We left Holland and drove towards home in the rain, past Arnhem, Eindhoven, Antwerp, Gent, Ostende, arriving at Calais mid afternoon.
That morning, online, we had booked Eurotunnel for our return journey the following day. We were offered a choice of crossings at different prices depending on how popular each service was. They usually run three services an hour, we chose a €120 slot for 2 pm the following day. We have found in the past that, if you happened to arrive a little earlier than your check in time, as you go through the barrier at the entrance, the check in computer offers you earlier times of travel if they have capacity. If they are fully booked they put you in a holding section until it is your time to travel – with shopping opportunity. They always strike us as such an efficient company.
We parked up at Cité Europe, a huge retail outlet at Coquelles, one exit away from Eurotunnel. The site had a dedicated car park for camper vans although, according to our motorhome guide books, this was not considered safe to stay overnight; consensus was that it was perfectly secure, being adjacent to the main police station and close to a huge retail facility. We parked up and wandered about the shops before having a meal in one of the many restaurants. It was a bit like eating at Heathrow or Gatwick airports, each restaurant had a theme but you felt all the catering was done by one supplier. We had a Chinese meal, two courses with wine €58, it was very good.
The shops and restaurants all closed by 10 pm, by which time we had settled down for the night. Our car park was now deserted but for three camper vans all parked fairly close together, looking strange in the eerie yellow light of the car park. We could hear sounds of drunken shouting in the distance, the wind was blowing a gale but we felt pretty secure in our brightly lit haven, probably watched by security cameras. All was quiet and our blackout blinds meant the inside of the camper was pitch dark.
Just after midnight we heard the sound of a vehicle pulling up close to us and we heard car doors banging. I peeped out wondering whether it was anyone wanting to harm us but it was just another camper van stopping for the night. Soon all was quiet again.
Any sign of trouble the man of the house would have been sent out to restore order – in his underpants armed with a wooden policeman’s truncheon ready to defend his trembling wife!
Blog ends – Do I hear a sigh of relief from Kate’s work colleagues!