have never visited are Bulgaria and Romania. My human brother (Ian) and his wife and youngest son (Emily and Isaac) live in Bulgaria so our plan is to get to them as quickly as possible and then to travel back to the U.K. at a more leisurely pace, exploring as we go. We have no set plan other after seeing Ian and co. other than to visit Sofia (which is not only the capital of Bulgaria, but share’s it’s name with my human’s gorgeous grand-daughter) and Bucharest. We have all heard that Romania is particularly pretty and is proving popular with tourists just now. Bulgaria seems to be known for it’s ‘Sunny Beach’ resort but I am sure there is much more to this country and am excited to be able to explore this country too!
I guess that’s quite a long explanation of why we needed to cover 5 countries today?
Anyway, here we are in Cologne – we have spent time in this city before so no need to explore but a nice walk by the river is on the cards.