Paul & Janita's Home Page


26-27 December

With the 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.

Our original 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 trip.

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.

Driving a 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.

Camp sites 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.

Tomorrow we tackle the Irish Sea. Snow, sleet and freezing temperatures are forecast for tonight.  We can hardly wait! -