Eurotunnel To Calais
Hi everyone, today I’m starting our travel diaries series starting with our journey via the Eurotunnel to Calais. It’s time for Summer travels to begin. A journey of two months, taking us to places old and new across Southern France and inland Spain. Our last travels in the Summer of 2020 seem a lifetime ago, so let the adventures begin.
For some reason, this Summer was one of those where we didn’t really know where to go. This was mainly because we’d spent several long months renovating our newly bought house. So, by the time we’d finished and were able to think about van travels again, time had ticked on.
Eventually, by mid-July we were ready for the 7 hour long drive down to the Eurotunnel, to one of favourite countries in the world, France.
Travel Diaries ~ Monday 18th July
Today is Hot, Hot, Hot. In fact, here in Wales it’s the hottest day of the year so far. Isn’t that just typical that the weather has finally showed up, just as we’re about to leave for Europe.
As usual, we’re booked on the Eurotunnel but this year the price was near on extortionate. Only for the fact that we had unused Tesco Clubcard vouchers left from the extended lockdowns, we probably would have chosen a ferry route.
Anyway, our booking on Le Shuttle is for 20.20 tonight, so we have plenty of time to reach Folkestone. Luckily, the traffic is on our side, so we make good headway with the only annoyance being the heat in the campervan.
Full of Hot Air
Why don’t we have air conditioning again? Oh yes, it’s to make life easier for when we finally make a big overland trip one day. Nigel reminds me of this again, as we rely on the wound down windows and hot air billowing around us.
Yes, he tells me once again “if you’re in the middle of the dessert, the least you have to go wrong on the van the better”. Ok, I know he’s right and I don’t even like air conditioning, is it just me or does it make your nose run for hours too?
Arriving at Folkestone – Eurotunnel to Calais
By the time we reach Folkestone at 5pm, we have a few hours to spare before the train, but we’re hoping to get on an earlier shuttle.
Oh no! The automated booking in screen tells us the next available train isn’t until 19.20. So with a bit of a sigh we drive over to the parking area to wait it out. Having said that, at least it’s an hour earlier than our booking, so it’s not too bad.
It’s not long before we’re having a good natter to an elderly couple next to us, who are impressively driving to Lake Garda with their caravan.
Wow! That’s amazing and best of all, it’s a trip they’ve done for 30 years!
The heat gets to the trains too
Unfortunately, our conversation soon gets interrupted by a series of announcements, all of which indicate delays. That’s such bad luck, because we usually glide on and off Le Shuttle on an earlier train.
Apparently, our 19.20 train is cancelled and rumours are circulating that it’s due to the heat. Oh blimey, here we go again, the tracks must be melting.
Then, there’s light at the end of the tunnel as another announcement tells us to move on. We end up waiting around at the barriers, which is the final hurdle before boarding.
In the meantime, we’re not sure what train we’ll get on and the queue’s now long, with us right at the front. But, it’s not the wait that gets to us though.
Cooling of Inconsiderate People
It’s cooling of inconsiderate people waiting in the queues who are the pain. Why of why, we despair at times.
Yes, almost every vehicle has an engine running for around an hour. All to keep the occupants of planet earth under the influence of air conditioning. What’s wrong with good old fresh air?
So, we now have thick heads from the fumes, noise and plain old bad manners. It reminds me of Ancient Rome, with Emperor’s being fanned down by slaves whilst sucking on grapes – humans are strange beings.
First trip after new Brexit rules
Oh, I forgot to say, this is our first trip since the change to the rules after Brexit. Now, we’re never ones to jump on the bandwagon of hysteria or worry too much about all the new “rules”.
So, cool cucumber mode sets the tone for our trip. As some leave their favourite butter or British bacon behind, not to mention the special dog food, we take a different approach. It’s one thing having a new rule to outlaw us Brits taking our favourite produce across the Channel, but it’s another if the French actually care.
We decide, they’re probably not that bothered. After all, what harm can a pint of milk and some fresh fruit do on French soil? Anyway, if it really was a problem, surely all the border force staff will do is take it off us?
For us, it’s business as usual, the only difference this trip is that our passports are stamped and yes we double check. After all, the 90 days in 180 is one new rule that we don’t want to find out the consequences of breaking!
Yippee, time to board – Eurotunnel to Calais
Thankfully, we’re finally put out of our misery. The barriers rise into the air and we start the engine, driving towards the train and the heat of a stuffy carriage on the 20.20 train we’d originally booked!
Yippee, we don’t care, it’s time to board, we’re more than happy. There’s only one problem – our flask of coffee is empty!
Instead, we sip on water, wipe our brows and try not to moan in the heat of the train. After all, we’re hardy travellers and our ancestors would have endured far worse hardships, mind over matter now kicks in.
Arriving In France – Eurotunnel to Calais
One reason we love the Eurotunnel is because it’s so quick and easy and within 30 minutes we’re arriving in France. By the time the train doors open it’s dark and still hot and sticky.
All of a sudden, there’s a “which way now” moment, because we still can’t decide where to go!
At the end of the day a decision must be had and after a bit of “shall we, shan’t we”, ultimately, we make that all important decision.
Yes, this Summer, our travels will take us to Southern France and inland Spain. Finally we have a direction in mind, now all we have to do is find a place to park for the night.
So, we hit the coastal route towards St.Valery Sur Somme, ready for the real action to start the next morning.
For now, it’s goodnight from us!