The Journey Day By Day
We’d not done it systematically before but this time we decided to make a determined effort to make notes of each day’s events so as to be able to write up this journal afterwards. The remaining pages are the result.
Day 1: Thursday 13th August
Left Desford at 1.30pm, half an hour later than our planned time, but with a fairly easy run and fair weather even the usual congestion at the Dartford bridge crossing didn’t delay us very much so we arrived at our usual Dover car park in good time for our fish and chip supper. Then to the terminal on time for checking in. Seemed everyone else did the same and the ferry was able to depart at 7.30pm, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. An easy crossing and disembarked at 9.45pm French time. By 10.35pm we had entered Belgium and reached the Jabbeke services on the A10/E40 for our first overnight stop at 11.05pm. Earplugs were needed but with these we got a good night’s sleep. (NB. On our 2010 trip to Turkey we stopped again at Jabbeke but were subject, along with two other vans, to break-in attempts during the night.)
Day 2: Friday 14th August
By morning the toilet facilities at Jabbeke were showing the effects of the multinational force of truckers that passes through every night! Good job we have on-board facilities. Our usual breakfast of cereal, tea, bread and jam and we’re on our way by 8.25am for a good long day of driving. Lunch on board of sandwiches and tea, followed by a snooze for the driver (12.40-14.00). We ran into congestion on the A2 – a road to be avoided in future if possible. But other than this, plain sailing into Germany and a rest stop about 100km short of Berlin. Plenty of motorhomes on the roads but only one GB plate seen so far (a Hymer Camp) and they didn’t stop to chat.
We’ve passed thousands of hectares of maize/sweetcorn growing in Belgium with this gradually giving way to wheat in Germany. The landscape is similar to much of England but with more trees. Two overtakers gave us blasts on their horns, presumably due to the GB plate. We’ve had this a few times before on the continent, especially in Italy, and never know whether it is a sign of friendship or hostility. Checks around the vehicle at subsequent stops show they weren’t hooting to warn us of bits falling off!
The rastplatz stopover was good and dark, giving us a good view of the night sky complete with the Milky Way and a prominent shooting star – fantastic!
And so to bed – or not! Turned on a tap and all the lights went out, with the leisure battery warning light illuminated on the instrument panel! Now that should not have happened – the battery had been charging for days through the solar panel on the roof and we hadn’t used much electricity. We turn to torches to get us through the night.