Embarrassments come in threes??

Day31 … Today started off fine. Up early to get sorted for the eurotunnel, about a 15 mile drive from our campsite. It was a lovely morning, misty, quiet and peaceful, everyone still asleep.

At about 5.30 am we could hear a dog constantly barking. Yap, yap, yap. Chris and I said to each other – listen to that daft noisy dog at this time in the morning, why don’t they shut it up. I looked out of the door window and couldn’t see anything. On it went for a good 5 minutes or more. Delpy was getting quite agitated with it all too. The next words out of our mouths were “where’s Whoopie”? We hadn’t opened the door yet so we checked in her bed, she wasn’t in the Bunnybus! Chris looked out again and could see a dog. “It looks just like Whoopie, Uh. It IS Whoopie” he said. I opened the door to find her barking at a rather irate Frenchman. What!!! How!!! Shamefaced I got her in, I couldn’t even apologise that we had no idea it was our dog waking the whole campsite. The only explanation we have is that we have a larger picture window in the back lounge with a pouffe in front of it. Whoopie likes to sit there and look out. I had opened it when we got up and there must have been just enough room for her to squeeze through and jump to the ground. What a little toe-rag. (Thank goodness it didn’t happen when we were out in the wilds somewhere, or near a road. Phew). We were mortified to say the least. She must have woken just about everyone up. The only thing we could do was get bundled up as quick as we could and make a run for it before we got lynched.

At least we got to the tunnel with plenty of time to spare. Got into the line for the automated check-in and it wouldn’t accept our booking reference. Pressed the help button and was asked whether we had been to the pet passport building to verify the dogs identities and passports. Of course, we had forgotten. Duh! So I had to get a special pass to allow us to go through then swing back out again. Off we went and got all that done. Back in the queue and got through fine this time.

Trains were running a bit late but all went well. Chris had an uneventful drive north, with a couple of doggy stops. Late afternoon we popped into a Bunnybus dealer near Newark to have a quick look at a particular German motorhome that only they sell. It was a very quick look as they were closing. I then offered to drive so Chris could have a break. Bear in mind that I have driven all over Scandanavia, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, without any issues or problems whatsoever. Now I’m back on my home turf what did I do? Yes, went off up the road and round the corner on the right hand side of the road! Only one car got in my way luckily. Lol.

Home safe and sound after all that.

Total miles travelled… 5,710.

Over the next few days I will post a summary of our trip, any hints and tips I can think of which anyone considering travelling to Scandinavia in a motorhome/campervan may find useful.

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Last full day on foreign soil.

Day 30 … Delpy lead me straight to the doggy park with lake, barked to be let in. Memory like an elephant! Then a nice potter about exploring while Chris did a bit of work.

Sorted the insurance out (the nominated mileage would have run out before we made it home). It was cheaper just to start a new policy than extend the original one and we got an extra 2000 miles for an extra £13. Goodness knows where we might go in the next 12 months?!

Then off to find somewhere for the night nearer to Calais. We didn’t fancy Cite Europe or some other glorified car park so we ended up at Camping Municipal de la Plage, Grand Fort Philippe. About 20 miles from the euro tunnel. Cost about €15 with electric included, might be useful for the aircon tonight? There was an aire (free camping) just outside the gates but it was full and again just a gravel car park. We had a lovely spot, grassy, quiet, somewhere for us and the pups to relax.

We had a Lidl’s shop on the way in so it was time for a lovely walk before nosh (we will doubtless be too tired after eating to go far)

Lots of doggy walks around so we headed for the beach. It’s strange in France, signs everywhere to keep dogs on a lead, which no one seems to take much notice of! The French seem to be happy to let their dogs poo wherever, and not clear up😳. Not used to that in the clean Scandinavian countries. Also it’s much more likely to struggle with English, unlike further north. It’s weird but the harder I try to use my schoolgirl French, the more likely it is that my German just comes out (my second language when I was a child). 2 languages ok. 3 languages, nightmare. Lol.

It was still very warm but with a refreshing breeze which helped a lot.

Gravelines nuclear power station in the distance!

Well ready for a big nosh up after all that sea air. We had a lovely barbecue which the pups enjoyed too, of course, thanks to Chris. The meat seemed to disappear rather quickly.

Up early in the morning for the final leg of our journey and the euro tunnel back to Blighty.

Dance me to the end of love🎶.

Day 29 … Gent.

Listening to Leonard Cohen as we end our day in Gent (or Ghent). As you can maybe tell I fell in love with this town in Belgium. Highly recommended.

The first thing we had to do this morning was sort out a Vet to complete the pet passports for UK return. My phone wouldn’t connect so we just walked along the road to one I had listed. They were great. Full exam and the wormers for both dogs. €43. Not too bad, especially since we hadn’t been able to make an appointment.

We moved a little closer to town so we could park up and walk in. There are are couple of free overnight parking areas within about 20-30 mins walk. (Yachtdreef). A good few vans here but still plenty of space.

Hot today, we had a lovely walk along the canal into the old town of Gent. We were a bit hungry so stopped at a cafe for lunch, a beer and a doggy rest. Then had a potter around the old town. Beautiful

Stacks of bikes everywhere. Canals. Trams. Scenic walks.

So many outdoor cafes and restaurants ideal for watching the world go by and people watch. Once the lunchtime crush subsided there was plenty of space for chilling and relaxing. Didn’t really know what to expect from Gent but it’s another place we will return to, and for longer next time. Only about 90 miles from Calais and a great place for a stop over or short break.

It was very hot for the puppies so we tried to give them plenty of shade and rests. We were all tired when we returned to the Bunnybus so we all had a kip.

When we awoke it was time for another walk. It was a bit cooler now, about 22 degrees at 8pm. Very near (within a couple of minutes) where we were parked was a proper designated dog run around area with its own lake just for the dogs. (imagine that in the UK!). So the pups, especially Delpy, were able to let off some steam.

We just didn’t have the energy for another walk back into town to find a restaurant so we had a Bunnybus prepared meal, a last walk and a chill-out music session, hence the Leonard Cohen. Then bed. Peaceful and quiet now. 💤

Expect the unexpected

Full on 2 days so here is the blog diary for days 27 and 28…..

Day 27 … I had previously been in touch through Facebook with Ruth ( of travel-cook-eat.com ) a lovely girlie from New Zealand who has been travelling Europe with her husband Alan in their motorhome for a year. We had hoped to meet up yesterday but it kind of didn’t happen. Anyway we were in contact again this morning and it turns out that they had spent the night just a few kilometres up the road from us (where we had stayed the previous two nights) so we arranged to pop to see them for a cuppa before continuing south.

That cuppa turned into a full on natter, into the afternoon and evening then onto wine and a scrumptious meal.

I believe the right people come into your life at the right time, you just have to recognise it. This was definitely one of those times, without doubt, for both of us. I think an acorn has been planted, it just now needs to be nurtured.

As an aside, we also had a go on one of their electric assisted bikes. What fun, had never tried one before. Great for us oldies, sooo easy. Lol. Might be another Bunnybus toy one day, if we can get Delpy used to the dog trailer.

I will also be investing in an Omnia stove top cooker (no electric needed). Our meal tonight was cooked in one and it was fab. Seems it can pretty much be used as an alternative to a oven

So. We stopped overnight of course and set off south the following morning instead.

Day 28 … We had spent the last few days chilling, not driving far, and having a relaxing time but we still had 3 full days before our return euro tunnel crossing. I fancied seeing Gent (Ghent) in Belgium en route to Calais. The weather had been overcast with a cool wind when we left Denmark but it quickly warmed up as we headed through Germany. Sunny and up to 30 degrees. As we drove on we decided just to keep going and hopefully get to Gent that day if we could.

Our longest driving day to date… just over 500 miles but the roads were good so we thought we might as well plod on.

We found a lovely little place to stop just on the outskirts of Gent. A reasonably sized visitors gravel car park in Liedermeerspark, Merelbeke. The park is lovely, there is a lake and wooded trails leading through to a marina and canal walks. About 3.5 miles from Gent centre so we may park closer tomorrow for our nose around.

3 vets nearby too so hopefully one of them will be able to complete the pet passports tomorrow.

We thought we would be on our own tonight but after dark we heard the sound of air brakes just behind us. Oh no… a lorry?!

Bless, it turned out to be a young couple in a big old truck converted into a camper. As I walked past tonight with the dogs they were outside cooking, surrounded by quite a number of containers with plants. They must travel with them inside and lay them out wherever they park up. Cute and homely. Think that’s another thing Chris hopes I don’t get inspired by. 😉

Groundhog Day

Day 26 … There was a sight for sore eyes last night! A middle-aged guy in another motorhome pottered off down to the little beach. Nothing odd in that you might think? But…he was built like a cross between the pilsbury dough man and Big Daddy (for those of you who remember the wrestling on the tv at 4 pm on a Saturday). The best, or worst, bit was that he was only wearing the tiniest, and I mean teeny weeny, pair of black Speedos. I couldn’t even see them till he turned his back. Topped off by a cute little red backpack. Interesting. Lol. German of course, or is that being stereotypical?!

Back to the beach again today for tan topping up but the wind was stronger and a bit cooler today. Ok for walking about but not so good for lying around. Watched the coastguard helicopter doing some training and lots of kite surfers while having a nice potter and paddle with the pups.

Wouldn’t mind this?!

Back to Ballum camping where we stayed 3 nights ago. Canny there, looking forward to another extended shower. The Bunnybus was full of powdery sand so we had a good turf out, big improvement. Now another barbecue and big nosh to reward ourselves for….ermmm… whatever. Lol

The proud barbecue chef with his posh, plastic box, stand. Meat obviously not on yet as the pups aren’t interested.

Way too relaxed for someone who is supposed to be slaving over a hot barbecue.

Ditto. Lol

Day 25 … Didn’t get far today. We loved the beach at Rømø so had another full day there today. Same beach, different area.

It looks like we will be back again tomorrow, the chilling and the blast of sun is doing us the world of good. By the way Ultrasun factor 20 is great, all day in the sun and no burning.

Had a little visitor who made himself quite at home under our mat.

I was worried the dogs might squash him so Chris did the rescue and moved him to the dunes.

It was busier today, being a Sunday I suppose? But still loads of space to get away from the hordes. Most of those hordes seem to be German, by a long way. Don’t blame them. If this was on my doorstep I’d be here every weekend.

Saw an old German fire engine converted into a motorhome, brill, and also an Alpha Sunlight 710 which apparently is a Belgian made motorhome…. it had a terrace on the roof where two settees opened up for lounging and getting away from the rabble. Really want one 👍😊. I have a list of wants now. Lol. Seriously though, ours has been fab this trip so more than happy 😁😁😁

We were wondering why this beach is so great to drive onto? The sand is so fine, powdery and the land is so low lying. It must be permanently damp and just gets compressed almost like softish concrete. Indeed when you go through the few millimetres of dry sand, it’s cold and slightly moist, even in the heat of the day.

Have parked up tonight in the same spot as last night. Free, by the sea and quiet. Have just had a lovely evening doggy walk along the beach. Last night there were quite a few little flying black bugs here but tonight they seem to have gone elsewhere. Fingers crossed🤞.

View from our door tonight