The sun greeted our morning departure for Dover and the 1:00 PM P&O ferry to Calais. We spent a casual hour or so loading the inevitable last-minute items, like food in the fridge and camera bags in the car, then hitched up and set off at about 8:40 AM. We’d hardly had this much sun in England since Wimbledon fortnight and we were leaving it.
Approaching the QEII bridge over the Thames estuary we were greeted by a changed toll structure. We were used to cars being charged £1 which was doubled for us when towing a caravan. On the approach roads we saw that cars had suffered 50% inflation and were now £1.50. With £3 at the ready I was pleasantly surprised when the lady in the toll booth told us it was £1.50 for us, too. Maybe she hadn’t spotted big Billy Bailey stuck on the back of our car? Not! If we have any money left on the return trip, we’ll try the toll crossing again to check. 🙂
It’s about a three hour trip dragging a caravan to Dover, especially into a headwind but, when we checked in, the nice man offered us a place on the 12:15 PM sailing so we were very soon embarking and off to France a little earlier than planned. Losing an hour to French time, the 90-minute crossing was very smooth and we disembarked under continuing clear blue skies at about 2:45 PM local time. Now it really was time to decide which way to head.
We stuck with plan A, turned west and headed for Neufchâtel-en-Bray in Normandy. We’d like to get to the far south-east of France but that’s mountainous and requires fair weather. From Normandy we can push south down the centre and turn whichever way the weather may dictate.
Not only had the clear blue skies followed us but so too had the headwind. Nonetheless we had a blissfully uneventful two hour journey into Normandy and booked in to our night halt at about 5:00 PM. Some charcoal grilled rump steak washed down by a bottle of Shiraz in the evening sun rounded off the day nicely.