We have free accommodation tonight-the inlaws. For our first night we are lucky enough to be able to stay in Kent, and a fairly early start the following day for Dover is easily done.
7:45 start and arrival at Dover just after 8:30 for the 9:25 ferry departure time. With a quick crossing and with the plan I have in place, yes it’s in a spreadsheet, we should be in our accommodation a little after 10pm tonight.
Argh, the ferry takes a little longer than I thought so we’ve lost just under an hour. Argh Argh. Lost an hour by going into Europe (thought summer time was same) so we were already two hours behind. So much for planning Bruce!
Ferry trip was really easy to get on to, just turning up at P&O and they give us the place to go without anything said by us. it’s been a while since we last went, so topped up on coffee we spend most of the time on the deck, sprinkled with a light shower at times. One thing that was poor on the Spirit of Britain was getting back down to the car decks – seems to take an absolute age and were a little worse than I remembered.
Leaving the ferry for Belgium and getting straight on the roads were a piece of cake. Trusty car sat nav will show me the way which took about 30mins to programme in all the stops while in Kent.
It’s true what they say about Belgium, there’s not a lot there. Headed past Dunkirk (no time to see sadly) and nearby Brugge (another stop I’d scrapped the previous week) before our first destination, Waterloo. We saw Wellington’s statue in Dublin a couple of months ago, so it was fitting to go here. Damn road works confuddled us, but we got there after various detours in the rain. This was the first supposed to be the first ‘powdering our nose’ stop of the journey. At the entrance to the main site nothing was visible to use, and not having the time, we would have to bypass a full tour. We could see the memorial from where, so a quick photo and we headed off for a nearby WC stop at a service station #exciting.
Lunch was had at a service station (plus that missing pee-pee stop) once back on the main roads.What happened next would be one of the highlights of the trip. While getting back into our car, we saw an old man was kicking off with a woman at the petrol pump pushing her around and swearing in English as last resort. Cue others to join in and help break it up, only for two men in their 30s to be pushed around by him too. Time to leave.
Time to eat up the miles (after obligatory traffic jam), with UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France again, Germany then finally Switzerland our countries to visit today. Sue regularly got the camera out and recorded for posterity the moment we crossed the border, with trumpets blown from the satnav saying we have crossed.
Two toll roads in France were straight forward, passing through the very pretty Strasbourg and suddenly we were in Germany, no trumpets at all from the satnav, the biggest clue were allthe signs in German.
Our first instance of German efficiency was the parking toilets. I got sprayed by the other fellow’s urinal (cleaner not other fellows eblutions!) while the ladies was apparently flooded, how not very German. The roads however, were fantastic. Not all autobahn’s are de-restricted but for certain sections this was. My word, still only two lanes but the least conjested part of the journey despite travelling at 140kph being over taken by everyone.
Entry to Switzerland was at night, with a slight change in the speed limits causing me a few worries, together with the increasingly complex turnings. Cue the tablet being brought out and Co-Pilot satnav being fired up. It showed speeds which was a godsend later on in the trip.
Earlier on, we saw the booking confirmation saying we should arrive by 8. Hmm, with our extra delay at the start, I’ve clawed some of that time back but it’s more likely to be 11pm. I contacted the site owner and luckily he knew English (and German and Chinese – whatever language that is!). Owner will contact the person at the lodge who will be waiting for us, phew.
Going through the vignette lane was again very straightforward with great roads. Quaint villages were passed en route to the lodge we had (I had booked, as I’ll be reminded for ever). The lodge was up a minor road which is inaccessible in the winter and used for skiers in the winter. Cue Sue’s first worries. We got to the town location easy enough but we don’t know exactly wher the lodge is. After driving up a narrow zig zag lane and tight 3 point turns we had to call the owner, no lodge in sight. Twenty minutes later still not understanding the instructions correctly, my daughter spotted a sign for the lodge, thank you!!
After being show around the lodge at 11:20, it looked good. It had a VERY hippy feel about it and took a while to find the toilet which had a mouse and cheese toilet seat. The dreamcatcher was in the wrong place but this lodge was ideal for those in the winter hitting the slopes who wanted a ‘relaxing’ ciggie in the evening! But as we have an early start, 6am alarm, time to find the travel adaptor and plug in the extension lead to recharge everything. This meant me too