local restaurant closed for Christmas we settled for a select arrangement of
frozen cuisine from the exclusive Bois de Boulogne Camping Market! Crepes and
Indian vegetables the packets said, but we are still not sure which was which?
Never mind, it was Christmas dinner in Paris.
intent was to see little or none of non-metropolitan France. As things have
turned out, we have seen more than we did on previous trips. However, Boxing Day
was a pure driving day. We hit the road at the civilised Parisian hour of
10.00am and after a non-eventful, though slightly 'lumpy', ferry trip, were well
entrenched in Dover by 7.00pm... the odd snow flurry enlightening a rather dull
The 27th was
much of the same as we 'sped' across the UK motorways from Dover to South Wales
to catch the next ferry to Ireland. Right! The M25, the London outer ring road,
was a four lane parking lot for 50-60 miles (oh yes we still have miles in the
UK). As the countryside of eastern England merged with the rural splendour of
Wales, the M4 traffic managed a sedate crawl of about 60kms/hr.
left-hand drive vehicle on UK roads was not the challenge we expected, although
roundabouts and turns into double-carriage roads are "interesting!!"
The generally courteous British drivers and their amazingly tolerance of us, the
foreigners, made for a safe and easy trip.
As much as
we have enjoyed the diversity and 'differences' of the countries we have
travelled through in the past few months, there is something truly reassuring
about dealing with people who speak your language. Things such as the simple
niceties of a chat with a customs officer about the climatic differences between
Australia and the UK or being able to get exactly what you want when shopping,
take a lot of the tension out of travel. In particular, the 'jolly chipper folk'
of the camping fraternity in the UK are very welcoming.
here have improved markedly in the past 13 years. On our last visit we were
appalled at the poor standard of UK camping facilities in comparison to what we
were used to at home. Things have come a long way. Heated shower blocks. No coin
in the slot showers and clean grounds are among the most obvious improvements.
In comparison with most grounds in Australia, the pendulum has swung heavily to
the UK side.
tackle the Irish Sea. Snow, sleet and freezing temperatures are forecast for
tonight. We can hardly wait! -