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Awaycation Summer 2024 - Day 22 / 23

The Vet and then Home!

Tuesday

Google Maps said that the vet's in Buchy was about 70kms away and the route looked to take about the same in minutes. Ohrex of course had other ideas and it was further and longer to go where larger vehicles are allowed.

With that in mind, we decided to sit and read and leave about 1.30pm. That should give us plenty of time to drive there, park in the Carrefour and do some shopping before driving the 200m to the Vet.

The route it took us back towards Dieppe and then southwards. We arrived just before 3pm. A quick visit into the supermarket and lunch before we moved to the vet. We were back out around 4.10pm! Reggie weighed and then the pill put into his throat. He won't eat them like sweets!

In the break we decided that we wouldn't go back to Flocques but would go further up the coast to Merlimont Plage. The CCP site there is close to the beach (about 400m) and had plenty of free space. The CCP system allows you 24 hours from arrival if you simply turn up and swipe the card to enter. We arrived at 6.45pm. Effectively we needed to be done and dusted and away by that time tomorrow.

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As our Shuttle train was booked for 6.18pm from Calais, there was no hurry to get away. Once tapped in and parked, hooked-up, we set off for the beach and maybe a cheeky coffee. The first part was successful. The second not. It seems May 28th is too early for anything to be open, or at least open in the early fully daylight evening!

So we ate in again. Still our only meal/food out has been the crepe at Beauvoir! The aire wifi was a bit iffy and so we watched some TV from the the Amazon Fire Stick using Claire's phone as wifi hotspot. A lot of the German moho's have massive satellite dishes on their roofs.

Wednesday

Going home today. Another late start away from the aire today. With our shuttle not until 6.18pm and their suggestion that no one should arrive at the Tunnel check-in until two hours before the train, we eventually left Merlimont Plage at almost noon. We had to drain the grey water and empty the toilet cassette on the way out.

The idea was to join the D940 and follow it all the way up towards Boulogne and look for a park-up for a few hours and then time departure in time to arrive around 4.15pm at Le Shuttle.

On we went. No sign of any access to a beach at all. We bypassed Le Touquet and Etaples before deciding to see what Hardelot Plage had to offer. I didn't expect there to be a massive promenade and huge apartment blocks. Getting there though. A road through forested dunes with plenty of big houses with extensive grounds. The rich man's playground.

We passed a parking area signed for camping cars but it seemed from the Google Maps photo that beach area was a long way off. In actuality it's about a mile along roads with no footpaths.

We eventually came out into the town. It's a lot bigger than anticipated. We parked up and took a walk along the beach. The tide was out and the sea was along way out. Sadly, there's a "no dogs" sign for the beach. There were three people walking on the beach. The seafront was deserted.

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We looped around to where we imagined there might be places open, a cafe perhaps, or shops.... There was. Phew. Not quite dodo dead then. We had a coffee in the Terrasse restaurant. Two tiny cups for €4.80. Well, I guess it's a place for the riche!

As we walked back to the van there was a librairie open and another cafe. Everything else was closed.

We estimated that it would be around 75 minutes from here to Boulogne and the Shuttle on the toll-free section of the A16. We headed to the camping car park-up. It should be noted that none of the marked spaces were big enough for a 7m van. All seemed car spaces.

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We had lunch and then just after 3pm we set off. We were hoping that if we arrived as close to the 2 hours before departure that we might get offered an earlier crossing. Sadly not.

By 4.20pm we had arrived and checked Reggie in at the pet reception. By 4.30pm we had checked us and the van in. No offer of an earlier crossing. So we went and parked up in the designated parking with a label Z3.

We whiled away an hour before being called to proceed on the departure boards. This is where the Brexit cock-up raises its ugly head. The long queues. I am amazed that the French controls are simply there for everyone and they haven't put in place separate queues for EU passports and UK passports....

We gradually crawled to the French control. Passports checked. Schengen exit stamp right alongside the entry at Bilbao on May 9th. Then onto UK passports. Vans and Motorhomes all in one queue, everyone else in three queues.... Into another lane for security to come aboard and check that we didn't have any unreported stowaways.... and we were off following a German registered van. Whilst the lady was checking our LPG was turned to off, the German sailed through the barrier at the end of lane 4. I sped along but the barrier was down. We were the first vehicle to arrive at the barriers. So near and so close to getting on the previous train!

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In the end the board showed that boarding begins 25 minutes before the train departs. When 6pm came and went we guessed that it would be late leaving. The lanes to the left went ahead of us and then our barrier went up. It was 6.10pm.

We loaded in the higher vehicle carriage and drove though the train to be the first in carriage two. I would have filmed this but the Wolfang camera's battery had run out.

Then 6.18pm came and went. The kids from the car behind us were running about and shouting. The Dad seemed one of those 🤡 that wants to be "mates" rather than the parent and let them run around. Finally at 6.36 we moved off. The kids still running about.

We sat in the lounge and read our books until we came out into the Folkestone daylight. Back in dear old England.

It took us 17 minutes to exit the train and pull up on the drive. I was surprised to see matey Dad actually had a woman with him as he swept past us on the access road to the M20 before he swerved into the Tunnel's petrol station. Maybe she was too exhausted to get involved when her kids were running around on the train!

We quickly unpacked the more delicate stuff from the fridge and cupboards, and of course, Reggie. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

A call to Park Road Fish and Chips and maybe that's our second and last meal out of the holiday sorted.

Tomorrow, we'll unpack the rest of the stuff from the van. Maybe see if I can get something/anything off the Wolfang action camera....

Another holiday over. Despite the iffy weather in places this has been an adventure for us. A great time away and we have seen places we have never been before.

Maybe we should have deployed more stickers...... And of course.... Where next?

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:37 Archived in France

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