The night before we were due to leave our home town of Derby for the continent felt like a bit of a none event really considering the places we had on the agenda. We woke up Friday 18th on the morning of our departure and it was a similar situation. An element of anxiety was the underlying emotion, and we tried to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything import for our journey, or for the house which would be largely unattended for the duration of our travels.
We left late morning which was slightly later than we anticipated, and visited the local refuse site to get rid of a couple of bags of rubbish we didn’t want festering at home, which delayed us further. From there headed for the M1 via the A50, but found ourselves stuck in heavy traffic due to roadworks around the Junction 24. As a result no momentum was really gained until early afternoon when we broke free for a relatively trouble free drive down south .
Our intention was to visit Canterbury in the afternoon and stay at the park and ride overnight before leaving to get our 11am ferry on Saturday morning. The van was running perfectly so we pulled off at Thurrock services mid afternoon. This brought back memories as this was the very place we stayed after we broke down last year.
As we continued, it soon became apparent that we were not going to have any meaningful time at the city of Canterbury, so we chose to head straight for the ferry port and see if we could get an earlier crossing. The answer was yes, but we did have to pay for the £45 for the privilege. We had to wait over an hour to board and departure was just after 6pm, but at least we could make some progress once in France putting us well ahead of schedule.
The one and a half hour crossing saw us land at approx 8.30pm with the time difference and we travelled until 11pm. This put us at an aire near Laon approximately two hours drive away from the first camp site of our holiday in Troyes. We were a little aprihensive about stopping at an aire, as we had heard some scare stories relating to people being robbed. How common this is I’m unsure, but we found one that was well lit with CCTV cameras. I found myself listening for sounds that weren’t there during the night so didn’t sleep quite as well as I should have.
The following morning we woke early and I checked the paddle board, accessories and boot box which were were all present and intact. Phew. Maybe just an urban myth?. We decided to have a croissant and coffee for breakfast at the service station out of convenience. The day was going to be another fine one by the looks of it with blue sky all round. We filtered onto the motorway in high spirits knowing we were well ahead of schedule, with just over an hours worth of driving to be done before we arrived at our first campsite in Troyes.