The Big Trip, Day 15 (later) & day 16: It’s the end – has Stretham been prepared for?

Distance covered today: 221 miles (some of it in a train under water)

Total distance covered: 2104 miles

There’s more fun at Les Pirates bar in Calais after the last posting, as I unexpectedly start making friends with some of the locals! After posting the blog, I get another Hoegaarden from the bar, and a lady next to me compliments me on my chapeau. I must say, over the years my hat has been a good conversation starter… Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 15 (later) & day 16: It’s the end – has Stretham been prepared for?”

The Big Trip, Day 15: Orleans to Calais, via a detour into Paris

Distance covered today: 261 miles

Total distance covered: 1883 miles

I have a nice night wandering round Orleans after my couple of drinks in L’Hendrix Pub. I may not be sorted in my head after all my recent trauma, but every so often I have to take a moment to remind myself what I’ve achieved here. I’m travelling! What I’ve always wanted to do! I’ve experienced great chunks of three countries in a couple of weeks (remember Andorra’s a country too)! Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 15: Orleans to Calais, via a detour into Paris”

The Big Trip, Day 14: Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ – back to Orleans

Distance covered today: 321 miles

Total distance covered: 1622 miles

Now that is the longest distance I have EVER driven in one go. More than 6 hours on the road, with one brief stop for fuel (and didn’t I panic when I thought I’d lost the fuel cap key). But like I said, I need to get a shift on – my Eurotunnel booking is for 09:20 on Sunday, meaning I need to be there about an hour before. Meaning, ideally, I need to park up somewhere near Calais by the end of tomorrow so I don’t have too far to drive on Sunday morning. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 14: Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ – back to Orleans”

The Big Trip, Day 13: On the road again, to Millau

Distance covered today: 250 miles

Total distance covered: 1301 miles

Leaving Barcelona is very hard.

Partly because I’m leaving Tom of course, though arguably until my head is more sorted out, a bit of distance between us is best. But it’s also that, after a week, I’ve really started to feel at home here. I know my way about, my Spanish has improved from non-existent to basic, and it’s warm. While  I’m still on an adventure, it lowers my spirits to know that I’m back driving north. Into winter. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 13: On the road again, to Millau”

The Big Trip, Day 12: Barcelona – is this now?

It’s raining again.

By now this isn’t much of a surprise. After all, it was starting last night, when we sank into sleep listening to Elvis singing American Trilogy at about 1am after cans of both Estrella and San Miguel. But this is some serious rain, thundering off the van’s plastic roof loudly enough to drown out any music you might want to listen to. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 12: Barcelona – is this now?”

The Big Trip, Day 11: Barcelona, still, but some rays of sunshine

After the gloomy, rainy recent days, it’s a relief when we wake and squint, bleary eyed, through the windscreen at a recently absent friend – sunlight. I can’t help feeling the high drama of the past couple of days has been accentuated by the gloomy weather. Even so, it’s never been less than about 15 degrees C, a lot warmer than back home. Tom, who’s been here for a month now, thinks this is “chilly”. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 11: Barcelona, still, but some rays of sunshine”

The Big Trip, Day 9: another rainy day in Barcelona, and I face some difficult truths

After my first decent night’s van sleep in Barcelona so far, I wake yet again to the sound of rain pattering off the fibreglass roof. Huh, I’ve come all the way to southern Spain, and I’ve brought the winter with me. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 9: another rainy day in Barcelona, and I face some difficult truths”