Europe - 'tour de everything' - day #1 - 'The Tour Begins'
Today we set off on our big adventure over to Europe. The car is really such a sight…great big thing already with loads of room…and then there’s the 450litre roof box on top for our camping gear….how did we ever cope with a little car?...mmm
Being the ‘extremely organised beings’ that we are we set off early to make sure we would not miss the Eurostar (the train that would link us to France).
As it turns out we were there 3 hours before we needed to be, which was great…this gave us a chance to visit the nearby ‘Dover Castle’ before departing for France.
Dover Castle was amazing…in 2 hours we only just scratched the surface really. It has underground tunnels (which we will explore on our next visit), turrets, a great big church (St Mary in the Castle)…and so many other things.
It was like a town within castle walls just as you would see it in a medieval movie. We can now see how you would fit tents and thousands of people within it’s guarded walls….truly amazing. Dover was shrouded in the most amazing mist cover today which added to the feeling of some long-gone-era….you half expected to hear the sound of horse hoofs as some ancient troop emerged from the mist…ahhh
Next…time to head back to catch the Eurostar. This was quite an experience. You drive into a great big car park (looks like any other international airport really) and wait for your designated letter of the alphabet to be called. Then you drive (and stop and drive and stop) until you finally are waived down the ramp. From here you drive alongside the train, then manoeuvre on (like parallel parking) and then drive on inside. It was fascinating to the watch the 2 buses in front of us make this manoeuvre as if it was nothing spectacular…extraordinary. Once cars are turned off and put into gear it’s a matter of waiting. Doors come down from all over the place to ‘seal’ you in (a bit freaky really). You are able to walk around the train as it makes it’s journey to Calais (France). We had an ‘interesting’ entertainment group (for want of a better explanation) of young men who decided to grace everyone with their ‘presence’…there were about 20 of them clad only in decorative g-strings. They were singing some kind of sport chant as they cavorted around the train…not the education we wanted for our very ‘impressionable’ boys…mmmm.
After a while sitting in the car we came to a stop and simply drove out of the train and onto French Territory (and roads…eek). Matt did all the driving, assimilating quite easily to driving on the opposite side of the road while Kerry watched, wide eyed. The next step was to find a nice truck stop (very easy to do in Europe as they’re everywhere) and set up the car for the night. In our ‘wisdom’ (or not) we decided to set up the air bed in the back of the car for the boys and Kerry while Matt and Storm crammed into the front. Needless to say it was a very interesting night and very squashed for all involved. The truck stop was very brightly lit too which meant that windows needed to be covered for there to be any chance of sleep…which did eventually come!