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?”
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”
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”
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”
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?”
We don’t get much time to rest after the tumultuous events of last night. I have to be awake at 8am, because the previous day I’d called the RAC European breakdown service to get the van’s grease-leaking front wheel bearing looked at. They’d seemed quite efficient, and had promised that a mechanic would be there at 8am Monday. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 10: Barcelona – after the storm”
After my epic detour getting back to the van last night, I’m really tired and don’t wake up till after 11am. It doesn’t make much difference though, as it’s hammering down with rain outside, the first rain I’ve seen since getting to the continent. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 8: Rainy day in Barcelona”
After the upsets of last night, I don’t sleep very well despite the reassuring presence of Tom snoring. It’s occurred to me that I may have left my passport in the van, and I’m not sure if it’ll still be there when I get back.
Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 7: Barcelona – another day in paradise”
After writing that last blog post, I end up chatting for ages to fellow travellers in the Wild Rover Irish pub. As you could tell from the name, it’s a haven for English speaking tourists who don’t want anything too… Spanish. One of them is a retired engineer from North Carolina called Phil, and the others are a father, mother and son from Maidenhead in Kent. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 6 (later) night time in Barcelona”
Distance covered today: 121 miles
Total distance covered: 927 miles
I can’t say I’m sorry to be leaving Toulouse, but the next stretch looks challenging – I’m going up an actual mountain range. Given that the van doesn’t do well with hills, this is a bit of an intimidating prospect. On the bright side, I’m expecting some spectcaular views. Continue reading “The Big Trip, Day 5: Into the Pyrenees to Andorra”