Thursday, 15 September 2022

Our journey from Cremona was a totally uneventful 13 hour trip covering around 1000km. Stops along the way broke up the time into manageable chunks. We arrived at the Ibis in Laon around 8pm.

We’ve stayed in some fairly “modest” hotels in our time. This one took the gold medal. The room was the size of a converted wardrobe. There was not a single power outlet, so not a single device could be charged, most were powerless by morning. Towels? Just the two; kitchen towels have more absorbency.  On the plus side: the bed was comfortable.

Friday, 16 September, 2022

Breakfast was passable, nothing hot (except the coffee) but the bread and croissants were warm and fresh. It’s a shortish two hours from Laon to Calais Port where we benefitted from a “Brexit Bonus”.

Twelve Leger coaches arrived at customs but a Romanian coach beat us to Border Control. We’ve definitely Retaken Control of our Borders. UK immigration absorbed themselves in the detailed task of closely checking and clearing the paperwork of these 40-ish dangerous Eastern Europeans. Two hours later, we finally boarded the ferry which was, thankfully, running around 15 minutes late.

I’m writing this from the forward lounge of the P&O Spirit of Britain, watching the slow approach of the White Cliffs of Dover (cue song) though panoramic windows.

Fingers crossed for the final stages.

[First posted from Stop24, Folkestone as the ferry WiFi was using a seagull for transmission]

From Stop24 was a story in itself. Four coaches had not made their planned sailing, so there was a 1½ hour delay - coaches all exchange passengers. That put us right into rush hour on the M25. On to the M4 and a major accident on the opposite carriageways. Sightseeing from our carriageway really slowed the traffic. Just before Magor, right at the exit sliproad, another accident had just happened. An overturned caravan. Traffic trying to use the slip roads to cut the queue blocked everything. We had taken around 7 hours to get there. 

Fate then smiled. Our mini-bus transfer took us to our front door, instead of the published drop off point. Thought we’d never see it!

Cremona, Leon, Calais, Home

Thursday/Friday, 15/16 September 2022