Crossing – Arras
At last we are off! I must admit the last week has seemed an awful long time to me.
Luckily we arrived early at Dover so were able to catch an earlier ferry which meant we were unloading at Calais by 11.30am local. Mind you, this wasn’t without a bit of excitement, we found ourselves going through the lorry channel at Dover and ended up on a weighbridge, so now we know exactly how much we weigh! 5250 bloody kilos!!!! But that includes the Smartie & trailer & mum’s shoes.
We kept to National Route roads from Calais as we wanted to see the countryside, and of course, didn’t want to pay any tolls. The journey took about 2.5 hours through many villages and BEHIND many tractors. You can just imagine what colour the air was in the wag – I say no more! Bloody Frog drivers…..
We arrived at our site in Boiry Notre Dame just on the outskirts of Arras. We found the campsite fairly easily and I was very impressed with dad’s grasp of the French language at the reception area and we were able to choose our site. We managed to set up camp in about a ½ hour and after a cup of coffee we were off into Arras. It’s a nice wooded site with lots of different nationalities – mainly Dutch.
Arras was about 12 kms away& has two main squares surrounded by 17th century Flemish style houses. The smaller one, Place des Heroes has a magnificent Town Hall and we climbed to the belfry, a balcony just under the 4 clock faces, to admire the view. Your father’s face turned white and he clung to the wall as we walked around checking out the sights. I must admit the stair climb would not be allowed in England due to Health and Safety etc. etc. but I thought it was good fun. On our first afternoon we managed a glass of wine in the square and toasted all our friends.
This Artois area saw much fighting during WW1 and there are many cemeteries and memorials in respect of soldiers who gave their lives. We visited one of the most famous at Vimy Ridge commemorating the 66,000 lives given by Canadian soldiers throughout the war. This included a walk around a very imposing white limestone 2 tower monument and a tour through reconstructed trenches. As always I find these visits very humbling.
And so onto Luxembourg, once again we kept to the National Route and were amazed at the good condition and Napoleonic straightness of some of the roads – and the quietness. The only hiccup was a rather long diversion! As you can imagine there was panic inside the wag especially on the passenger’s side. In the end we followed a tanker with Luxembourg registration plates and just HOPED he was going home! Needless to say we arrived safely at our next site after an extra 20 miles & thanks to Doc Brown..
The only point I would stress to travellers is that if you expect to fill up with fuel over the weekend in France – DON’T - as they are shut! As a consequence the garages just over the border in Belgium are very busy – silly ah?
All for now,
Love M & D
As you can see we are having difficulties with getting onto the internet, but hopefully we will get things sorted out once we get settled in Italy. Dad has managed to ‘do’ certain things on the computer in Luxembourg, but he reckons it was so old that it needed cranking and a quick visit to an Internet café in Strasbourg seems to solved the more important issues. We saw your couple of e-mails so good luck with the interviews and keep us posted, maybe just a quick text.
Well, anyway we had a clear run through Belgium and into Luxembourg. We were given a bit of muddy pitch at the Kockelschauer site (evidence that the bloody rain has followed us!) and dad fell over whilst dragging the trailer into place. No harm done just muddy knees & arse. It is a very comprehensive site with its own small supermarket and a schnelli which was quite handy on the first night – a quick cooked €12 cooked chicken and frites! Oh the weight – but that’s another story.
On Sunday we drove across Luxembourg in the Smartie (c/o good ole Doc Brown) to visit Alun and Anne Marie. What a view, their house is on the banks of the Moselle and it’s built with wall to floor windows in their sitting room which overlooks the river. (piccie attached) Magnificent! Just a little bonus, Chloe, there is a hot tub on the roof terrace, and no, we didn’t have a party as Alun was cleaning it at the time! In the evening we strolled to the local pizzeria.
Well, this update is short an
d sweet, next day we packed up and hit the road again for Strasbourg……
Mum & Dad
Hope your week is going well. I must admit that the weather has been a bit hit and miss – good and rain! I have a feeling that it’s not much better than what you are having – that might make you feel a lot better but it doesn’t me! Never mind I am sure we are going to out-run the rain eventually!
Unfortunately Doc decided to take us through Strasbourg. I’m sure he likes to liven things up in the wag, but needless to say we out-ran him and found a way out into the ‘sticks’ of Willstadt-Sand after nearly writing off a Frog on the ring road. After driving through endless roads of Germanic Alpine houses we eventually made the site, only to see a stork (which Alsace is renowned for) standing at the entrance. We should have taken a photo opportunity here as we never saw it again!
What I can say is that the campsite is very traditional and their facilities clean and warm. Dad said he was sure he could hear a banjo playing somewhere. However, on the plus side was the on-site restaurant which served us well on the first night with Weiner Schnitzel and Frites & really strong beer. We also toured the local area and did a recce at the local station for a trip into Strasbourg, which turned out to be a good thing because it took us so long to work out how the ticket machine worked. Had we had left this until the following morning I am sure we would have missed the train!
Strasbourg is a beautiful city. We basically toured the Petit France area which is full of narrow cobbled streets and canals. Naturally we found a good place for the Plat de Jour (essentials first!) and then more meandering through the lanes, a tour around the Cathedral and a canal trip. The latter you would have enjoyed (I don’t think) even I have to agree that it went on far too long.
Unfortunately it was another rainy evening, but we managed to settle down with a chilli and few glasses of wine, and so to bed……….
Once again this was a quick taster of the Strasbourg area and the last time dad and I toured here was 25 years ago when we bought loads of ‘animal’ cakes for your 2nd birthday! Anyway tomorrow it’s Lucerne where we meet up with our Motorhome buddies.
Mum & Dad
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